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Worst Nightmare: Cold

A hair-raising tale of wilderness terror that will haunt your backcountry dreams
Oct12_KayakPaddle_445x260Kayak Paddle

Derek untied the towline. “Climb onto my kayak,” he said. “Quickly!” The boat sagged with the extra weight. It almost went over. The craft couldn’t handle them both in the wind-churned water.

Numbers. Balance. Numbers. Derek made MK at 230, maybe 240 pounds. Derek rarely topped 170. If he put MK at the center point, maybe… “Switch with me,” he said.

Derek levered himself out. He crouched forward while MK moved into the cockpit with his paddle.
Better. But still too heavy. Derek rode the kayak like a rocking horse, facing MK, his hands gripping the cockpit rim. Water sloshed into the boat as MK paddled, first feebly and then with more force. At least he was coming back from the brink.

But the tide was still pushing them in the wrong direction. “We need to lose weight,” Derek said.
MK nodded. He raised the paddle. A shift of the hips, the soft thunk of the hard shaft on soft flesh. The wind wiped away the shouting, the frantic splashing of broken fingers.

The older man swung the kayak east toward shore and paddled with renewed energy. They felt good, the dry clothes, the steady motion, the problems solved, the natural order restored.

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