Friday, January 10, 2014

More on Nine Lives

     Long before I'd ever heard of hypothermia I had a serious brush with it.

     When I was in the Arctic , a buddy and I decided we would spend some time on the weekend goose hunting. It was late September so the nights could get very cold. The place we chose to hunt was about 90 miles away and of course, we had to travel by boat on the river. We had a tent, sleeping bags, stove and food.

     We woke up the next morning and could hear what we thought was rain on the tent. When we looked out the tent it had snowed. We decided to quickly break camp and head for home. The way home was with the river current., but the wind was against us. When wind blows against a current a placid stream can get rough.

     We traveled hour after hour. It was slow. Our boat was open and we were exposed to the wind. My buddy crouched down in the front of the boat out of the wind.

     When we arrived home I was extremely stiff and had difficulty getting out of the boat. I took a few things up to my apartment but the walk was difficult. My whole body was shaking with shivering. I thought once I got in the warm apartment I would warm up. I couldn't stop shaking. I was really cold. I decided to get in a hot tub. I remember still shivering in the hot bath water. Slowly I warmed up and the shaking stopped.

     When I look back this is one time when I used up one of my nine lives.

      Since I've been involved in outdoor education , I've learned about hypothermia. I now recognize what a dangerous situation I was in.