The Darwin Awards 
HOME
Darwin Awards
At-Risk Survivors
Slush Pile
1994 Darwins
Sizzling Scaffolding
Auto Blotto
Convince the Jury
Where's the Shoot? Where's the Chute?
Historic Darwins
Mortal Insult
Tired Ammo
Bottom of the Barrel
Absolutely Radiant
Risky Reenactment
Conquering the Arch
Cactus Crunch
Train of Thought
Catapult to Glory
Short Circuit
A Breathtaking View
Mile-High Club Failure
Kung Fu Lion
Military Intelligence
Antlers Ahoy!
"Hazard Befell Him"
Guitars 'n' Guns
Dry Spell
Junk Food Junkie
Electric Bathtub Blues
Samurai Astronomer
Physics Lesson
Gunpowder-Guy Fawkes
Other Darwin Years 
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 Vintage
 
~ Random Story ~
Email Alert!
NEW! Gift Shop
Rules  Search
Contact Darwin
Submit a Story
Philosophy Forum
Home

  

Darwin Awards
1993 Darwin Awards
Email a Friend Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it. Next Prev Random

 
 
Dry Spell
1991 Darwin Award Nominee
Confirmed True by Darwin

(26 July 1991) Patrick lived to rue the day he planned a record-breaking 20-mile hike across the Badwater Salt Flats, the hottest place on earth. He completed 19.5 miles of his hike before collapsing on the scorching ground, never to rise again. Found with his body were a video camera and an empty three-quart water pouch.

The China Lake Rescue team located Patrick's parched body on his forty-first birthday, nearly two weeks after he set out on his desert hike. He was found only a half mile from his red Toyota truck, where gallons of fresh water waited on the seat. Patrick, a healthy 165-pound outdoorsman, had been dehydrated to 90 pounds by the blistering heat. What brought Patrick to such a sad state of desiccation?

Badwater routinely attracts extremists enticed by the lure of running a 150-mile course from Badwater to Mount Whitney, from the lowest point in North America to the highest point in the contiguous United States. Occasional brave souls attempt the one-way hike across Badwater to meet waiting friends and refill their water bottles. Only Patrick, our Darwin Award candidate, tried to make the trek alone with only three quarts of water.

According to District Ranger Mark Maciha, Badwater is consistently five to ten degrees hotter than nearby Furnace Creek, which registered a high of 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. The summer sunshine heats the ground to almost 200 degrees, and the parched air approaches zero percent humidity. No rational explanation can be found for why this lifelong fitness fanatic failed to take sufficient water with him on his hike into this harsh climate. An estimated twelve quarts of water would have been required to survive the exertion of plodding through muddy salt.

Murder was ruled out by the autopsy, and suicide seems unlikely, as it was his third attempt to complete the trek. The most compelling theory is that he wanted to set the record for being the first man to make an unassisted round-trip hike across Badwater. A friend confides that he purposely kept rangers ignorant of his intentions because he knew they would watch over him.

And extra water is just so heavy!

Before his doomed hike, he boasted to several friends that he had calculated the exact amount of water he would need, and to save weight, he would take not a single drop more. In a lamentable miscalculation he carried only three quarts of water, which were simply insufficient to see him through to the other side.

Dr. Milton Jones theorized after the autopsy that Patrick may have sat down to rest with his truck within sight, but had lost so much body fluid that his heart was unable to pump the unnaturally viscous blood to his brain. He lapsed into unconsciousness and died.

Patrick was a healthy outdoorsman with an extensive knowledge of the desert. His father recalled, "He spent money on only two things: electronic equipment and going to the desert."

The video camera found by his body chronicles the first half of Patrick's hike before the batteries died. It ended with his haunting observation, "The only problem is that we have to hike back... This is the real world. One false move, and you're dead."

DarwinAwards.com © 1994 - 2012
Submitted by: Andrew Stuart
Reference: Los Angeles Magazine

Awful? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Great?
Hate it! Love it!
Previous Directions Next

The Darwin Awards Gift Shop

The Darwin Awards Condom

Keep yourself out of the gene pool!
A condom in a matchbook, useful for emergency contraception, bachelor parties, frat parties, and important rites of passage. LOADED inside and out with funny quotes and stories. Everyone loves this item!
Friends don't let friends reproduce!
$13 for Pack of 4

 

 

HomeRulesFAQsAwardsSlushSite Map
DarwinAward | HonorableMention | PersonalAccount | UrbanLegend