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Durango goes ‘real’ too

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In early October, another small step was taken. For several days, crews used what resembled a large, metal vacuum cleaner to suck the sand from the riparian area and back up to the highway, where it was to be bagged. All told, officials expected to retrieve 100 truck-loads of sand. That still leaves much sand behind.

The key: don’t panic

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Charles Horton, the man who survived eight days in the snow and cold last spring after breaking his leg on a solo cross-country ski outing, has already received spades of publicity, and he’s getting more.

His story will be related in upcoming issues of Men’s Journal and National Geographic Adventure, and it was also told recently on a television channel, National Geographic. The key question in all these is why did he survive when the odds seemed to be against him.

The answer, he told The Steamboat Pilot, is "I didn’t panic."

Still, there was a day during his ordeal when he thought it might be his last, and so he decided to be completely present. "If this is the last day of my life I thought, I wanted to experience everything," he told the newspaper. "I felt the pain in my leg, I saw the birds and the sunlight. I felt the wind."

Having read several books of near-death survivors since his excursion last April, he has discovered his experience was not unique. Most people who survived something similar describe being overwhelmed by the beauty of where they were.

Horton recommends that hikers and skiers always carry with them fire-starting tools, water, and food – plus shelter. Had he been carrying a space blanket or bivy bag, he would have been dry and warm instead of on the brink of death. He also recommends a knife, a first-aid kit, and homeopathic Arnica pills to keep from going into shock or passing out if injured.

A knife, of course, was the essential tool used by another ski town wilderness survivor, Aron Ralston, when his arm got caught between two boulders in the canyonlands of Utah. He sawed off his arm and hence evaded an even more gruesome death by dehydration.

Wildlife films are hot

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — It’s been a big year for films about wildlife, with the March of the Penguins and then Grizzly Man both making a big splash. With that kind of success for documentary and docudramas, the Warner Independent Pictures showed up this year at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival looking for projects. Winning awards at the festival puts filmmakers "on the radar" for production companies such as BBC and National Geographic, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

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