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    If you’ve been thinking about getting a haircut before going on a camping trip, you may want to reconsider. After being stranded in the wilderness, it was only by sucking the moisture from her hair that 68-year-old Cynthia Hoover managed to stay alive for five days.

    While driving on a mountain road near Central City, Colo., Cynthia swerved to avoid a herd of deer. Her car rolled off the road and 350 feet down a steep hillside. She broke eleven ribs, cracked her vertebrae and punctured her lung. Stranded alone in the ravine, she says that thoughts of her family motivated her to stay alive.

    She grabbed a golf club from her car to use as a cane to help her make the climb up the slope toward civilization, but was so badly injured that she couldn’t make all the way. She turned around and headed for a mining operation that was downhill, planning to use the golf club for self-defense if wild animals tried to attack her in the night, which fortunately never happened.

    Since her car rolled too far from the highway, and Cynthia often traveled on business alone, nobody noticed the accident or reported her missing. She was alone in the woods for five days, basically crawling on her face, through a cold front of rain, sleet and hail. This moisture would prove to be life-sustaining, as she sucked on her hair to keep from becoming completely dehydrated during her ordeal.

    Eventually she managed to crawl 450 feet away from the mining operation and attracted the attention of the workers, who were only there on a fluke since the mine was supposed to be closed that day — by calling out. They found her with a swollen face and a mouth full of dirt from dragging herself with her face on the ground. She was airlifted to a hospital where she was listed in critical condition, but has since been downgraded to fair condition.

    It’s an incredibly remarkable survival story and also a testament to the fact that long hair isn’t just vanity — it can also help save your life.

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