Snowshoes & Survival: “Ten Little Indians…and then there were none…”
In our story it was really twelve, not ten little Indians.
And out of the twelve of us, I think five of us could prove our lineal descent from Native people.
THAT IS NOT THE POINT!
There were twelve of us seeking adventure.
Like the children’s rhyme, we were adventurers that desired to survive the challenges that we faced.
And like the rhyme, some of our “Indians” did not survive…
We began our snowshoe adventure at 6:00 pm.
The temperature was a balmy 7 degrees, with an expectation that it would drop to zero within a few hours.
This was Michigan winter at its best!
As the Twelve traveled across country, we took a shortcut across Hodges’ pond.
It was here that we lost our first fellow traveler.
South was uncertain–natural springs and muck caused that area to be covered with thinner, less stable ice.
North was safer.
A confluence of events caused that first loss.
First, the fearless leader (me) ‘threw a shoe’–that is to say, my snowshoe came undone.
Since my first mate was occupied, I put the second mate in charge. We needed to keep the travelers traveling.
While the second mate knew the area well, he did not know the vagaries of the ice on the pond.
As our temporary leader temporarily led, one of our most experienced outdoorsmen cut out of line. (I believe there is a lesson there–overconfidence in an unfamiliar situation can foreshadow calamity.)
He headed south. Into the trap that Mother Nature had laid for him…
…CRASH! Through the ice he went.
No, it was not deep–the water that is. The muck was thick, deep, and gooey.
He was in up to his knees.
He extracted himself, looked at his soaking wet outfit, and wisely said, “I can’t go on.”
As he traveled back to our base camp with his frozen gear, the remaining members of the expedition continued on our journey…