I well remember the quotation by Branch Rickey, the 1980’s innovative manager of the Dodger’s baseball team, “Luck is the residue of design.” My design included extra gloves and flashlight batteries, fire starter material, a small flick cigarette lighter, a compass, a snow-shedding jacket and warm head-gear. All this now seemed for naught as I forced my hand-numbed way forward along the lethally deepening Idaho streamlet, it coursing and splitting into deep v-shaped valleys in different directions.
My effort was to get back toward camp, now lost in the full darkness of night, my only pathway through miles-long deepening rivulets, ankle-deep then knee-deep then hip-deep in icy water. Downhill, but over and under a thousand felled water-coursed windfall trees, stopping every five minutes as my muscles refused to continue, forced to lie on my back on one of the crossing logs, intermittent cold drizzle and snow flurries licking my face, a white-tailed deer liver in my reinforced canvas carry-case strapped to my one gun-free shoulder, my gloved hands soaked and frozen, unable to light a fire or change extra batteries on my dwindling flashlight, now kept off most of the time to maintain its life. But would my energy outlive the elements? It was peaceful lying fully on a sizeable log, back and head supported, ear-flapped hat wet but not too cold, recovering for another five minutes, not daring to linger longer.
You can read the full story in my upcoming book, Reckless But Lucky (2018).