NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Tuesday afternoon began just like an ordinary day for Paxton Sandidge and Drew Hastings. "So it all started out as just one of those days, we were going to do something cool that day, a good adventure,” said Sandidge, a student at Stephen F. Austin State University.
What seemed like a simple kayaking trip along the Angelina River quickly turned into a journey into the unknown.
“After a long time, we realized we didn't know where we were going or where this river was ending and it started pouring on us,” explained SFA student Drew Hastings.
“Before long we realized that we were in a pickle, we were lost,” Sandidge said.
Meanwhile, Sandidge and Hastings' friends realized they were missing, they contacted Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office, who went on a missing persons search for them.
The young men tried to find their way through the flooded forest, but without cell phones to contact someone or GPS to find out where they were, night fell and they knew they'd have to spend the night out on the river holding onto a tree.
“One of the longest nights of my entire life by far. I was just getting bit by so many mosquitos that I kind of just got immune,” Hastings said. “We just kept telling ourselves the whole night, 'Like I cannot wait for tomorrow to come because we are getting out of here.'"
As soon as Tuesday morning hit, they began their search for dry land and after hours of searching, they finally found relief.
"We washed up, and we walked up to this lady's farm house and asked her 'Where are we, we have no idea where we are?'' Hastings recalled. “She said 'You're about 5 miles outside the Lufkin Loop.' And we said, ‘Oh my God, we went about 30 miles.'"
And while they were happy to be safe, the biggest worry they had was what their families were thinking.
"Throughout the entire evening we wanted more than anything to call our moms and just let them know we were OK and not to worry and that we're going to make it through this,” Sandidge said.
However, looking back at their adventure, they admit their biggest fear wasn't the creatures lurking in the water ...
"I was like dude I really hope we don't end up on the 10 o'clock news," Hastings said.