Move one step at a time
by Ashley Thompson
Admit it, every time you take a hike or see a picture of wilderness you picture yourself naked with a flint. I KNOW YOU DO!! Now you don’t have to because Naked and Afraid is back!
This time we are back in Belize after a massive hurricane that has devastated the area. The wildlife has fled, which means less food for the survivors, and the rivers are overflowing with dangerous debris. The only things that remain are rain and the most threatening animals… big cats, alligators and the always present fleur de lance (which has enough venom to kill 32 humans). Nevertheless, the survivalists make the decision to start their challenge.
Lacey is a 30 year old gun store owner, wife and mom. She grew up on an island without electricity or running water in Maine. Dad was a hunter, Mom was an herbalist. It’s no surprise she brought with her a machete and a PSR of 7.1.Jason is a 44 year old retired Sheriff from California. He has worked in undercover narcotics, SWAT, and has trapped and hunted his entire life. He’s mostly looking for a mental challenge during this experience and we think he’s going to get just that. He brings along mosquito netting and a PSR of 6.8.
To start their journey, Lacey jumps into a swiftly flowing river, getting swept away immediately. What a waste of energy. Then Jason gets such a sever sunburn that he gets a headache, fever, and vomiting. Or was it the “clean” water they found? In their defense, it was cold, spring-fed, water so it probably was clean. Plus, Lacey isn’t sick. Gotta be the sunburn. A fan of swimming, Lacey crosses the river once again, but this time the risk vs reward ended in pure reward. She found the gumbo limbo tree, used by the Mayans for thousands of years for skin inflammation. Goodbye pesky sunburns.
After using chewed up food for bait, they end up with several minnows. Add that to the small tomatoes on a stick and you’ve got a nice kabob. It’s not much for a man used to consuming 5,000 calories a day. And for some reason Jasons’ feet are extremely swollen when we wakes the next morning. Apparently hot environments can cause painful swelling in the feet and ankles. Yeah, all the pregnant women know this fact already. But Lacey isn’t letting her big, burly man give up and tap out so she’s off to hunt for rodents. Unfortunately, something is hunting her, too. Not this time, big cat.
It’s Day 11 and Jason can’t help but feel guilty that he’s not pulling this weight. Lacey feels the same and her frustration is starting to show. At night Jason’s joints get worse and Lacey knows that when she wakes up she’ll have more nursing to do. They finally call the medics and consider his edema so severe that he has to be transferred to a hospital to replace his minerals to prevent for intestinal paralysis. Whoa. Jason completely breaks down with apology but what could he have done?
Unfortunately for Lacey, she is alone in a torrential downpour that collapse her river cabana (not her shelter) and washes away her footpaths. With the water murky and swollen, she’s just not safe near the water. And when the rain refuses to stop, she is forced to lay in her shelter for over 40 hours, cold and wet. The images of her family keep running through her head and she is considering ending her journey early to go home. Mostly because she has realized that being only a mom brought her here, but being a mom is what she wants to return to most.
Somehow she makes it to extraction day. Now she must muster the energy to cross the river once again, but since the river current is so fast she is fastening a raft. Then she must trek through the jungle to her extraction point. Good thing she just ate some turtle for protein and energy. Enough, actually, to run!
Lacey is 19 pounds down and deserves every bit of her 8.2 PSR. We don’t actually get to learn about Jason’s PSR score after having to tap out early.