(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments Share It wasn’t until Sunday, Brown said, that the river finally seemed safe enough to cross again. He and Klintworth prepared for their hike out by cooking up a “good meal” of rice, marshmallows, peanut butter and chocolate, he said.“We then left and crossed the icy waters only up to our waist,” he said. “We were climbing the mountains under the dense tree cover when we first heard the helicopter we assumed was looking for us. The copter never saw us and we walked out just fine and met up with the search and rescue by the road.”It was when they attended a debriefing, he added, that “we found out what a big deal all this was.”Judd said the pair made some good choices, particularly by not trying to cross the flooded river, but could have entered the wilderness better prepared.Brown said he relied on his past experience hiking and camping and felt confident in the couple’s ability to survive.“I believe when you go into the bush you take your life into your own hands and need to be prepared to handle whatever conditions occur,” he said. “We could have been more prepared, but in the end we were prepared enough to walk ourselves out.” New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Top Stories Associated PressWELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Two U.S. students trapped in the New Zealand wilderness by a snowstorm trekked back out to safety after surviving their nine-day ordeal by rationing their meager supplies of trail mix and warming themselves in hot springs.Alec Brown and Erica Klintworth, both 21, returned to the city of Christchurch on Monday after meeting up with members of a search team _ famished but otherwise in good shape, police said.