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Wilderness Exodus Reach Savage 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.
FOREWORD The rainfall continued unabated as the twilight faded to black. It was impossible to expel thoughts of ravenous and horrific primeval predators slinking ever closer with glistening teeth and razor-like claws, plotting my imminent demise. I tried to gain shelter and bring myself under some semblance of control by wedging my bruised and lacerated body into an angling crevice in the overhanging rock face along which I had been traveling as night fell. Nothing could grab me through the solid rock, I figured. I hefted a stout limb in my right hand to pummel the evil predators as I attempted to collect my thoughts. Foremost on my mind was the whereabouts and condition of my son, from whom I'd become separated. As these anxious thoughts wheeled through my mind, I lapsed into a fitful sleep. It was to be the first of many nights I would spend in the Canadian bush. The day had started innocently enough. At about 7:00 AM that morning, my son and I had departed the frontier village of Kanina in north central Ontario in a Beaver float plane for a week of fly-in fishing at a lake I had visited years before with my father and a few of his buddies. I was a young man of fifteen at that time - as my son was, at this time. That trip has remained near the top of my list of most favored experiences in the thirty-five-plus years that have whizzed by since then. My son should certainly be exposed to this fine camp and wilderness experience just as I had, I thought. Early on, our flight had been thoroughly enjoyable as we stared wide-eyed at the impressive panorama of trackless wilderness spreading across thousands of square miles in all directions. I had no idea how terribly wrong things could go so quickly. The plane suddenly developed engine trouble, sputtering heavily and losing altitude; eventually the motor cut out completely. There had been little time to prepare for a crash landing as we had been flying quite low. The plane was into the treetops in a matter of minutes as the pilot fought with the controls, unsuccessfully trying to restart the engine. A rocky outcropping protruding above the canopy of the arboreal forest proved to be our demise; the plane could not climb above it. In a split second, I was free-falling. CHAPTER ONE - Dad 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 of 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. CHAPTER TWO – Son 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 h