Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Hope Outranking Despair

"We were running out of fuel. And I just completely broke down because it was so cold and because if that sled ran out of gas on the lake we were going to die. And you could see death, right there. It wouldn't have taken much.
"But then Leandra said, 'We can't just sit here waiting to die. We need to get back on the snowmobile. We need to put the wind at our backs'.
"We were getting cold. After I stopped the sled on the ice and got back on -- we put the wind at our backs -- we just went that way.
"You are 20 years old. And to think, if I don't get up, me -- get up -- right now, and get us some more wood, we are going to die out here. It is the weirdest thing.
"I just kept going and then I saw a house. It was just like the movies. Going up the stairs, one a a time. There was this big door -- it had a lever handle on it -- and I dropped my hand on it and fell inside.
"The owner came running. I told him my girlfriend and dog were still in the bush and he ran outside and was gone for them.
"It was such a relief."
Danny McLachlan, Manitoba
Danny McLachlan and Leandra Mardynalka were  ice fishing on the Lake of the Woods when a blizzard hit. Within minutes the wind picked up. The temperature plummeted. Snow poured down, bathing everything in white.
Handout    Danny McLachlan and Leandra Mardynalka were ice fishing on the Lake of the Woods when a blizzard hit. Within minutes the wind picked up. The temperature plummeted. Snow poured down, bathing everything in white.
Danny McLachlan and his girlfriend Leandra Mardynalka, both 20, are nature-lovers. Living in Manitoba you've got to have friendly relations with nature, because there, around Lake of the Woods, nature is raw and present in all seasons, challenging people to live and prosper, to immerse themselves within nature's presence on their recreational time off from other pursuits. Lake of the Woods is situated just on the border between Manitoba/Ontario and Minnesota. It is the north.

Canadians are a hardy lot, and the pair loved being out in all kinds of weather. Cold? they could manage that. Snowy? That too. Even their toy Pomeranian could manage those inclement winter conditions as long as he was in their indulgent care. When matters got really frightfully bad, they wrapped the tiny dog inside a pillowcase and kept him close to the warmth of an emergency fire they had built in a desperate bid to survive the elements.

Simply put, they got lost in a blizzard They were out on the lake, ice fishing at a shack on Lake of the Woods. They awoke on the morning of January 26. A mere 20 minutes from where their truck had been parked at Birch Point, they decided since it was snowing and they had no food or water, to go on off for home. They started out at 9 a.m. and within the space of a few minutes up came the wind and down came a blizzard of snow as the temperature plunged. Visibility becoming increasingly opaque.

It should have taken 20 minutes on the snowmobile to reach their truck.

Two hours later they understood very well, they were nowhere near where they'd left the truck, let alone close to the shoreline. Finally, though, they found the shoreline and left the frozen lake. Using gas for fuel from the snowmobile, they lit a fire. Danny dug into the snow and made a snow wall hoping to find protection from the bellowing wind. That's when tiny Torque was stuck into a pillowcase and warmed. The couple sat talking throughout the night as the temperature continued its relentless plunge.

They kept gathering firewood, replenishing the fire every fifteen minutes, desperately trying to stay awake, and to find respite from the biting cold and their weariness. The blizzard began to subside around 4 a.m. The temperature was minus-43-degrees Centigrade. When day broke, Danny thought he heard an engine in the distance. So he ran toward the sound. Lost for 26 hours, they were no longer in Canada, but had arrived in Minnesota. Which is where their rescue from death occurred.

"I thought Torque was dead more than once. But I would have never guessed Leandra would have that kind of strength. She was tough as nails", Danny McLachlan remarked from his hospital bed. He may lose his baby toes to frostbite, and irrespective of whether that does happen, he will have to use a wheelchair for another three weeks, then learn to walk again. Leandra suffered frostbite on her nose and upper thighs. She doesn't feel much like talking excessively about the ordeal they endured, to survive to see another dawn.

And they're planning to marry. Torque will be part of the wedding party.

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