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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

Lost in Idaho

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
Today's vlog, perhaps more than some of my other recent ones, demands more of the viewer than usual. The reason: unlike Ocean City Selkie, which was leavened by my twin brother John's wonderful film making skills, or Crazy Little Thing in Indianapolis, which features no shortage of everybody's favorite human beverage dispensers in their most comely forms, today's film Lost in Idaho features neither cutting edge filming techniques nor the promise of vixens potentially going wild off camera with the likes of me. Which, of course, would only make it not only possible but likely they could be cajoled into going similarly wild with the likes of you.

Instead, today's film is devoted entirely to me preparing for my next magazine article, this one for Backpacker , a truly wonderful publication that, like me, has been nominated for multiple National Magazine Awards , but unlike me, has actually won more than one of these things.

My last article for Backpacker involved me spending a dank and sweltering summer in a hypoxic tent to simulate sleeping at an elevation of 11,000-12,000 feet, followed by an autumnal trip to Mt. Elbert, 2nd hightest peak in the continental US, and climb it. Anyone even slightly interested in reading my lowlander's account of this is invited to drop me a line at and I will send you the story in .pdf form for your vicarious amusement and education about HACE, HAPE, and HAFE (high altitude cerebral edema, high altitude pulmonary edema, and high altitude flatulence expulsion, respectively.)

Jim summits Mt. Elbert. Note: Photo is not to scale.

Making today's film even more challenging that its sheer length (Flip video cameras come with a little editing program that doesn't make it easy to trim out much detritus, I must say)....

... is the fact that it is told entirely in the plodding voice of me, Jim Thornton, who was described by both A) my University of Michigan academic counselor, and B) my Indian guide in the Amazon jungle in the same terms.

I found out about A) when a Freedom of Information Act dossier arrived at my door and I was able to read my counselor's heretofore confidential "recommendation" for me. This began, "You may be quick to dismiss Jim when you first talk to him, concluding he is retarded. He is actually rather bright but suffers from a severe speech impediment..."

I found out about B) when I heard Javier tell his brother Stalin something in Spanish, and when I demanded Stalin translate it, he said, sheepishly, "My brother say you talk like slow child."

Anyhow, please bear with this, and I offer you a money back guarantee that you will find the logistical preparations of a world class professional paid adventurer like Mathiesson or me to be quite eye-opening.

Let me check now to see if YouTube is finished processing this nine-minute extravaganza, at which point I will let my spoken words speak for themselves....

No, still processing. Soon, very soon, we can all enjoy.

Hum dee dum dee dum. Let me see. Hmmm....

I know, let me say a word about swimming.

On Wednesday, I did the most butterfly by far in a single practice than I have done in probably 5-7 years: a total of 700 yards worth. I am thinking that since I know what my times for freestyle are in the speed suits, and since the speed suits are looking to go away, I will use this year to reinvent myself as a butterflier. My times here have always been pathetic, so I won't know the difference.

I hope this makes sense. But if it doesn't, don't worry. You have nine more minutes of enjoyable sense, or possibly nonsense, to go!

And on this note, I present
Lost in the Woods
[ame=""]YouTube - Jim: Lost in the Woods[/ame]

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  1. The Fortress's Avatar
    Why do you need "gear" to peregrinate? A purist wouldn't use "gear."

    I would be horrible on such a peregrination. I absolutely abhor getting lost.
  2. jim thornton's Avatar
    I have been lost so long that I don't know what it would be like to be found.

    I am actually rather scared to think I might be.

    Leslie, Chris posted more about body suit possibilities, sorry i didn't respond earlier, but like Sargeant Shultz, I know nothingk!
  3. billwhite's Avatar
    What has the world come to? Leslie thinks you don't need gear!? Next thing you know she'll be using a lycra suit at meets.

    I do need to relay the following information: Liam thinks you need to take some steel-wool and a couple of triple A batteries so you can start a fire
    if necessary.

    I think you need to take a decent backpack with you with perhaps some better gear.

    Is the butter knife so that the bear can spread some berry based bbq sauce on you while it dines on Ribs a la Jim?
  4. poolraat's Avatar
    Jimby I think you're going to get lucky and have some great weather. Forecast for next week out here is sunny with temps in the 80's during the day and 40's at night. It will be a little cooler in the mountains but at least you won't freeze.

    Now all you have to worry about is griz and renegade Indians.
  5. RustyScupperton's Avatar
    One of the greatest films ever made about exploration. Brud, the frontier that you must explore is none other than the limits of human courage. To watch you talk about eating that creature you love SO MUCH, Lefty, and keeping it together while doing so, not a single tear was shed, well sir, to me, that is the essence of human bravery. Godspeed!
  6. jim thornton's Avatar
    Heroic? No.

    Worried? No.

    Ribmeat for bears? Could be.

    Thanks for all your well wishes and adulation that borders on the worshipful.

    I don't deserve it.

    I am no hero.

    Not really.

    The real heros are you who stay at home, where it's safe, going to swimming practice, keeping my memory alive here on the forums, praying for my deliverance from the fat-and-liver fiends out there, from griz's to skunks, who want nothing more than a Gary Cooper kind of guy like me to wander with our Leatherman ripoff products into their midst.

    Well, I may not know much about the woods.

    I may not know much about "protecting" myself against "dangers" and "starvation" and "expired batteries on my emergency beacon."

    But I do know that a Phillips head screw driver is the one with four little things on the end.


    I am pretty sure I do know this much.

    Don't worry about me.

    Save your worry for guys in over their heads.
  7. Bobinator's Avatar
    Dear Mr. Thornton,

    Emma Rose Walker/Day has notified me that no Pug cannibalism will be tolerated in or near the confines of the Brookshire Swimmers Hostel. No person participating in any such activities shall be allowed to enter.
    Please consider this warning and perhaps take a Golden Retriever or something!


    The Mayor of Brookshire
  8. poolraat's Avatar
    Good one Robin. He's too small to make much of a meal anyway. Jim needs a St Bernard or some other big dog.
  9. jim thornton's Avatar
    I was joking. I could never, never eat Lefty. No I couldn't! Wooshy wooshy who can't ever eat Lefty, Woooshsy wooshy, I can't eat Lefty.

    I could, however, probably do auto eye surgery in a pinch.

    Floyd, you are around those Idaho parts. I found out the general area where i being abandoned: the Frank Church River of No Return.

    Have you heard of it?
  10. poolraat's Avatar
    The Frank Church Wilderness is in east central Idaho. Very remote area. You'll have fun being lost there. Don't have to worry about griz, though. Here's a short paragraph about the other wildlife you may encounter.

    "Because of its size the wilderness area provides a secluded habitat for a wide variety of mammal species, including some rare, vulnerable species. The wilderness is inhabited by a large population of mountain lions, and grey wolves that visit the area. Populations of black bears, as well as: lynx, coyote, and red fox are scattered throughout the area. While this area has been deemed as one of the few remaining areas in the continental U.S. with suitable habitat for grizzly bears, no established populations are known to exist. The wilderness also offers some of the most critical habitat for wolverines in the lower 48 states."

    You're going next Friday, right? When do you come back to Boise?
  11. jim thornton's Avatar
    Friday into Boise; the following Friday out of Boise.

    Boise on the sides.

    Wouldn't it be ironic if i were killed by a wolverine?

    Thanks for the info, Floyd. Mountain lions strategy--look big and don't let them get you on the ground, right?
  12. poolraat's Avatar
    Aren't you a Wolverine? Maybe that will give you a free pass. lol

    Never had an encounter with a cat although I've heard them at night a few times when I've been in the mountains.