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What’s in My Pack: Summer Skiing in the Tetons with Adventurer Thomas Woodson

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016


I have a pretty good streak for going skiing every month. 35 to be exact — every month since I moved west and started skiing. During these lonely summer months most of my friends have packed up their gear and look at me with insanity when I’m searching for partners. This leaves me on my own, hiking for hours, searching out the last glimpse of shrinking glaciers in the Rocky Mountains.

As a Wilderness First Responder, being out solo can create a challenging headspace. I try to use speed and lightness to create my own margin of safety. But I still carry a first aid kit like the Mountain Series Day Tripper. When you’re in an alpine environment, you’re your own first responder. Emergency response and evacuations take longer out there. So get prepared, the kits include professional quality supplies so it’s worth checking out. You read about many accidents from inexperienced hikers in these locations as well, so I want to feel prepared to assist others.

The SOL Thermal Bivvy is an integral part of my medical kit. Environment is a great concern during wilderness patient care, especially if trauma is involved. Having warmth and protection from the elements can make quite the difference. I also carry base layers in a dry bag, which provide ample warmth underneath a lightweight rain shell in the summer, or can be used to pad a makeshift splint or c-collar.

For communication outside cell range, I carry a SPOT Satellite Messenger with my trip plan tied in with my S.O.S. message. The optional rescue insurance is a plus as well.

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Miscellaneous things… For boot/binding repair when skiing, I carry a multi-tool, duct tape, zip ties and bailing wire. That combined with a ski strap can fix just about anything.

Here are more of my favorite items:

I’m stoked for more adventure and continue to encourage all of my adventure partners to sign up for a Wilderness First Responder course. See you in the mountains!

About Thomas Woodson

I’m a van based adventure photographer chasing film projects and snow storms across the west. My passion for photography overtook my design career after moving to Colorado. Working full-time chasing athletes around the world, I partners with brands to craft authentic stories of adventure. Despite a change in tools, design plays an active role in everything I do.

The Tower of Mordor

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
Photo: Matthew Parent

All Photos: Matthew Parent

Adventure Medical Kits’ Adventurer Gareth Leah’s Pico Cão Grande Expedition

A dark tower of volcanic rock shrouded in clouds dominates the unearthly landscape. Formed millennia ago when high-pressure magma solidified inside the vent of an active volcano, its presence is foreboding. This is the peak of Cão Grande, a 370m volcanic plug situated deep in the jungle on the island of São Tomé in sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to the expedition, I’d spent a year planning (mainly dreaming) of the day I would be able to visit this island whose landscapes resembled a scene from a Jurassic Park movie. It was a project I knew was ambitious on so many levels. Everything had to be carefully planned and arranged, as the island offers almost nothing in the way of purchasable goods or medical help. If something was to go wrong, we would be on our own.

Arriving on the island was a cultural eye opener. Stray dogs running wild through the busy streets, a seven-person family riding a single 125cc motorbike, a balancing act fit for a circus performance. Navigating the narrow roads that winded south from the capital we arrived at Agripalm plantation, the furthest point we could reach before being forced to continue on foot through the jungle. A 3km hike through thick jungle and we emerged at the base of the wall, greeted unknowingly by a 100m high roof that jutted out some 30m. There was no information on the peaks rock formation prior to arrival and standing at the base we gained a very real sense of the task at hand.

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We climbed in 14-hour shifts every day for 4 weeks and had only 1 attempt on each pitch to make it happen before we had to leave the island. In the end we established a new 15 pitch 455m line up the wall, which goes at F8b (5.13d). We named it Nubivagant (Wandering in the clouds).

When we at last stood atop the peak, we were blown away by the magnitude of the challenge and not just by the climbing! It had been wrought with difficulties, many of which had threatened to end the project from the start. Luggage problems, blown battery chargers, generator issues, snake bites, jungle logistics, currency exchange, sickness and stuck vehicles all looked that they would stop us in achieving our goal. However, with each new obstacle that stood in our path, we would find a solution, though none were what you would describe as “traditional”.

Having now completed the route and with time to reflect upon the island, the peak and the people we have encountered along the way. I am thankful in all that I have gained from the trip which amounts to a lot more than just a new route, but new friends, skills and an understanding of a life where people are masters of their environment.

About Gareth
Gareth Leah is a worldly adventurer, passionate writer, business developer and rock climber. Born and raised in UK, he discovered rock climbing and quickly became obsessed with adventure and the unique problem solving qualities it presented. Leah owns his own guiding company and is currently living in Mexico, where he is working to grow climbing as a community, culture and sport through development of new climbing areas, local communities projects, and industry education and awareness. He supports a number of causes that benefit climbers such as, the Access Fund and Climbers Against Cancer. See more at

Essential Gear for the Journey:
Bug Spray – Natrapel
This stuff works great. I like the non-Deet option and it smells great.

Ben’s Face Net-Great to have when the bugs were fierce.

Ben’s clothing spray – We sprayed the entire basecamp with it. Tents, clothes, sheets etc and it definitely worked at keeping the bugs at bay.

Adventure Medical Kits Comprehensive- This was amazing to have. There were a handful of cuts, small health issues such as diarrhea, fever, headaches, vomiting, all the good stuff you get from visiting a jungle that no ones really been too. I think the really good thing about this was the book. When people were becoming sick, i used it to help diagnose the problem and decide on a solution.

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight .7– It is great to have in the backpack. It has all the essentials needed to deal with common problems. If you can’t fix your problem with this kit, you’re up a creek and need an EMT anyway.

Dental Kit – I never used it in the end, my fillings held out. However, I did use it on one of the locals who developed a MASSIVE abscess in his molar. The information in the pack gave again helped me diagnose and decide the best solution. Using some broad spectrum antibiotics and this kit I was able to clean the wound out, numb the pain and he is now perfectly back to normal. Huge success!

What’s in Rebecca Rusch’s pack for Cycling

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

RRWhats in pack

By Adventure Medical Kits Ambassador Rebecca Rusch

When she’s headed out on the trail, Rebecca carries essential gear to make sure she’s ready for anything!

Red Bull: because it #GivesYouWings, Seriously I drink Red Bull to energize a hard workout, to get me out the door if I’m feeling tired.

GU Octane gel: GU is my go to nutrition for riding.

CrankBrothers multi-tool with chain breaker. Plus an extra SRAM quick link for a chain repair if needed (this is in the red packet below the tool) The bike tool is an essential item for trailside maintenance and adjustments on the bike.

Park Tool tire boot: For big tears or cuts in the tires.

Beyond Coastal sunscreen stick

Duct Tape

WD40 Bike Chain lube

Tire Lever: for changing a flat. I like this wide kind so I only have to carry one instead of two.

Petzl E-lite mini headlamp: this thing is so small and runs forever.

SRAM Shock pump

Spare tube: for flats.

Bike gloves

Thin rain jacket or vest

Crank Brothers mini bike tire pump

Surgical gloves and plastic shower cap: for emergency cold weather protection of hands and head. Yes, this does work.

Cell phone: for taking selfies, but also calling for help if needed

Camelbak pack and hydration: you can survive quite a long time without food, but not very long at all without water.

Adventure Medical Kit Utlralight Watertight .9 First Aid Kit

About Rebecca Rusch
When describing Rebecca Rusch’s athletic achievements, it may be easier to talk about what she hasn’t done, but, like Rebecca herself, we’re doing this the hard way.
Her national and world titles in whitewater rafting, adventure racing, orienteering, and cross-country skiing certainly impress, but they only set the stage; it’s the two-wheeled victories that really lengthen her resume. Rusch’s mountain bike accomplishments would strain the pixels on your screen. National wins across multiple off-road formats top the list, as well as record-setting victories at storied ultra endurance races like the Leadville Trail 100, Dirty Kanza 200, and 24 Hour MTB World Championships. Not content to wait for the race to come to her, Rusch also claimed the record on the 142-mile Kokopelli Trail, coming in more than an hour and a half faster than the previous champion. It wasn’t her idea, but it doesn’t take a professor to see why she earned the moniker “The Queen Of Pain.”

While maintaining this laundry list of accolades would be enough for most athletes, Rusch takes no such time to rest on her laurels. Her SRAM Gold Rusch Tour has been traveling to races and events across North America to help get more women in the saddle and riding their bikes through skills clinics, social events, and group rides. She created Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a grueling gravel road event in her hometown of Ketchum that attracts hundreds of riders to her backyard every year, all for charity. Organizations like the International Mountain Bike Association, World Bicycle Relief,, the National Interscholastic Mountain Bike Association, and the Wood River Bicycle Coalition can count her as an official ambassador and, in some cases, board member. Visit her site at www.

Going with the Flow: Adventure Medical Kits Goes to Morocco

Monday, May 2nd, 2016


By Adventure Medical Kits’ Ambassador Kim Havell

Adventures don’t always go as planned. In our case, Mother Nature dictated our predicament. Our team was heading to Morocco on a ski expedition from mid-March until early April but the skies were being temperamental. Three weeks before we were set to depart, the Central High Atlas Mountains, a 5-hour drive east of Marrakesh, were hit with a 3-meter storm. We had high hopes. But, the days of African solar power that followed ate away at the new snow and the base and left us with little choice but to change plans a few days before departure.

IMG_8500Our group of 10 included 3 guides – Kristoffer Erickson, IFMGA guide, Peter Linn, Outfitter/Guide/Ski Patroller, and myself, EXUM Mountain Guide/JHMR Alpine Guide, Kim Havell. Kris and his wife, Cloe Erickson, have been visiting and living in Morocco on and off since 2003. Their home base is in the heart of the mountains – Zawiya Ahansal – and with their expertise and local knowledge; we were embarking on a thoroughly planned expedition. One of their companies – the Atlas Cultural Foundation – – mission is to improve and assist the local communities and rural Moroccans lives in education, health, and cultural preservation.

As part of our trip, Adventure Medical Kits provided gear support donations for the local villages in this rugged mountain area in which Kris and Cloe live and work (with their 7 year old daughter, Noor). With the Ericksons’ local contacts and assistants, we would be distributing supplies and helping in the health/medical arm of the Foundation’s efforts. As plans changed, our group size diminished and Pete and I decided to continue with the travel to Africa.

Transferring supplies across the ocean proved to be hassle-free and we were able to deliver the variety pack of kits and gear to the Ericksons in Zawiya. As luck would have it, we arrived in a snowstorm but not enough accumulation to change our course for the weeks while there. With Kris’s expert local guidance, we spent time in the mountains climbing the rock walls around their home and exploring the area on foot. Once all the supplies were delivered, Cloe and Kris took over the distribution and organization of the Adventure Medical Kits materials for the local programs that are under way this spring.

The careful and thoughtful usage of contacts on the ground in rural, remote locations make these donations more effective for the locals — those in need gain a better understanding and education of health and medical prevention tactics and methodology. Thank you Adventure Medical Kits for the generous, incredible support of both these African communities and the combined effort of expedition and philanthropic goals.


About Kim Havell

  • Named by Outside Magazine as a “Preeminent Female Ski Mountaineer of our Time” – November 2012
  • Listed by Backcountry Magazine as “37 Most Important Women in Backcountry” – January 2014
  • Named by The Active Times as #23 of “The World’s Best Athletes” – Fall 2015

Currently based in Jackson, WY, Kim Havell started her career as an alpine ski coach in the Telluride, CO valley. From there, she gradually made the transition into freeskiing, climbing and ski mountaineering. She has been an instructor and/or guide for Ice Axe Expeditions, San Juan Outdoor School, CVA, Babes in the Backcountry, H2O Heli Guides, as well as a 12 year member of the San Miguel County Search and Rescue Team (and Advisory Board member), with medical and rescue certifications.

Kim has skied on all 7 continents, with 1st descents on 4, and adventured in over 50 countries. During her travels, she has climbed and skied big peaks in the Himalaya & the Karakorum, the highest mountains across the US, with 1st descents both at home and abroad including in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Kim has numerous first female descents in Southwest Colorado, climbed and skied both the Grand Teton and Mt. Moran in a 2 day period, completed multiple ascents and ski descents of 13ers & 14ers, and cut lines on peaks in France, Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Alaska, Russia, and Japan. She has climbed numerous peaks in the Himalayas including Lobuche (6553m) and Ama Dablam (6888m) in Nepal, as well as an expedition to Gasherbrum II (8032m), Pakistan, with some skiing from 7400m, a womens expedition that skied from the summit of Denali (6194m), an Argentina trip of multiple ski descents in the Horcones Valley and on Aconcagua, a ski exploration expedition to Morocco’s Central High Atlas Mtns with 6 summit ski descents, and a complete ski descent from 7,400m on Shishapangma in Tibet in 2010.
Over the years,  Kim has explored Peru, The Yukon, Revelstoke BC, Germany, Zion National Park, the Wind River Range, WY, and exploratory ski trip in the Patagonian Andes, and is ramping up for 2016 adventures in both guiding and personal expeditions.

Adventure Medical Kits Athlete Profile: Hilaree O’Neill

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016
Hilaree Oneill, Southeast Greenland photo:Adam Clark

Hilaree O’Neill, Southeast Greenland; photo:Adam Clark


Hilaree O’Neill — A Life in the Mountains

For Hilaree O’Neill, skiing is the gateway to possibility. She started skiing at age 3 at Steven’s Pass in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state. She took a leap of faith shortly after graduating from Colorado College and moved to Chamonix, France. In many ways, her five years in Chamonix served as a second round of college in that this where she was introduced to the world of big mountain skiing and climbing.

From there, the place for Hilaree was anywhere she could cut turns on mountain slopes: volcanoes in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia, in Mongolia, India, Lebanon, and first descents of the tight couloirs of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Her mountain adventures led Outside Magazine to name Hilaree one of the most adventurous women in the world of sports. She has repeatedly made a mark in the Himalayas. In 2005, climbing the 8,000-meter peak Cho Oyu in Tibet, from which she made the 2nd female oxygenless ski descent. In 2008, she attempted to climb and ski Gasherbrum II in Pakistan.

Makalu20151627In 2012, surrounded by team members she would mentor, and alpinists who would mentor her, she climbed both Everest and it’s neighbor Lhotse making her the first woman to climb consecutive 8000m peaks in a single day.

As the recipient of a National Geographic Explorer’s Grant, Hilaree led a team of alpinists to attempt a first ascent on a remote peak in northern Myanmar in 2014. The film about the adventure, Down to Nothing, won the Best Cinematography Award at Telluride’s MountainFilm in 2015.

And most recently, Hilaree attempted another Himalayan giant, Makalu which was named by Outside Magazine as one of the “Most Badass Adventures of 2015”.

Hilaree has entered the record books for high-altitude innovation and prowess. Between expeditions, Hilaree spends her time as a mother, adventuring with her two sons ages 6 and 8. In addition, her writing has been published in National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic’s “The Call of Everest”, the Ski Journal, Outside Magazine Online, the Outdoor Journal and several other publications. Hilaree also shares her stories through motivational speaking engagements across the country.

Hilaree continues to travel the globe, always looking for new ski objectives and honest suffer-fests.

AMK’s Kyle Peter Completes Western States 100

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Congratulations to AMK East Coast Sales Manager Kyle Peter, who recently competed in his first 100 mile race — the Western States 100. Known for its grueling terrain, the Western States 100 takes place in late June, in California, starting at the base of the Squaw Valley ski resort and finishing up at the Placer High School track in Auburn.

Kyle recuperating post race
Kyle recuperating post race

Over the course of the race runners climb 18,000 feet and descend a total of 23,000 feet on mountain trails before they cross the finish line. Runners finishing before the 30 hour time limit for the race receive a bronze belt buckle; those who finish in under 24 hours receive a silver belt buckle. Kyle, an accomplished adventure racer and member of Team Tecnu, snagged a bronze buckle, finishing in 169th place at a time of 26:35. Read below his account of the challenges he experienced during his first stab at an ultra marathon:

This was by far the highest quality event I have ever competed in, and that includes Ironman and Primal Quest. After the race, I definitely developed a new outlook on the pace of adventure racers – Adventure Racers, we are slow!


IMG Orchestrating Multi-team Summit Bids

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Here is another update on the International Mountain Guides summit bid status. As always, keep an eye out for more updates coming soon!

Camp 3 at 23,500' midway up the steep Lhotse Face. Climbers begin sleeping on oxygen here, and crampons must be used outside of tents to move around on the ice.

Camp 3 at 23,500' midway up the steep Lhotse Face. Climbers begin sleeping on oxygen here, and crampons must be used outside of tents to move around on the ice.

May 19, 2020

IMG deputy leader Ang Jangbu reports from Base Camp that everyone did very well today pulling into Camps 1 and 2:

Karel, Al and Lei went from Camp 1 to 2. Bergum, Ford, Mike Chapman and Merle went from BC to Camp 2 directly. John and Ryan Dahlem and Robert Kay stayed at Camp 1 for the night and will move to Camp 2 tomorrow. Ten sherpas carried to South Col, three carried Camp 3 and two carried to Lhotse Camp 4 today. Three more sherpas moved to Camp 2 today. It was windy all day today above Camp 1.

The plan for tomorrow (5/20) is that the Hybrid team and also Greg, Brook, Boaz, Hancock, B Chapman, Lein, Davis, Karel and their personal sherpas plan to leave Camp 2 at 3am in the morning and head up to Camp 3. Ang Pasang, Tenzing Gyalzen and Phura Ongel will go ahead of the group to Camp 3 and set up three more tents and then they will drop back down to Camp 2. We have two sherpas down here at BC (Phu Tashi and Karma Gyalzen) who will go to Camp 1 and meet two sherpas coming down from Camp 2. These four sherpas will take down the Camp 1. The rest of the sherpas are taking a rest day today. Tomorrow they will go to Camp 2 and will carry personal/group gear to the Col and set up tents the next day.

—Ang Jangbu, Deputy Expedition Leader

Everest Summit Bids Ready to Start!

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Looks like the teams on Everest, including International Mountain Guides teams are getting ready to start their summit bids!  Keep watching for updates – there should be more news soon.

IMG Sherpa Trek team before they departed base camp. (photo: Ang Jangbu)

IMG Sherpa Trek team before they departed base camp. (photo: Ang Jangbu)

Dawa Nuru on the fixed ropes below C3 (photo: Justin Merle)

Dawa Nuru on the fixed ropes below C3 (photo: Justin Merle)

Sherpa Trek Departs BC; Summit Bids Ready to Start

May 17, 2010

IMG leader Justin Merle reports from Base Camp that the Sherpa Trek group left today after a nice visit, and are heading for Lobuche.

The team reports that there may have been as many as 50 Everest summits today. Congrats to these summiters, the door is open now!

This morning the IMG climbers finished packing high altitude snack food and personal gear for the summit bids and we got the oxygen masks handed out to the Sherpas. The weather report is looking better with the jet stream is forecasted to start tracking over the next week more to the north, away from Mt Everest. Currently it has been very close to Everest, moving away slightly, but then meandering back and forth. Now that it starts to move conclusively to the north, this is really the beginning of the end of the climbing season, since this also signals the beginning of the monsoon formation down in the Indian Ocean.

The tentative plan for the IMG is to split the team into two waves, with the first group of summit climbers starting up tomorrow, and the second group starting up the next day. Leaving at a pre-dawn hour tomorrow morning are the Hybrid team, Greg Vernovage, Boaz, Hancock, Lien, Wang, B Chapman, Masek and their respective personal sherpas. The rest of the climbers and their Sherpas leave Base Camp the following day with Justin.

We’ll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

International Mountain Guides Update – First Summits of the Season

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

International Mountain Guides reported that their first expedition members reached the summit of Mount Everest today.  The teams are preparing for their summit attempts in the coming weeks.  Keep track of their progress and read daily updates by vising  their blog.  Congratulations on the first successful summits of the year and we are wishing the teams luck in the coming weeks!

IMG Sherpas at Everest Base Camp

IMG Sherpas at Everest Base Camp

First Summits of the Season

May 5, 2010

IMG deputy leader Ang Jangbu Sherpa reports that the following IMG sherpas reached the summit of Mount Everest between 11:25 and 11:30 AM on Wednesday, May 5, 2010:

1. Nima Karma Sherpa (Phortse)
2. Phu Tshering (Phortse)
3. Phinjo Dorje (Pangboche)

They fixed rope from the South Col to the Balcony yesterday and finished fixing all the way to the summit today along with three sherpas from two other teams: HIMEX and AAI. Congrats to all nine of these guys, great work.

The door is now OPEN for other teams!

—Ang Jangbu, Deputy Expedition Leader

AMK’s Kyle Peter and Team Tecnu Race in the Swamp Stomp!

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Below is a race recap from Kyle and Team Tecnu on the Swamp Stomp Adventure Race that took place over the weekend.  They completed the race and came in 3rd out of 28 teams (that is their third 3rd place finish in a row!). Up next…. the Endorphin Fix 2-day race in West Virginia in March.  Congratulation to Team Tecnu on another great race!

Team Tecnu

Team Tecnu

Swamp Stomp 2010
Team Tecnu Staphaseptic
Kyle Peter, Mari Chandler, Keith Bushaw, Leslie Reuter

The 2nd race of 2010 took team Tecnu to about one hour north of Tampa, FL to race in the Swamp Stomp.  Plotting the course Friday night near the banks of the Homosassa River proved that the race would live up to its name.  30 miles of  river-paddling in a maze of waterways cutting though the swamp and miles of  swamp travel ton foot and even bike (yes…I said bike) though thick wet swamp ooze!

Saturday morning we started with a 14 mile paddle on the Homosassa River Trail that we finished in around 4th place, but we transitioned quickly at the ‘Chaz’ Campground and headed out onto Bike #1 in first place. Biking mostly on paved roads we grabbed a few CP’s and cruised into the transition to Trek 1 holding our lead.

Paddling through the Fog

Paddling through the Fog

Trek 1 was a relatively straightforward rogaine in Withlacoochee State Forest.  After 5 hours of running we cleared the section.  Most points were 100-300 meters from a trail or road, but with no features in flat Florida, the team relied heavily on pace counts to get the CPs.

We took off on Bike # 2 still leading the pack, but with a local team hot on our heels.  We grabbed 3 CP’s or so on our way into the deep nasty swamp at the same the time the sun began to set.  The first point we went to in the swamp requited us to leave our bikes at the end of a trail and stomp through the swamp for 100 meters to find the flag.  It was cold, it was our first time moving in the swamp, and Leslie found a keeper spot that sucked her in deep.  Needless to say, we slowed a bit.  We started to bike back out the same trail we used to come in to the CP and saw the local FL team.  I estimated we had about 15 minutes on them.  We also saw Checkpoint Zero and some other teams on the out-and-back section.  Next up on our plan was a group of 4 CP’s that didn’t have a clear connecting route to get them all.  We tried to get them in a loop that appeared to be the most efficient according to the map.  But it turned out that trails in the swamp can easily be covered in 3 feet of water and near impossible to find.  We decided to bike an extra 15 kilometers on relatively fast trails to avoid a 750 meter swamp bushwack with our bikes over our shoulders.  Seemed like the safest smartest thing to do, but turns out the race directors designed the course so everybody had to carry there bikes through the swamp.  The marked trails on the map were really hunters’ bushwacking routes through the swamp than ride-able trails.  Long and short of it we were passed out there by the local team as well as Checkpoint Zero with all three of us getting all points on Bike 2.  We came into the start the Trek 2 30 minutes behind CP0 and 2 hours behind the local team.  Game over!  The intensity immediately dropped and my focus on the maps faded.  We pushed on adjusted our plan for the trek, got what points we could with Leslie navigating us through a 1 kilometer, pitch black, below freezing, thick swamp.

We returned to the TA to pick up our bikes to find out  Checkpoint Zero still in the TA but with 1 more CP than us (a point worth 2 points when most were worth only 1 point).  We also discovered that our bikes cassettes had frozen solid.  Hours of swamp biking, sandy road riding, and 28 degree temperatures are not the best conditions for bikes.  We put on our frozen solid bike shoes, and all of the clothes we had (none of it dry at this point) and set off on the final bike ride (Bike 3).  I have probably been heard saying a half dozen times or so, “This is the coldest I have ever been.”  I don’t think I said it this time because I was too cold to talk, but I truly believe this was the coldest I have been in my live.  All four of us had completely numb feet and hands.  At every CP, Keith would put his bare hands down his pants to warm his fingers, and Leslie would ride without her hands on the bars in order to put them up here shirt to keep them warm.

We pulled into the final TA and transitioned into our frozen solid paddling gear.  When I took my bike shoes off there was a layer of ice between my wet sock and my shoe.  I don’t think that has ever happened to me before.  Not to mention in FL?

We stated Paddle 2 early Sunday morning and preceded to get the mandatory CP’s  They were all located up channels that were feed by springs.  We usually had to wade the last few meters in 72 degree water from our boats up to the spring to reach the CP.  What a welcome change from the frozen socks and PFD we wearing!  Our final CP required one teammate to swim into a deep hole being fed by a spring. As the youngest on the team I won the chance to dive the 10 feet into the clear spring and get the CP!!  I was cold, but the finish line was only 200 meters away, and as a special treat we were greeted by a family of manetees swimming under our canoes as we left the spring.

Diving for the Checkpoint gold!

Diving for the Checkpoint gold!

CP Gold!

CP Gold!



The Swamp Stomp proved to be a very challenging race both physically and mentally.  Florida doesn’t have hills, but it sure has swamps!  All things considered we are happy with our third place finish, and impressed with Checkpoint Zero’s second place finish and the local teams win.  I won’t speak for the rest of the team, but I will be back.  I want another shot at those swamp ‘trails’ or lack-there-of.