amazing stories here. I actually had my closest call just a few months ago back in may. I actually bought TLD because a friend said "hey you almost died in Canada, its like you lived the long dark!" and I didn't know what he meant so he showed me, and there began my love for the game. anyway this is a long story and I have a few pictures.
me and my dad are avid outdoorsman, hunting fishing and the like. I personally also go on solo bushcraft adventures (dad prefers a tent, I prefer tarps).
my uncle and his friend planned a Canadian fishing trip up near Lac La Croix, using Zups canoe and outfitters, me and my dad were invited and of course we said yes.
its a fairly long story so ill condense it
we are dropped off at the base of two waterfalls (named...you guessed it, twin falls) and we unload our gear and canoes from the boat and begin our 7 day adventure into the wilderness.
weather was chilly, 44F (about 6C) and the water was barely above freezing, running very high and fast from glacial run-off.
my uncle and his friend (Tom) get in the water first, paddling ahead and taking a look, while me and my dad pack the rest of our gear into the canoe and get ready. they come back and tell us there is one rough spot, but past that its smooth waters.
we get up to the fast spot, we just have to round the corner and we'll be fine, so my uncle gets out and tosses us a rope (to get where he was you need to pass the rough spot, being why we didn't just portage it) my dad grabbed the rope (hes in front, I'm in back) and my uncle begins to pull, we start paddling like crazy into the rapids and about 5 strokes in....my paddle breaks...I spin it (my spare is just out of reach, good one...) and and try and paddle with the handle, Dad doesn't hear me yelling because its so loud and next thing you know, we are tipping into the river.
I consider myself a very prepared person, I'm always ready for a crisis. working in healthcare will do that.
I hold my breath and brace for the cold, throw my hand up and grab the canoe, "keep kicking your legs and breathe" I tell myself to retain focus.
20 seconds and dad still isn't above the water, I begin to worry...splash, there he is, facing the other direction. "TURN AROUND GRAB THE CANOE" I scream at him
he turns and his eyes are bloodshot from the cold and he has a...weird...look on his face (which I now know is being in shock, at the time I didn't make the connection) and he grabs the the canoe
so we are up river from the falls, in between the falls is a fairly large island, and before the one on the left (see picture) is a smaller island. I do a quick speed calculation and figure we cant get to the small one considering how fast we are moving down river, so I scream "kick the other direction!" and dad being in shock and technically unconscious (he has no recollection after hitting the water) he yells "NO NO NO NO NO" and I yell back "THE FUCK YOU MEAN "NO"?? KICK THAT WAY" *pointing at the big island* no response, just kicking the wrong direction
so I say "fuck it, I guess we're going this way" miss the island by 100ft..speeding to the falls...on a complete whim and some sort of intervention, I manage to find a spot where the water is only up to my stomach (I'm 6 foot 3, 1.6meters I think) and I grab let go of the canoe and grab my dad (by this point I realize hes in shock) he isn't moving and his face is turning white
I stand in this spot against the current for 20 minutes, trying to find a way off and onto the island, water is too deep and running to fast. crazy luck that I even managed to get to the spot I was standing in. at that point I see my uncle and tom on the island, screaming at me.
the long story short, they threw a rope and tom dropped it because he doesn't handle pressure very well, so my only choice is to swim across the current to the shallow area...45 minutes of standing in the cold water, dad is turning blue and I'm barely feeling anything below my waist, I decided its either stay here and wait for the cold to kill my dad and make me to numb to swim, or just go for it. both ending with me probably going over the falls anyway.
I'm a fighter, I choose the latter.
one arm, swimming like a fuckin madman, I make it halfway before I realize with all of the weight, I'm being dragged into the current. so I tell dad "ready? were going over.." he says "hrrrglebughhh" (hes speaking nonsense by that point) I wrap my arm around his head to cushion it, and as I'm about to do the same to my own (20feet from the edge of the falls) I see a rock, instinctively I kick my foot and wedge it under.
we are stuck. water is only 3ft but I'm to tired to stand up, holding my dad. I look up...uncle and tom running to grab us...
fast forward 2 minutes, they are stripping my dad naked (hes blue and purple and unconscious) my uncle screams at me to go make a fire, I grab his matches and rush down to where we got dropped off (theres a firepit there) and make a fire.
fast forward another half hour, dad is returning to consciousness and regaining a small amount of color.
another half hour I had the other picture taken by my uncle for "memories" (I think that was my own hypothermia making me crazy)
anyway, rescue story is boring, a boat came by a few hours later and brought us back to the outfitter.
so if youre ever up in Lac La Croix, at Zups canoe and outfitters. ask about the 23 year old who saved his dad. apparently I'm a hero there hahaha, which I disagree, I just didn't wanna die yet!
anyway, its far better told in person!
I had to make the map to easier explain the story to some coworkers haha