Father and son had prepared for the fly-in fishing trip of a lifetime. For months, they organized their gear, studied fishing tactics and prepared to be successful in their quest for trophy fish on a wilderness lake in northern Ontario, Canada. As the day for departure approached, they could hardly contain their excitement. Finally, the day arrived. They loaded their gear into the family truck and headed north through Michigan's Lower Peninsula, across the Mackinac Bridge, through the Upper Peninsula and crossed into Canada over the bridge at the Soo Locks. 400+ miles and many hours later, they arrived at their destination - the small frontier settlement of Kanina. They found the outfitter's camp on the shore of a small lake and their Beaver float plane tethered to the dock, ready to transport them to the wilderness camp on the shore of an unspoiled and barely fished lake more than 100 miles further into the bush.
The plane took to the air on schedule at 7:00 am, lifting powerfully off the glass-like surface of the small lake and banking gently but quickly to the northeast. The flight was awe-inspiring to Eric Jamieson and Eric, Jr. They stared wide-eyed at the impressive panaroma of trackless wilderness spreading out for thousands of square miles in all directions. They had no premonition of how wrong things would go so quickly - and how the preparations they had made for their trip would pale in comparison to the survival skills and intestinal fortitude they would be forced to call upon as they found themselves in the Canadian bush after surviving a plane crash that killed their French-Canadian bush pilot.
This is their story. It is first and foremost a story of survival as father and son struggle to stay alive and secondly a story of dogged determination to return to the lives they left behind, seemingly in an instant. The flora and fauna of the Canadian wilderness play a major role and are described in vivid detail, as is the transition young Eric is making from boy to man. Parallels are drawn and contrasts made between the simple lives of our ancestors and the relative "comfort" of mankind in the world of today. One struggle after another is described in detail as are the solutions found as each is overcome. Twists and turns along the way keep the reader plowing ahead, wondering what will happen next.
It is a good read that will provide great entertainment and serious food for thought, as well.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.37(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By Reach Savage
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Reach Savage
All right reserved.
I was alive and on the ground and thankful for that. Aside from many cuts and what would certainly be deeply discolored bruises later, I seemed to be unhurt. The dense thicket I had landed in had broken my fall and probably saved my life. To either side and in front of the tangled vegetation were large boulders and a huge outcropping of limestone that would have written a different ending to my life's story had I careened into any one of them as I hit the ground. The largest bit of the outcropping was a towering central spur; this monolith had ripped the pontoons and associated struts and hardware off the plane quite cleanly as it had glanced off and somehow stayed in the air. A second or two after I realized I was no longer in the plane but on the ground, buried deep in a thorny thicket, I heard the unmistakable sound of the radial engine of the plane firing up. As I rose shakily to my feet, I sat back down in a hurry. I was mere feet from the edge of a very steep cliff. Again, more cautiously, I arose to peer beyond the edge, looking for the wreckage of the plane which must surely lie somewhere in the broad depression below. For several minutes, I scanned the area and as far out in front of me as I could see; there was no sign of any wreckage, nor was there any area of scoured or damaged vegetation caused by a crash landing. From my vantage point, I could see the entire floor of the swale, which appeared to be at least a half-mile across. Astoundingly, the plane must have been able to regain altitude after the engine re-fired and the burden of carrying the floats and my fat ass was lost. The cliff on the distant side of the swale was slightly higher than the side I was on, making it impossible to see beyond it. There was no way to see how far the plane had been able to fly or if it had quickly gone down somewhere just past the cliff.
As I scanned the swale for any sign of the plane, the first few rain drops of the imminent storm ricocheted off the bill of my cap—which somehow had remained on my head. The rainfall quickly increased in intensity, becoming a full-blown downpour in a matter of a minute or two. Flashes of lightning followed a few seconds later by powerful claps of thunder announced the arrival of a massive thunderhead.
I moved back from the edge of the cliff with very deliberate and concise movements, grasping branches and rocks to steady myself on the now-slippery rocks. If anybody was capable of falling off a cliff after surviving a plane crash, I am that guy. However, my work on this earth is far from finished.
"I've still got things to do—know what I'm sayin' ..." I managed a painful smiling moan as I spoke aloud the over-used catch phrase while descending ever-so-slowly down the face of the outcropping. At the foot of the large spur were the floats and struts of the plane and very little else. I had the clothes on my back, which were a little ripped and rumpled, but otherwise intact. My hoodie, on which I had been sitting when the plane came apart, was tangled in a sheet of jagged metal which had previously been part of the floor of the fuselage. Finding that sweatshirt was a lucky break; it was heavy and would keep me warm. I had packed it purposely when we left home a few days ago, and it was a good thing I had; there was now a real need to insulate my body from the cold and wet. I hadn't paid any attention to the sky after I'd arrived semi-conscious, unannounced and unscheduled for this arboreal forest visit, but it certainly couldn't be ignored any longer. The rain was coming down in sheets of what felt like solid water. To make matters worse, daylight was fading. I needed to find shelter until I could figure out what my next move would be. Down-slope from my location was an angling split in the face of the outcropping which had eroded into a gulley about ten feet wide and was littered with basketball-sized and larger split-off chunks of rock. I followed this ravine for a hundred yards; maybe more. It opened up onto the floor of the swale at the base of the outcropping—which now loomed behind me as a large cliff as I turned to look back. As the light faded, my mind was racing, and my emotions were running unchecked. Certainly this swale was home to a pack of wolves, a pride of mountain lions or herd of black bears, all of which would certainly be happy to have me over for dinner. I found a large crack in the rock which afforded some shelter from the steady rain; I slid into the confined space and braced my body by resting my knees against the rock on one side of the crack while my back was supported by the other side.
"It ain't much, but its home for tonight," I said, pulling my hat down tight to keep the steadily dripping water off my forehead. As I closed my eyes; my mind began to replay the events of the day until sleep overcame me on this, the first night of many in what would become a long and determined quest.
I woke up to the sound of rain tinkling off the still largely intact roof of the plane. My right leg was obviously broken below the knee; I could tell right away because my toes were pointed at my knee. It wasn't a compound fracture, thankfully. All the damage remained inside the leg and under the skin. Curiously, it didn't hurt. I was certain that would change in the very near future.
I was pinned against the back wall of the cockpit, on the cargo side, where I had moved after the first impact with the tree-tops. My Dad's large tackle box was to the right of my right leg, with a caved-in top. The heavy box containing our lead keel sinkers was in front of and beneath the unnaturally upward-bent lower portion of my right leg—and was the smoking gun that had snapped my leg. It was easy to see what had happened when the plane crashed; the large tackle box had been on top of my lower leg; a few inches below my right knee. The force of impact had turned the heavy sinker box into a sledgehammer that hit the underside of my right leg near the ankle, snapping it against the fulcrum provided by the large tackle box. Had the heavy box not hit the underside of my leg, it would have traveled further and very likely hit me in the chest or head, which wouldn't have been good at all.
I leaned back and looked over my right shoulder. The pilot, whose name was Antoine, as I had learned when we introduced ourselves that morning—was dead. I could see him through the now partially ripped-away cockpit area. He was several yards from the plane, impaled on a stump in a grotesque, almost too Hollywood-like manner to be real. But real it was. And dead he was-real dead. His innards hung on the bloody crag of the stump protruding from his abdomen. His eyes were still wide open. Rivulets of water from the steady rain trickled down his forehead, mixing with his blood as it streaked across his face. I hadn't seen anything remotely like this since my Dad had gutted a deer the previous hunting season. Poor guy, I thought. He had fought the plane mightily and somehow managed to keep it in the air for several minutes after the floats had been ripped from it. He deserved a better end. But, he may have wanted to leave this world doing the thing he loved the most. If that was the case—and if flying his Beaver bush plane was what he loved to do—he sure went out right. Unfortunately, Antoine had lost the final round of the fight to keep his plane in the air. It crashed into a trio of huge spruce trees, hitting the center tree square on the trunk, about six feet off the ground; the force of impact had ejected him through the left side of the cockpit. Luckily, I had hit the pile of gear which almost completely absorbed the force of my own impact. Besides my broken leg, the only other injury I had was a cut somewhere on my forehead or scalp, which was bleeding profusely. I wiped my hands on my pants instinctively and felt around, looking for the wound. I found the cut just below the hair line on my left temple; I could feel the beginnings of a scab forming, indicating it had begun to clot. The bleeding stopped completely shortly thereafter. Amazingly, my hat was still on my head. My coat was ripped and smelled of fuel, but was otherwise still functional. A tear in my pants stretched from my left knee to my groin, but whatever had torn my pants hadn't damaged any body parts in the immediate area, thankfully.
This was no time for laughter, but I nearly chuckled as I pondered my situation. My dad and I had recently began to enjoy watching the various survivor shows that had recently become popular. Never in a million years did I think I'd be in a situation where any of that information would prove to be useful. I had no idea just how useful some of the stuff I saw on those shows was going to be.
My first order of business was to straighten out this right leg somehow. I had seen it done in the movies a few times and had to give it a shot. My plan was to shuffle to my right, moving along the crumpled cockpit wall and into the opening leading to what remained of the cockpit. If I also shuffled somewhat towards the rear of the plane, there would be about four feet of open space between my back and the crushed-in dashboard area. Fortunately, the pilot's seat was gone, no doubt ejected with the pilot at impact. In front of my legs was a "V"-shaped section of fuselage rib with the point of the "V" facing me and angled down, and the open end toward the rear of the plane. Looking at the "V", I formulated a plan. I would first lift my right leg, hooking my foot in the tight lower end of the "V". Next, I would lean back and grab a sturdy piece of the cockpit behind me with both hands and my arms fully extended. On the count of three—they always counted to three—I would pull my arms down and across my chest, causing my upper body to scoot forward, while my foot remained restrained in the "V". Theoretically, this would straighten out my leg and I would live happily ever after. As I began to put this plan into action, I shrieked in agony at the first movement of my leg. I pulled my wallet out of my pocket, stuck it between my teeth, and kept moving. The pain in my leg was almost too much to bear, but I continued, biting down hard on the wallet. When I was nearly in position, the tears were streaming down my face—not that I was crying, though. I was able to use my left leg to help lift and position my grotesquely misshapen lower right leg into the "V". Once my right foot was firmly located in the "V", I leaned back with fully outstretched arms, firmly gripped a solid-feeling hunk of cockpit under the crumpled dash area, took several deep breaths—and pulled downward with all my strength—and it all went black.
When I came to, I was still in a lot of pain, but very pleased to see that my plan had apparently worked. As I returned my wallet to my pants-pocket, I could see that my right leg was now straight; my foot was properly positioned below the knee, with toes pointed forward as they should be, and the alignment of the lower leg to upper leg looked pretty good, as well. I sat up carefully, wincing in pain and looked around to see what I could use for splints. The two large landing nets we had brought were behind me and to my left. The hoops were bent and twisted, but the handles were still straight. I was able to grab both of these by leaning back and to the left and extending my left arm as far back as I could reach. After I had them in hand, I checked my belt and was pleased to find my ever-present multi tool still firmly in place. Using the screw driver end, I was able to remove the two screws holding each hoop to each handle. In short order, I had my splints. I looked around to see what I could use to lace them to each side of my leg. Over my right shoulder, still hanging on a hook protruding from the cockpit wall, was a roll of duct tape.
"Wow—that's unbelievable," I said out loud. Things were looking up.
As I leaned over and firmly wrapped the duct tape around my leg and landing-net—handle splints, I surveyed the gear that was in a jumbled mass in the cargo area all around me; I was glad to see that a lot of our equipment had survived intact. I reached high above my head with both hands and grabbed a piece of the airframe protruding from the fuselage and tugged on it tentatively to see if it could hold my weight—it didn't budge. This would serve as my first handhold as I attempted to maneuver.
The plane had hit so squarely and at just the right angle that it had remained firmly lodged in the large branches on the tree at the point of impact; the wings apparently were being supported by the branches of the large trees on either side. Using my handhold, I carefully hoisted myself to my feet, supporting my weight entirely with my left leg and both arms. I slowly turned around, and looked towards the front of the plane through the cockpit opening. The center cockpit area was completely destroyed. All the instruments and gages were now compacted between the rear of the plane's engine and the now forward-displaced bulkhead that originally separated the cockpit from the cargo area. Me and the gear had hit the back side of that wall as momentum drove everything forward during the crash, in effect; the crushing gages and cockpit area were used to cushion the impact. The radio was unrecognizable in the twisted mass—it was toast, for sure. I could now see that a large branch had driven the pilot through the side of the cockpit; he was most likely dead before he ever left the plane, based on the considerable blood and skin smeared in this area. In the cargo area to the rear of the plane, the sleeping bags and packs containing our clothing were piled against the wall where they had probably saved my life. I figured I'd leave these where they were for the time being, as the top of the fuselage was still intact and should continue to keep the stuff dry. I gingerly sat down on the caved-in tackle box as I stretched out my now securely bound right leg and thought about my Dad, for the first time. It wasn't likely that he could survive being ripped out of the plane the way he had been. I knew it was a long shot that he would ever be coming after me. If I was going to survive, I would have to do it on my own.
As daylight faded, I worked to clear a flat spot upon which to spread a sleeping bag, and couldn't help but shake my head and sigh, as I moved stuff around; at least I had a roof, of sorts, over my head—it could be a lot worse. I eventually worked up a pretty comfortable bunk—and a considerable sweat in so doing. I knew that sweat and damp clothes could be very bad, in this situation. I stripped to the waist and patted myself dry with a clean, crisp towel—of which I actually had several—along with wash clothes, tooth paste, boxers (mine), briefs (dad's) and the rest of the clothes in the duffel back which rested against the cockpit wall. I put on a dry T-shirt and hoodie and gingerly settled back into my handcrafted bunk for what would likely be a very fitful night of attempted sleep. The rain pattered softly off the aluminum skin of the fuselage for most of the night, creating a white noise that eventually lulled me into a surprisingly deep and comfortable sleep, interrupted only by a few sharp bolts of pain which caused me to wake up moaning.
When I awoke early the next morning, for the first few foggy seconds I had no clue as to my whereabouts. Gradually—and depressingly—I remembered the events of the previous day. In a few seconds, I was back in the here and now.
"For my next trick," I muttered to myself, "I'll try to take a leak, somehow."
With "morning wood" deployed, I struggled to position myself to facilitate nearly vertical urination through the forward hole in the cockpit. Satisfied I was ready to pull the trigger, I opened the valve. As the flow increased and my aim improved, I washed some of the blood and bits of skin off the shards of metal marking the exit route of the pilot. As the windage decreased and weapon elevation subsided, I was able to better focus the firepower, cleansing the plane of ever larger and more consolidated chunks of flesh until the ammo ran out. Having provided my own morning entertainment, I holstered the now rubbery weapon. Nature's call thusly answered, I was suddenly hungry and thirsty, at the same time.
Excerpted from Wilderness Exodus by Reach Savage Copyright © 2011 by Reach Savage. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was a great book! I was sad when there was no more of it to read wheen I finished. Highly recommended
The good stuff starts on the first page and continues through the whole book. Though it is a hefty book I hated to put it down and was sorry when there was no more of it to read. I recommend this to anyone with an interest in the outdoors and in need of a good book to fight the doldrums of winter.
A really captivating adventure story that made me wish I could be there to experience it. The author is obviously a true naturalist and outdoorsman who understands his subject matter. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good book.
This was the best book I have read in a long time. The descriptions are very realistic and makes you feel like you are there. There is a good amount of action and also some things that make you think. The story flows well and there are twists and turns that keep you ineterested wondering what will happen next. I have recommended this book to many people who love to read adventure novels.
The book was great! The action started fast and continued through the whole story. The characters were well-developed and the wilderness descriptions were superb. Made me feel like I was there. I recommend this book to anyone who loves the outdoors and a really good story.
I have read many survival/adbenture novels and this one rates with the best of them. The many obstacles encountered are systematically overcome in ways that make perfect sense and would seem to be plausible in real life. This "believability" combinded with very accurate and concise descriptions of the wilderness in which the story takes place makes it a very enjoyable and captivating story. If you are at all interested in the survival genre and just enjoy reading a really good book consider "Wilderness Exodus".