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Mark Hentze RAC 00 Drowns in South America

by Chris Sorensen |

Mark Hentze was born and raised in Baker City, but after a trip to Colombia in 2005, the avid kayaker and photographer couldn't get the South American country off his mind.

"He fell in love with the people, the rivers and just everything about Colombia," said his father, Dick Hentze.

When he wasn't working as a smokejumper for the U.S. Forest Service out of Redmond, Mark Hentze would paddle Colombia's rivers and explore new terrain. Aside from a trip home for Christmas, Hentze, 37, had been abroad since November, doing what he loved, his father said.