BWCA 2019 - Leadership Challenge #1 (Ailing on the Allanwater) Boundary Waters Group Forum: Wilderness Challenges
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      2019 - Leadership Challenge #1 (Ailing on the Allanwater)     



distinguished member(1763)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/23/2019 04:20PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Hopefully Bojibob doesn't mind if I add a scenario to his amazing collection. I have really enjoyed thinking about the situations he proposed...both real and imagined. Please feel free to share your ideas on the scenario below, which is a real situation that happened.

Ailing on the Allanwater

This is the summer of 1981 - 24 day trip planned for the Allanwater and Kopka Rivers ending on Lake Nipigon. In 1981, few groups (maybe 2-4) would travel this specific route during the entire summer.

Group consists of 7 young women (1 adult and 6 minors ranging in age from 15-17). Adult has 3 years of experience guiding BWCA and Quetico trips. All other group members have multiple BWCA and/or Quetico trip experiences of 1-3 weeks long. All group members have basic map/compass navigational skills and solid camping skills.

All names have been made up to protect the innocent :)
Midge: 25 yo adult, extremely fit, trains for marathons, 3 years experience guiding BWCA/Quetico trips, navigationally challenged
Barbie: 15 yo, 4th year camper (BWCA/Quetico), physically strongest of the campers, excellent navigator, calm in all types of situations, quiet and introverted
Catie: 15 yo, 3rd year camper (BWCA/Quetico), logical and calm, extroverted, mentally tough, physically smallest of group
Ginger: 17 yo, 4th year camper (BWCA/Ontario), recovering drug addict, now sick with low grade fever and intense stomach pains and unable to walk.
Vera: 16 yo, 3rd year camper (BWCA), gets worried/upset fairly easily, weakest paddler
Ingrid: 16 yo, 3rd year camper (BWCA/Quetico), strong paddler and strong on portages, energetic extrovert, hard worker, not a decision maker
Bea: 16 yo, 3rd year camper (BWCA), quiet and introverted, not very physically strong on portages

3 canoes: Old Town Trippers (Royalex), 7 paddles, 7 PFDs
Food and supplies for 24 days in 6 packs (total weight...really heavy)
No SAT phone or radios.
Fully equipped wilderness 1st aid kit.
One 6-person tent, no tarp.
Multiple sets of maps and compasses.

Location: Ontario south of what is now Wabakimi Provincial Park (est. 1983).
Day 1: Group took a passenger train from Armstrong to Allanwater Bridge. Paddled/portaged for 8 hours downstream on the Allanwater River and set up camp. Allanwater River is class 2-3 with plenty of rapids and portages, and quiet pools in between.
Notes: The village of Allanwater Bridge is a small native community (pop. <100) that has no emergency services, doctors, or hospital. Motorboats are a common source of transportation around the town. Passenger train makes a stop every 2-3 days. Freight trains pass through at least once or more a day, but do not stop.

Challenge: Ginger has a history of drug abuse. She left rehab a week early to come on this trip. A few days before the group left for the big trip she OD’d on aspirin and was throwing up blood, but was cleared for the trip after seeing a doctor. At dinner time, she complains she isn’t hungry and doesn’t feel well. By 10 pm she is running a fever and complaining of intense stomach pains. She is moaning and crying throughout the night. She says she can't eat or drink. By morning, she says she can not walk due to the intense pain and still has a low grade fever (about 100 degrees).

What do you do?
Do you evacuate Ginger?
Do you take the whole group?
Do you split the group to be able to travel faster?
Who goes, who stays?
What do you bring?
How do you evacuate Ginger if she can’t walk?
If you evacuate her, how do you get her to a doctor as there are no roads out of Allanwater Bridge and no passenger train due for 2 days?

I will leave this scenario for awhile since there is not much traffic on this forum currently. Eventually I will post what ended up happening in real life.

Have fun!!!

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distinguished member(5271)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
03/23/2019 09:38PM  
Tough one. This will take some thought. Other than going upstream back to Allanwater bridge, how far downstream is the next possible takeout? There are also some roads to the east. Do they have people on them regularly?

Can you supply coordinates for where the group is at the end of the first day?

Here’s one possibility I would consider. I want to keep this group together. I’m going to head back with 7 people but only two canoes. I’m dumping a bunch of the food to save weight. Now we have three paddlers per canoe and enough spare hands on portage’s to carry her using a sleeping bag as a stretcher.

Another choice is to sit tight for a day and see if she gets better.

Another choice is just a speedy subgroup to go back for help. That assumes that there is some way for the help to get to the group in a way that aids evacuation. I don’t know the area and so am having trouble picturing it. My speedy subgroup is probably Barbie and Ingrid.

An issue I see with this whole team is only one adult leader and only one good navigator.
09/24/2019 01:06PM  
Interesting. Well first I am not going that far in with someone who just had these types of issues. I would be thinking appendicitis too.

I initially thought I would take Midge, Ingrid, Barbie, and Ginger and high tail out of there to the town as fast as possible. Leave Catie in charge and tell them to just hold out and that there is plenty of food. I'd have Midge and Barbie carry Ginger in that fireman carry. And Ingrid could carry the canoe. Get to the town, hope for the best, and get her on the train with Ingrid or if possible motor boat to a place where you can access a car. Possibly the village has a phone to get a hold of authorities to possibly get a plane or helicopter out. Then have Midge and Barbie return to the group. I feel you could move extremely fast this way. Hell they could even be back the next day if a plane was able to be sent out.

I like Andym's idea of keeping the group together but then you might be moving really slow compared to what you could be doing. The remaining 3 seem to have lots of experience and if there is a ton of food it isn't hard to hang out at camp and it is summer so it should be fairly warm.

The key would be getting her out as fast as possible and then thinking of the next step. Getting her to the village would be key and then talk to the people there and get their opinions if they have any as I am sure they probably have dealt with stuff too.
distinguished member(1763)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
10/08/2020 10:09PM  
So x2j was pretty close. And believe me, none of us had wanted to start the trip with Ginger in the state she was in, but we were overridden by a higher up.

So there we were. Midge made the decision to split the group. Most of the group stayed put with Catie in charge. Midge took Barbie and they high tailed it back upstream to Allanwater Bridge to seek assistance. By traveling light, they were able to get back upstream in just a few hours.

Two men offered their motorboat. They were familiar with the river and were able to run most of the river and were strong enough to get the motorboat over the few places requiring a portage. Midge, Barbie, and the men loaded Ginger into the motorboat for the trip back up river and helped carry her over the portages.

Once at the railroad, we flagged down the next train which was a freight train. Midge, Barbie, and Ginger went to Sioux Lookout. Arriving late at night, they had to wait until morning for a doctor. Ginger lied to the doctor about how she was feeling, claimed she was now fine (and her fever was gone). The doctor would not allow Midge to be in the exam room as a reality check. After waiting a day for a passenger train, they all returned to Allanwater Bridge and started back down the river. After about 30 minutes, Ginger admitted that she didn't want to do the trip and wanted to go home. So they all went back to the railroad to wait for the next passenger train to get Ginger to a town where someone could pick her up.

Midge and Barbie were gone about 4 days. The rest of the group did great waiting it out and have no idea what was taking so long. As mentioned, they had plenty of food since the trip had just started, and had the skills necessary to be safe. Catie kept everyone calm and confident that it would all work out.

Once reunited, the group continued on their way, minus Ginger, and had a great trip until...
they rounded a corner on a lake and one side of the lake was in flames. Another story for another day...
distinguished member(3144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/18/2021 10:11PM  
Thanks for keeping these rolling!
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