Guy Walks 46 Miles in Minus-35 Cold
'He had been drinking,' says Alaska police officer
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 5, 2015 4:50 PM CST

(Newser) – An Alaska man who attempted to walk 50 miles between two villages at 35 below zero was found in good shape 4 miles from his goal by searchers called by his family. Lawrence James, 52, wore heavy winter gear and carried water and a .22-caliber rifle. He walked nonstop for 15 hours and told searchers he didn't get cold on the long stroll between Birch Creek and Fort Yukon, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports. James left Birch Creek at about 7pm Monday and spoke to Fort Yukon Police Officer Michael Ivie on Tuesday when he was found. "When I asked him why he did it, he said that a cousin of his did it a few years back and he thought he'd try to see if he could do it," says. "I told him, 'More power to you, buddy,' but that's not something I think I'd want to try."

James' family alerted law enforcement in part because he was not completely sober. "He had been drinking," Ivie says. "Not a whole lot, he wasn't drunk. He had a couple of drinks. He said if he had to do it all over again, he would have probably picked a different time. He said his last drink kind of gave him that urge, that oomph." The cold temperatures clinched the decision to search, but he could have also "been trampled by a moose or (attacked by) wolves," says Ivie. James' rifle would not be effective against a moose or predator, notes Ivey, but he adds that James "could have shot a couple of ptarmigans to eat." James told Ivie he felt fine during his walk, but acknowledged his legs were hurting after 15 hours. "That's understandable, he'd just walked 50 miles," Ivie says.