MagazineDecember 2011High Five: December Outdoor News of the Weird

High Five: December Outdoor News of the Weird

1. Cycling Showdown – Elizabethton, Tenn.

Biking, parenting, police, public safety. Oh my! A mother in Elizabethton, Tenn., was threatened with arrest for allowing her 10-year-old daughter to ride her bike to school. The officer stated the road from the child’s house to the school was too dangerous to ride on and informed  Teresa Tyron she would be arrested for child neglect if she continued to allow it. Obviously, the case has anyone with an opinion and/or a bike (in other words, everyone) chiming in to criticize our police state, transportation funds, overprotective culture, and childhood obesity. The real question is this: Why are the roads between the girl’s house and the school—less than a mile—unsafe to ride a bike on?

2. Life Imitating Art Imitating Life – Concord, N.C.

Amos Wayne Richards, 64, was so inspired by the movie 127 Hours that he decided to retrace the fateful steps of Aron Ralston, except it only took 72 hours. Richards was hiking alone in Little Blue Canyon in the Utah desert when he fell and broke his ankle. Fortunately, Richards did not feel the need to cut off said ankle with a Swiss Army knife, as Ralston was forced to do with his hand in 2003. Richards was able to retrace his steps on hands and knees for four days before being rescued by Canyonlands National Park rangers and their helicopter. Richards was treated for his injuries and dehydration in Moab before returning to North Carolina to recover. No word on whether he will attempt to make a movie about his ordeal.

3. Too Urban for Gardening – Memphis, Tenn.

A Memphis math teacher is in court battling for custody of his…garden. Adam Guerrero was ordered to dismantle his garden under city ordinance and cited for creating a public nuisance for vegetable growing, beehive keeping, worm feeding, biofuel producing, compost making, student educating, and soap manufacturing in his backyard. Following a public outcry fueled by social media (what do you know? It works!), a judge backed off the harsh language and ordered Guerrero to tidy the garden up. The orders mainly consisted of mosquito control. On the plus side, the city is now looking for vacant land where Guerrero can begin a community garden.

4. Teach a Man to Fish… – Richland, Pa.

Limestone Springs Preserve faced a slippery situation when their inventory went out with the wash, literally. Flooding in eastern Pennsylvania caused the preserve’s quarry to overflow, sending their stock of rainbow trout into nearby rivers. Workers in wetsuits also flooded the rivers attempting to bait the freed fish and scoop them up with nets. Limestone estimates that $400,000 worth of trout (that’s a lotta fish!) made a break for it during the flooding, which also caused millions of dollars in damage around Pa. Unfortunately for the preserve, word of the jailbreak spread quickly. Fishermen from around the region flocked to the area in their own attempt to “rescue” the fish—right into the frying pan.

5. Winging It – Fayetteville, W.Va.

BASE jumping has come a long way since Pelky and Shubert jumped off El Capitan; with new technology, wingsuits, Ski BASE and the like it seems like the sky is the limit, literally. But one man likes to keep it old school. Floridian Christopher Brewer astonished onlookers by jumping off West Virginia’s New River Gorge Bridge without a functioning parachute. His parachute did not fully open, and Brewer hit the river at an estimated speed of 80 miles per hour. Crisis was averted, however, as this modern day, inverse Icarus suffered only a pelvic fracture and unspecified spinal and lung injuries following his 876-foot belly flop. Authorities say the wingsuit he was wearing may have helped slow his descent, but no word on if a cannonball or jackknife would have limited his injuries.


Places to Go, Things to See: