ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - We've all had those moments. You know the ones, where you've got to go to the bathroom so badly that you're almost sprinting to make it in time.
In such a head space, it is understandable that your mind is only focused on one thing. Sometimes this can result in problems like being stranded without toilet paper or forgetting to lock the door.
For Hanna Thimsen, the consequences were a little higher. It all started with a wilderness hike where she was taking wedding photos for a couple from out of state who had requested "really Alaskan photos." Due to this, they had spent the day and much of the evening hiking around trails to get the perfect shots.
"I had a gun with me, because Alaska. And woods. And bear country," Thimsen said. Her gun clip attaches to her jeans with a design that she says is so comfortable that she doesn't even notice it. Perhaps it was this design that, when she was rushing to use a bathroom after a lengthy photo shoot, allowed her to forget that the gun was clipped to her pants when she rushed into the public use bathroom at the trail head.
What happened next, Thimsen said, was a small tragedy. "I made a dash for the port-a-potty, unzipped my pants to take them off as fast as I can, because I can't see straight I have to go so bad. I felt a 'whoosh' of air, and realized, oh my gosh, I just dumped my gun in the outhouse," Thimsen said.
It was late at night when the gun fell in, Thimsen said, so she drove home to Wasilla, thinking that the gun was more or less lost to the abyss, until a park service maintenance crew emptied the contents of the toilet.
However, the next morning, Thimsen's husband insisted on retrieving it. He and a friend caught the resulting toilet retrieval operation on camera and posted it to social media.
Thimsen said her husband purchased a powerful magnet for around $75 that's roughly the size of a brick, fastened it to the end of a two-by-four, and plunged it in. After a few tense moments, the gun stuck to the magnet and it was successfully retrieved.
The gun, a Ruger .380 LCP, was pulled from the cavernous toilet smelling far worse than original. In the video, Thimsen's husband can be seen audibly gagging on camera when he pulled it out. "It was disgusting. It was so gross," Thimsen later said of the gun's condition.
Following the retrieval, Thimsen said her husband spent three and a half hour dousing the handgun in bleach and cleaning it with gun solvents. The following day, he brought the gun to a gun store to see if it would need additional servicing, but Thimsen said the gun experts called it "pristine."
"It should work just fine, it doesn't smell like crap anymore, it just smells like bleach," Thimsen laughed. She says she'll probably keep the gun more for the memory. "For humor's sake, it's a good story starter now," she said.