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Old 05-07-2001, 12:07 PM   #1
Fzoul Chembryl

Join Date: March 1, 2001
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,735
I would like to share a great experience I had this weekend

I went to my first Adventure Race, put on by two veterans of the Eco-challenge. It was in Northern Minnesota along the MN/WI border. The race started at 5:00am on Saturday, with 12 racers (3 teams of 4). They started with a 35 mile mtn bike leg, continued on to a zip line across a river which led to a 4 mile (took the teams nearly 3 hours) hike and then a 9 mile canoe stretch. It was during this canoe stretch that one teams canoe overturned dumping the racers and their gear into 42 degree water! Their teammates had already rounded a bend and did not see them capsize and continued on down river arriving at the next checkpoint not knowing where their teammates were. Another team arrived at the checkpoint at around 6pm and reported seeing the capsized racers on-shore and said they were changing into dry clothes at around 2pm. (they lost both paddles in the river so they could not continue to canoe). Since no one had heard from the capsized racers in 4 hours we started a search and rescue. We all had cell-phones (8 volunteers) but very bad reception (going in and out of coverage). It was already too dark to put a canoe in the river and paddle down in search for them. Two people (myself and another) went to where the canoe leg started and hiked in along the river for about 3 1/2 miles with no sign of the racers. Two other racers after having been biking/hiking/canoeing already for 14 hours got back on their bikes and rode an old railroad line that runs along the river (in hopes that the missing racers would hike up to it from the river). Three other volunteers took up posts at various points on the south side of the river in case the racers came out that way. The other volunteers split their time continueing to monitor the race (1 team, not aware of the lost racers, continued on with the race) and participating with the search. Around 8 pm it got dark, the temp dropped to around 40 degrees and it started raining. We knew the racers had no tent or sleeping bag and most of their gear was probably wet from falling in the river. Hypothermia became the major issue at this point. The search continued until midnight on Saturday at which time we called in the state patrol and DNR. It was decided to stop the search for the night (three other people had hypothermia from searching in the rain and now 35 degree temps), and continue it at 5:30 the next morning. Sunday morning we put in two canoes with 3 people each (all veteran adventure racers), sent two people to hike on either side of the river and put the others at either end of the canoe leg. Around 9am the people in the canoe found the capsized canoe. They put ashore and found tracks of the missing racers. They followed the tracks as best they could and around 10am they found the two racers under a rock outcropping, huddled together and fast asleep. The racers remembered that when lost the best thing to do is stay put, people will find you. They had built a fire, shared the little food they had, and built a rough shelter to weather the storm. They were treated for mild hyptothermia, but otherwise were in great shape.

It was great to see everyone pull together like that in a time of peril (yes lives were at stake, hypothermia when left untreated can kill a person in a matter of hours). I learned a lot about the people I was with and a little about myself. Hiking along a river in complete darkness, rain dripping off every inch of your body, sinking into mud up to your knees, in 35-40 degree temps, you start to think about what the hell you are doing. Then you remember, there are two people out there whose lives depend on me or someone else finding them. They have put that trust in us and we are not going to let them down!

Just wanted to share this with everyone


It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear ignorant,
than open it and remove all doubt!
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Old 05-07-2001, 12:45 PM   #2
Ma'at - Goddess of Truth & Justice

Join Date: March 2, 2001
Location: Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Age: 64
Posts: 3,255
What a wonderful story! I am so glad tht everything turned out so well; I can see how it could have easily been a tragedy. I think that's how it is in life. Somehow when we know that people are depending on us, we just dig down deeper and find the resources to get the job done, no matter how difficult. Sounds like you learned something from this experience, as we do from all experience if we will look for the lesson.

BTW: Good to see you again, Moridin. I had wondered where you had been.

Reeka--The Hand of Death O_H_F

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Old 05-07-2001, 12:55 PM   #3

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Sounds like it was one heck of a weekend!
Glad you made it back to tell us about it! Thanks!


Old 05-07-2001, 09:17 PM   #4
Black Knight
Ma'at - Goddess of Truth & Justice

Join Date: March 1, 2001
Location: Delaware OH USA
Age: 42
Posts: 3,168
Sounds like quite an adventure. How are things going, my friend?

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