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Lunchbox Disaster Roundup: 3-08

The beloved star of our in-book feature "The Predicament," Lunchbox the Cadaver Sniffing Dog, brings you a round-up of this week's outdoor predicaments, disasters, and near-misses

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We’re at that mid-spring time when both warming temperatures and fantastic snow get people outside, and closer to getting themselves in trouble. We don’t have time to waste—let’s take a look at some recent outdoor predicaments.


Lost backcountry skiers hike 26 miles the wrong way. Two skiers who left Crystal Mountain resort for backcountry skiing got lost, eventually finding their way to a highway. Once there, they encountered a driver, who told them they could hike five miles back to the resort and their car, but they turned the wrong direction down the road, and hiked for 26 miles in ski boots until they arrived at a Mt. Rainier ranger station. Too late: Girlfriends reported the missing pair, and a search had already been launched.

Lunchbox’s lesson: Mt. Rainier officials noted that most signs on the remote highway had been removed to spare them from snow damage. But if the backcountry skiers had simply brought a map and compass, they could’ve saved themselves and rescue personnel a lot of trouble.

Mountain lion enters Colorado home, fights five tiny dogs
. A malnourished mountain lion in Chaffee County, Colorado followed a small dog into its house on Sunday, where it encountered an unwelcome surprise: four shi tzus and a Jack Russel terrier. A mother and two children were trapped inside while the dogs fought it out with the cougar, until wildlife officers showed up to tranquilize the lion. All the dogs suffered severe injuries, and one later died. The underweight mountain lion was deemed a future attack risk and euthanized.

Lunchbox’s lesson: In mountain lion country, unattended pets and small children are fair game. Keep an eye on them, and keep them close, or you could end up staring down a mean cat in your living room.

96-year-old man survives rabid otter mauling. Straight from the bizarro files, a 96-year-old Florida man out for his usual predawn walk was startled when a dark shape came out of the bushes and approached him. What the man thought was a pet turned out to be a rabid otter, which attacked his leg, pulled him to the ground, and began savaging his hands and face. Two passersby stopped to help the man, and sustained injuries themselves in the process. They thought they’d stopped the otter after beating it with a shovel, but it leapt up again, and only stopped when shot dead by a policeman. All humans survived with multiple stitches, and they’ll need a series of shots to prevent rabies infection. Listen to the panicked 911 call here.

Lunchbox’s lesson: Don’t cross a rabid otter after dark?