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fireman
Member

Post Number: 185
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Saturday, October 8, 2011 - 7:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

After lengthy research on this website and co-ordinating drivers, supplies, three of us headed north after meeting in Coldwater on Sept. 17th.
We left a vehicle at the local fire station (after pre-paying the Chief's breakfast at the local greasy spoon) and headed up the #400 with a 1988 Toyota Forerunner pulling a canoe trailer and three canoes with all of our packs.
We made Sudbury and picked up a UofL student who would bring our vehicle back and leave it at LakeLand Lodge- our eventual take-out.

Our put-in was Gervais Rd. and the Sturgeon River. Although a long drive, the directions I was given on this forum were excellent. We made it in exactly the estimated time.
four of us ( with the student) paddled down to Twin Falls on a perfect sunny day and made camp.
the next day, Sunday, three more of our crew with an additional UofL student driver arrived at the same put-in. The two students would take both vehicles to LakeLand and drive back to Sudbury in one of them. Great plan. What could go wrong?

To start- my closest friend told us on our way up his father-in-law had just died and his wife was flying to Nova Scotia. He was worried about his 16 year-old daughter being alone for a week. We pleaded with him to stay, but Sunday morning he paddled back to the put-in with the student, met the others as they arrived and drove with the two students and headed back to the GTA. We were now five. We went with a Desmoine and a Yukon. One guy riding princess. we cached two barrels of food and some extra gear in a pack at the site as our route was coming back this way after a week. we have never had a problem with leaving a cache in Temagami.
Our company was as follows...
Myself-an experienced paddler and tripper and ex-military. I love the outdoors and crave a bit of adversity.
My cousin- same story but not army. tough as nails and smart
A 25 year-old Brit who had just spent the entire summer carrying canoes for campers at Camp Arowon in Algonquin
A 25 year-old, recently discharged Israeli infantry officer who had come to Canada for a wilderness adventure and was game and tough as nails.
A 40 year-old Firefighter from my own crew who was eager to come along, asked a lot about partying at night and declared he was up for anything but had a problem with getting wet.

You can imagine.

We left on the Monday, just as the rain started. We went east through to Solace, pouring rain the entire time. The portages were fine, we marked them with tape where there was no sign.
We pulled into Solace in the constant rain and made for the fishing camp on the island. No one was there and we slept on the tent platforms under our tarp. I should mention we do not use tents and we did not bring a stove of any kind.
It rained all night and our boy, Jason (the firefighter) was unhappy about his wet shoes and the weather. The next day, we departed in the rain hoping to make Florence Lake. It was a nine hour paddle, with a brief stop for lunch at a portage. two cooked while three carried the boats and packs over.
We made Florence as it was getting dark. The only people we saw in nine days were set up on the nice campsite in the south end of Florence. with no options, we headed for the campsite on the isthmus- the haunted hunt cabin/burial ground.
it was OK. The people from the campsite were there checking it out. They had flown in for eight days to Florence with their son and incredibly yappy dog.
We got up Wednesday morning and set off north for Gamble Lake, in the rain.
The rain intensified although water levels were lower than I have ever seen them. so, lots of getting out of the boat on the Florence and Lady Evelyn Rivers. Jason took his shoes off to try and dry them as he rode princess. He did not think that he would have to walk the boulders while the other two tracked the boat through the low river. he was pussyfooting along the rocks. I could have killed him. he was also enquiring as to when we would be camping,eating and getting dry.

We got to Chance Lake, just south of Gamble and chose a campsite a bit more sheltered than Gamble. It was pouring. Our Israeli had spent two weeks in England doing a survival course and could get a fire going in any conditions. A good guy to have. Our Brit carried every single portage without complaint. We were soaked, demoralized, but OK.
It stormed all night, but we slept OK under our tarp. In the morning, it was raining for a change.
Jason, who at this point had yet to portage a canoe, announced that his back had spasmed and he could not portage. we were scheduled to do the big crossover to Smoothwater that day. Obviously, out of the question now.

What would you have done? We had somewhat of a medical emergency. It could get a lot worse. Jason could walk with pain. Going back to Twin Falls was ruled out as too arduous. Going forward was out. North lead nowhere.
We decided to go down river, down the North Channel and out to Camp Wanapatei via Diamond Lake and Lake Temagami. I was pretty sure there would be people there that weekend.
We went down river and stopped in the early afternoon to camp just up stream from those six closely placed portages before Macpherson Lake.
The sun came out for a bit and our Israeli caught two beautiful speckled trout for dinner.
We only had three days of food left and were pretty sure it would take four days to get to Ferguson Bay, so we needed to stretch the larder.
It began raining again off and on. We set out the next morning headed for Center Falls and made it by five in the afternoon. We camped and the rain came and went all night.
In the morning, we set off for Diamond Lake, taking the crossover from Willow Island Lake. It rained as we made Diamond Lake, heavily. We decided to keep going until it stopped. We made it to the campsite just east of Sharp Rock when the skies finally cleared and the sun came out. We dried our gear, made dinner and hoped for the best. The next morning, a heavy fogged had rolled in. everything that was dry was now soaked. We packed up quickly and made for Camp Wanapatei.
We pulled up under sunny skies just after noon. There were people about. the Trent University/Wanapatei Weekend was just wrapping up.
we asked about hitching a ride to North Bay and asked to use the phone. We phoned our sixth guy and told him to start driving to North Bay as we had no vehicle and no way to get our car and trailer at Lakeland Lodge. We met in North Bay at five p.m. Things were looking up. A quick drink at the Kelseys and off to LakeLand Lodge to pick up the Toyota.
All went well. The four guys headed back to Coldwater to pick up the other vehicle and then home to Toronto. I stayed with the Israeli at a motel on highway 17 in Sudbury, agreeing to go back up to the Gervais Rd. and gather up the cache. A three hour drive from our motel given morning traffic to Capreol and construction.
A beautiful day. We made good time, got in our canoe and paddled down to the campsite.
we went to the cache and found nothing but beer cans shredded by a very angry, well fed bear.
Everything was gone. Both olive barrels, the pack, the bottle of Scotch. All we found was garbage from other campers left before us. We searched for almost an hour and headed back...hungry with a canoe full of garbage. We loaded the canoe, found the last bit of food in our kitchen pack and headed south.
An explosion occurred under our vehicle about 40 kms. in. we limped into Capreol, wired a sensor back onto the exhaust, filled the gas and oil and headed south.
the car was losing power and oil pressure. I made it to Parry Sound for dinner. I live in kimberley, ontario, about 250 kms away. my roadside assistance is good for 200 kms.
It was looking like a head gasket situation.
We started out spewing blue smoke and had no power....other than prayer.
We finally pulled over at MacTier. A local stopped so I could use his phone to call for a tow. They were happy to come but the canoe trailer would be an additional $500 to tow home. Buddy took it to his home in MacTier for me. The two truck was two hours getting to us. We arrived home at 1:00 a.m. Tuesday morning exhausted.
We had to leave to lead high school students in Killarnery two days later so we had to get to the school to help get the gear ready. The Toyota Forerunner belongs to one of the teachers we were heading out with to Killarney. He was cool about it. He gave me the most screwed up 18 year-old boy for eight days. I consider we are even for the car damage now.

Anyway, the lessons learned??? Never be complacent about caches. We were idiots not taking the time to protect it better.
More importantly, beware the heavy logistic trips. The potential for disaster is much greater. A simple loop would have made life a lot easier. Having said that, had Jason not hurt his back, we would have found no food food for the rest of our trip. A much bigger problem. So, the real lesson, avoid 40 year-old firemen who say they want to go canoeing. I felt like I was at work the whole time as I am his officer. I visited my firehall and the other captain in the hall just shook his headed and wondered what I thought would happen.
anyway, Killarney was beautiful beyond description.
Cheers, JR
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alscool
Moderator

Post Number: 350
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Saturday, October 8, 2011 - 9:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

So the bear ate the contents of the barrels?
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fireman
Member

Post Number: 186
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Saturday, October 8, 2011 - 10:20 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

the bear ate the contents of two 20 litre olive barrels stuffed with vacuum sealed smoked bacon, sausage, cheese, granola, oatmeal and sundry other goodies. He also snagged a nalgene of really good single malt Scotch. As to the pack, it had some fresh-scented underwear and socks, a spare tarp and a plastic jar of hot chocolate powder.
if you see a drunken, fat bear with a Toronto Fire toque on his head....that's our boy.
he ripped apart and partially consumed a 24 case of Alexander Keith's, as well. All in all, a good day for the bear. Someday the bear with get you...some day you'll get the bear!
I am amazed at our stupidity as concerns the cache. Truth is, I was so demoralized by the departure of my friend (the whole trip was predicated on him and I going together, long before the other four joined in) I was barely paying attention to the storing of the cache and never checked it out myself. Oh well. A rather expensive expedition but a lot of lessons learned the hard way.
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 1099
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Saturday, October 8, 2011 - 12:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Well fireman the good news is that you all got back alive.

I recall a mid- September trip several years ago with my oldest daughter up through Obabika up to the Lady Evelyn River to Florence and out through Pinetorch to Wakimika to get back to our start point. The trip was for 12 days and it rained heavily at times for 12 days. And it was cold to boot.Even the dog was cold.

If it is any consolation, while you were sitting in the rain, I was less than 50 kliks away.... sitting in the rain.
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fireman
Member

Post Number: 187
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Saturday, October 8, 2011 - 4:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Ed, good to hear from you. It is not the rain I dislike. In fact, I like the challenge to get cozy in spite of the rain. It is the constant distraction of the pointless and endless questions from the one guy in the group who should not have been there and it was my fault for inviting him. It is supposed to be my vacation. Rain, no problem. Suffering a lily-dipping, coddled fool....therein lies the greater challenge. Which I failed to a certain degree. However, there is self-discovery in all things and it was beautiful up there. the colours came out towards the end of the week.

It is hard to explain to someone the difference between Killarney in the autumn and Temagami. so many similarities and yet, completely different experiences. Killarney feels like you are travelling through a beautiful postcard or diorama. Temagami feels like nature.
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bush_pilot
Member

Post Number: 204
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Saturday, October 8, 2011 - 9:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Fireman, thanks for the great story, but once again please don't be shy about requesting a medivac, believe me I've flown out people with much less than back spasms. Florence Lake is only a 25 minute flight from Sudbury. Also we do need the rain, I was over the Groundhog River earlier this week and it is almost dry! Too bad you weren't out this week,26 degrees today!!
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 1100
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Sunday, October 9, 2011 - 8:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Bush pilot:
How much space do you need to land?
Most of the area where we would need to evacuate someone from, is heavy bush.
The Medi-vac machines seem to be on wheels, which would need a pretty level solid landing spot while struts might allow for something not so solid like a couple of logs placed strategically. Also they don't appear to have winches do they?

So what are your requirements for landing/ picking up a casualty from a heavily forested/swampy area?

How does one access Ornge as I don't think we can do so through 911?
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bush_pilot
Member

Post Number: 205
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 - 7:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Ed
Yes the helicopters are on wheels but that is really not a consideration, in over 24 years of EMS I can't think of a single time when having wheels prevented us from landing, in fact under certain conditions they are actually a benefit. As far as landing sites go we need about 60 feet for the main rotor and on the new aircraft the blades are 10 feet above the ground so they will easily clear small trees and shrubs. Canoeists are always on a lake or river so we can hang the tail out over the water which means we only need a spot for the main rotor, small islands,logging roads, floating bogs and beaches have all served as landing sites in the past, remember if it is very soft ground we can keep power on so that not all of the aircraft weight has to be supported by the wheels. I haven't tried but I'm pretty sure we could land on the cabin beach on Florence, if not it wouldn't take much to knock down a few trees. Not that I'm suggesting that I'm merely using that as an example, and hey if it is a medical emergency...Also you would be surprised at the landing opportunities that are not visible form the ground but are from the air.
As far as who to contact I would suggest you call 911 in the Temagami area, you will probably get North Bay ambulance dispatch and they will contact us, also the OPP dispatch will also be able to contact our dispatch. Finally, no we do not have a hoist, I'm guessing but probably for liability reasons, too bad.
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fireman
Member

Post Number: 188
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 9:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Bush Pilot,

small world, Brother. A long time ago in a distant country, I was Combat Search and Rescue for the Israeli Air Force. We did have a cable, though. you are absolutely right. A chopper pilot can touch a skid or wheel down on a beaver's head if need be. plus, one foot off the ground is the same as landing.
my question is: for a stick in the mud "old school" tripper like myself, how do I contact you??
i have no phone, no spot, no satellite phone.
Would a really big fire and an SOS in rocks do the trick???
Further to that, who exactly do you work for? Are you ministry of health like BandAidOne, under contract to them, or independent and/or volunteer.
It has always struck me as strange and sad that a province as large as ours has so few SAR choppers and small planes. My sense is the litigation gets in the way.
If I may express one small political opinion on this page it is this....
Before our Federal Government spends upwards of 70 BILLION $'s (low estimate by some) on the latest Luke Skywalker F-35 Tactical Moneypit Fighter Jet....would it not make a bit more sense to maybe buy two less and supply every province with a nice Messerschmitt Rescue/MedEvac or even a used Bell 205 chopper?
I figure every Coast Guard Station in the country should have a land/sea chopper capable of inland and sea rescue, before we worry about bombing Libya back into the last century.

|My days flying around in choppers are some of the most intense experiences of my life. There is nothing like being in the dark with nothing more than a radio and hearing those chopper blades coming in low from far away. Chopper pilots and small plane rescue/spotters have always struck me as having one hand on the controls and two feet on the ground if you know what I mean. |Most of the jet jockeys I knew were a little too far up in the sky to appreciate the game on the ground.
So, thanks for being there, good to know you are available. I guess I should get myself some hardware if I want to be responsible. In Killarney we had satellite phones which I guess work pretty well. I resent carrying anything that doesn't do three tasks. Do they make a phone with a can opener attachment???

Cheers, three green lights all the way, man.
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 1101
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 10:18 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks for your response Bush Pilot. Most of us are not anticipating needing your services, but it is good to know what your capabilities and requirements are.

I have seen your machine flying around quite a bit in the Temagami area and I notice that you seem to have a new one.Or perhaps it is an old one with a new colour scheme?

Fireman:
For more info on Ornge capabilities go to:
http://www.ornge.ca/Pages/Default.aspx
or
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornge
has some history of air ambulance services on it.


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bush_pilot
Member

Post Number: 206
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 11:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Fireman
A long time ago I was a fireman (MNR on the ground and in the air)I love to trip old school as well (making a new wanigan as we speak)just not nearly as much as I would like to. As far as contacting us goes a large fire/ lots of smoke, will always attract attention.In Killarney a hike to the top of one of the ridges and you should get cell coverage.
Currently the pilots work for a private company on long term contract with the provence, soon we will be absorbed into the huge beuracracy that is ornge. I love your idea of old 205's for SAR I would be the first to sign up!
Ed between Temagami, Georgian Bay, Killarney and Algonquin we easily fly out on average a dozen people every year and we love to do it, it is a challenge that lets us use our skills.

(Message edited by Bush Pilot on October 11, 2011)
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fireman
Member

Post Number: 189
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 2:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

So is there still BandAidOne, or is that now part of ORNGE??
This is cool stuff. My daughter has just applied to the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and this is exactly what she is interested in, along with emergency medicine and obstetrics. I sent her the link, thanks. Great work you guys do. The organ stuff is pretty cool. Gift of Life has offices near my hall. Nice people, amazing service. cheers, man.
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lost_canoe
Member

Post Number: 20
Registered: 03-2010
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 8:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi Fireman,

Ahhh Man.... that's to bad about your trip. I know personally about how a trip can turn into an emergency in seconds.

I was the one who needed to be evac'd out on my trip 2 years ago on Wolf Lake. First day of the trip too!! To this day I'm still mad at myself for my supidity and ruining the trip for everyone. I fell off the lil' cliff at the campsite (the large high rock site on the east side) onto the rocks below. With a Large gash on the back of my head, slurred speach and the most intense pain in my back that I had ever felt, my wife sent the other 2 guys out back to Matagamasi for help. I had 2 backcounrty paramedics with their argos, 2 reg paramedics and 2 of the cottage association guys with their atv's and a boat & motor all which drove down to the Dewdney/Wolf portage and came and got me out by boat on a foggy lake at about 1:30am.

I was told by my friends that it took some time for the backcountry paramedics to figure out who's jurisdiction this was, regional or municipal. I can't recall who won the rights but their zodiac was being used elsewhere so the cottage assoctiation guy said I have a boat & motor, lets go!!!

Hey Bush Pilot, My friends said they heard that a helicopter was almost called in from Trenton. Whould that be right?? It was to foggy that night for one.

All I can say is that I'm glad for people like you "Bush Pilot" and all others who do this for us!!! Thanks to all and anyone who helps. I applaud you all!!! And thanks for them skills you have.

Fireman, Being complacent caused my accident. Don't be so hard on youself, not worth it!! I dealt with that a lot afterwards and it ate me up. Deep down I'm still mad at myself but over all I'm ok about it and you just learn to laugh at it. That helps sometimes.
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bush_pilot
Member

Post Number: 207
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 9:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Lost
Yes at times Trenton is called out, we can't land in the bush at night but they can, they have night vision goggles and a hoist. Too bad we couldn't come to get you, Wolf lake is only a 4 minute flight from our base. I also have a great story about that very cliff you fell off of, another time perhaps.
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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 140
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 12:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

yeah, thanks for putting that out there bush pilot. i always assumed you couldn't be medevaced out unless you were on a big lake. i remember once seeing a guy with a broken leg at katherine lake. he was with 3 other people, had an improvised splint on the leg and was using an inverted paddle as a crutch, heading south on the north channel!
now if i see that again i'll know what to advise! (or if it happens to me.)
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micmac
Member

Post Number: 128
Registered: 12-2005


Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 10:46 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

bush_pilot wrote:
" I also have a great story about that very cliff you fell off of, another time perhaps."

No... Tell it now...! We're all curious...
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bush_pilot
Member

Post Number: 208
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Friday, October 14, 2011 - 12:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

This is a story about Wolf lake that I posted in an aviation forum a few years back.
}In the early '80's I had the great privilege of flying with Rusty Blakey, at the time he was considered the oldest commercial pilot in Canada. Rusty learned to fly in an open cockpit Waco in the 1940's with Austin Airways, needles to say a fascinating man.

Just after freeze up Rusty asked me to accompany him on a flight into a small lake to help unload two 45's of gas for a diamond drill. Snow cover on the lake was very thin.

On final to the lake we noticed that snow cover was very patchy with large areas of glare ice. Rusty reduced speed as much as possible, but soon after touchdown it was apparent that we were not slowing down, the skis made a horrible sound on the bare ice. Without enough room to overshoot, very large hills surround this lake, I was sure we were about to slowly slide into the low rock cliff directly in front of us, with 90 gallons of gas directly behind us to boot!

Rusty pushed in full right rudder, slowly the Beaver started to turn, for a brief moment sliding sideways before eventually turning completely backwards. I remember thinking that at least the drums would no longer be behind us as we slammed into the rock. Rusty however was thinking of other things, at that moment he smoothly applied full throttle, reverse thrust gently bringing us to a stop.

I looked over at him and asked if that was his plan all along and with a twinkle in his eye he only smiled. What a guy!

Thursten "Rusty" Blakey 1911 - 1986
Member - Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame
Member - Order of Canada



(Message edited by Bush Pilot on October 14, 2011)
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alscool
Moderator

Post Number: 352
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Friday, October 14, 2011 - 2:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Cheers to Rusty!
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 1103
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Friday, October 14, 2011 - 2:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

grncnu:
I just noticed your post above about the guy with the broken leg on Katherine lake.
Float planes can land on Katherine and Lakeland could have done an EVAC.I think there is some arrangement with Ontario Ministry of Health whereby they get reimbursed for Emergency medical air lifts when other equipment or services are not readily available.

Katherine also has a very large open campsite located on the south shore about 1/2 way down the lake that I think is Helicopter friendly.

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lost_canoe
Member

Post Number: 21
Registered: 03-2010
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2011 - 9:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Bush Pilot,
Thanks for sharing that great story!!
Way to go Rusty
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grncnu
Member

Post Number: 143
Registered: 08-2010
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2011 - 11:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

thanks ed, good to know!
that guy with the broken leg was a real madman, i forgot to mention that he was about 55 years old, a DOCTOR, and seemed to be having the time of his life! i doubt he would have been willing to get evacuated for anything less than a broken neck!!
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 1104
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 8:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

He probably had himself loaded up on painkillers which might explain why he appeared to be a madman.
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alscool
Moderator

Post Number: 353
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 8:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Temagami and madmen seem to be synonymous, I have been obsessing for almost two decades.

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