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Alone in the woods


HockeyPuck
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I do most (99%) of my geocaching alone (or with my pup). I enjoy being at one with nature and spending time bushwhacking the woods and walking the trails.

 

I have been attacked by bees, bitten by snakes, and picked up severe cases of poison ivy but have always beeen able to walk back to my car and get home.

 

I occasionally worry about falling in a pit, breaking a leg, or being attacked by a wild alpaca and stranded in the woods in need of help. While on a trail, I figure somebody will come by eventually, but I get concerned while bushwhacking.

 

Has anyone been lost, stranded and helpless and how did you get out?

 

Please share your stories of survival.

 

EDIT: Already knocked on wood.

Edited by HockeyPuck
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My log entry for Heck Table II (GC935D):

 

"I would have to say this was my worst caching experience ever, but I still enjoyed it (the part up until the find). This misadventure is no fault of the cache site or owner. First off I hit some caches around the Badlands area and it was getting dark. The one TFA cache was the last one left in the area, so I figured let's ignore the recommended parking location to save time and come from the north, parking on SD-44. Now I should better, last time I did a TFA cache, I got horribly sunburned and pine sap like puss came out of the top of my head for a week. So I'm hiking into the sunset, thinking I could talk myself into turning back if it got to dark. Then there I was at the cache site, 60+ ft or so above the floor on Heck Table. Suspecting the whole time there is a reason for this name and it is mispelled. Darkness falls. Those 6 inch wide pinacles I climbed in minutes were my only way down and I was using my night vision to navigate downward. I got about halfway down the slope and experienced first hand, in exhausting terror, what the animals at the Mammoth Site felt right before touching the mud, I was inside a deep 10 ft hole. Well halfway in anyway and had to climb out. Then I rushed back up and had to take the suggested route to the road afterall. Stupid me. That made me a true believer in a divine power. I had a long time to think about the hole on the 7+ mile hike on Bombing Range Rd through Scenic and back down SD-44. Moral of the story, don't cache in the Badlands in the dark, EVER. Also, I owe a blind guy in Scenic a dollar to buy cigarette."

 

I think the only kind of caching that scares me is night caching. I don't do it unless I have been to the area before and know where the cliffs are. :);)B) This one time I went to an unknown area in the dark was a life lesson.

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While searching for a cache, solo, after sunset at Split Rock Quarry in Syracuse NY, I gained first-hand experience of that "prickly-hair-raising-on-the-back-of-your-neck" feeling when a pack of coy-dogs started howling and yipping, and it dawned on me as I walked thru' the moonlit woods that they were shadowing me...I was "only" about a mile from my truck :o:ph34r: . It made for a very intense high-tail-it back to the Chevy Blazer. Also, my wife and I were doing a night-cache once in a very remote area of Apulia NY in a heavily forested area...a herd of deer suddenly flew right past us at high speed without even noticing us, couldn't figure out what spooked them until we heard a pack of howling, yipping coy-dogs coming fast down the hill. Yet another very fast run back to the Blazer, one of the few times in our caching history I wished I had my sidearm with me. Needless to say, it's pretty much the last time TinyMoon has ever gone night-caching :o .

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Well, nothing actually happened but here's my worst caching experience:

 

It was a dreary morning and thunderstorms were in the forecast. I figured I had enough time before the rains to bag a quick cache in the woods, though.

 

I got about 200 feet in and heard voices. Two men were talking and laughing. They seemed very close by but I couldn't see them. I stopped and looked all around me. I saw no one but still heard the voices. Weird... but meh, whatever.

 

BTW, they weren't the voices in my head, either. THOSE I can identify. :)

 

Anyway, I pressed on and soon came upon something lying in the middle of the path. It looked black and rubbery. From a short distance, it looked like a pair of leather gloves. When I got closer, I noticed whatever it was swarming with flys and maggots. :)

 

Ugh. That was all I needed. I turned around and walked back to the car.

 

At the time, I chastised myself for over-reacting. I knew I wasn't in any danger. Still, I had a powerful sense of foreboding. For what? Why? I don't know. I was pretty upset with myself because of it, though.

 

A couple hours later, two nearby kids were struck and killed by lightening.

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I'm an avid hunter and often bowhunt for Elk alone. Four years ago I was hunting alone in an area just west of the Yellowstone border.

 

I was about 3 miles down the trail when I started getting dizzy. I sat on a rock to catch my breath and started getting pain in my upper back. Within a minute or so I was barely able to breath. I realized I was having a heart attack at that point. All I could do was chew an aspirin and sit quietly hoping it would pass. Some time later I found the strength to get up and start hiking back out. By the time I got to my truck I actually felt somewhat ok.

 

I drove myself home and went to my doc the next morning. He basically freaked out and rushed me into the cath lab where they inserted 2 stents. They had to shock me a couple times during the procedure to get me ticking again (I don't remember anything from the time they cath started until I woke up in ICU).

 

My wife doesn't let me go hunting alone anymore.

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While searching for a cache, solo, after sunset at Split Rock Quarry in Syracuse NY, I gained first-hand experience of that "prickly-hair-raising-on-the-back-of-your-neck" feeling when a pack of coy-dogs started howling and yipping, and it dawned on me as I walked thru' the moonlit woods that they were shadowing me...I was "only" about a mile from my truck :):) . It made for a very intense high-tail-it back to the Chevy Blazer. Also, my wife and I were doing a night-cache once in a very remote area of Apulia NY in a heavily forested area...a herd of deer suddenly flew right past us at high speed without even noticing us, couldn't figure out what spooked them until we heard a pack of howling, yipping coy-dogs coming fast down the hill. Yet another very fast run back to the Blazer, one of the few times in our caching history I wished I had my sidearm with me. Needless to say, it's pretty much the last time TinyMoon has ever gone night-caching :D .

 

The quarries around here are NOT the place to be at night without some kind of weapon. I've run into the same pack in that area, but a Sure Fire was enough to make them have "second thoughts".

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Quite awhile back I found a fellow who was murdered evidently on the side of the road near Vegas.

Does that count ?

No, he was dead and not dangerous in anyway ! :laughing:

 

Sure it was not during a CSI LAs Vegas movie making ?

 

The sad but funny thing is that I had to wait about 4 hours until the real CSI Las Vegas unit showed up.

But somehow it wasn't like TV.

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Here's our DNF log from 'Treasures of the McCormick'. It remains unfound.

 

Our adventure was doomed from the start. The two-track leading to the trailhead was blocked by a large fallen tree. This should have been our first clue to turn back. Fortunately we were test driving a Jeep (which we WILL buy) and there was an auxiliary trail that got us to the registration point.

Anne signed us in and I prepared the Camelbak and the trekking poles. It was about six o'clock in the evening by now and we were trying to beat nightfall. Spare batteries - check!; first aid kit - check!; flashlight - nope. Searching through my pack I could not find a flashlight. Then I remembered, one was in my camera bag and I took the other out of the pack the night before for some reason. This should have been the defining moment of retreat because I know better than to go into a dense, unfamiliar forest without a light especially at this hour. Greed urged us on for the FTF so we marched off into the woods planning to 'hurry'.

 

Geoffrey, our five-month-old German Shorthaired Pointer was happily running through the woods dragging his leash and marking his territory about every fifty yards. I jokingly made a comment about how that was good because he could then find his way back to the car. Oh, so many omens. . .

 

We crossed many streams and Anne temporarily lost a shoe in the mud We eventually lost the trail, causing us to bush whack for a half-mile. Eventually we found some waterfalls but the GPSr was telling us we were fourteen hundredths away. Darkness wasn't far off and we wasted at least fifteen minutes arguing about if and how we should continue. Geoffrey and I pressed on while Anne sat at the bottom of the falls. At one point I had a reading of 411 feet but the next step I took gave me a reading of .12 miles in the OPPOSITE direction. I knew it was wrong but it was we were losing light fast. I resigned a DNF and climbed back down the slope and gave Anne the bad news. At this point we discovered Geoffrey had lost his leash.

 

As we were heading back to the Jeep we figured we would try to find the trail on the way back so we could avoid bush whacking. We got turned around again when the GPSr lost reception. I was also using a compass for navigation and quickly realized we had turned 180 degrees. Visibility was diminishing to the point that I had to use the light from the Etrex to illuminate the compass on the end of the trekking pole. Geoffrey was in unfamiliar territory since we took a different path of return. Anne was getting scared and panic nearly swept over me as I came to the conclusion that we were going to have to make it out of the McCormick Wilderness in total darkness without a trail to follow.

 

Something took over and my brain started calculating. After some quick math we decided to follow the river to our original point of where we got lost. We picked up the trail and looked at our Garmin. Over one and a half miles to go in the pitch black. The moon wasn't even out to light the way. The coyotes were calling in the distance but they were far enough away that we figured it was safe. Besides, we had the almighty pepper spray! Anne has terrible night vision so I took off my belt and gave her one end and I held the other. Geoffrey took the lead, sniffing out his own urine trail. We followed the sound of his jingling dog tags through the blackness and used the light on the Etrex to identify trip hazards. The illumination was good up to about three feet so progress was slow. At one point Anne tripped and fell, which almost put her over the edge. After hearing something walking behind us off-trail we decided we needed to get out of the woods as quickly as possible. The track back feature on the Garmin worked so well I almost walked straight into the registration station at the parking area. It was ten o'clock in the evening and we have never been so happy to leave a cache! We owe everything to Geoffrey for showing us the way out. Thanks for the adventure!!

 

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Quite awhile back I found a fellow who was murdered evidently on the side of the road near Vegas.

Does that count ?

No, he was dead and not dangerous in anyway ! :rolleyes:

 

Sure it was not during a CSI LAs Vegas movie making ?

 

The sad but funny thing is that I had to wait about 4 hours until the real CSI Las Vegas unit showed up.

But somehow it wasn't like TV.

 

What -

the women weren't gorgeous?

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Well, I was rock climbing alone in the caverns and cliffs, and a boulder shifted and crushed my hand under it. I had to use my poor dull pocketknife to saw off my arm and then hike for help.

 

Oh, wait... I read that -- wasn't me! If it were they would probably find a dessicated skeleton with one hand under a boulder, the other hand clutching a GPS that says "25 feet that way!"

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I wasn't caching but deer hunting. As I was climbing down from my tree stand a limb broke, fell 18 ft and broke my back in 2 places. I was 1/2 mile from my truck and knew no one would come looking for me for at least 3 more hours. Found a stick to use as a crutch and walked out. Took me close to an hour to make it the 1/2 mile across relatively flat ground. Spent the next 2 weeks in traction and the next 8 weeks after than in a full body cast. Not an experience I'd recommend nor wish to repeat.

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I went out in Wisconsin winter for a multi that had a lot of DNFs and appeared abandoned. I hiked around hilly, rocky terrain about 3 hours not finding any of the waypoints or the cache but enjoying the area, taking hundreds of photos. I finally decide that's enough and go back to my car and realize every set of car keys for my car is in the car and so is my cell phone which wouldn't do me any good anyway - since all the keys are in the car, even a ride home won't do me any good.

I try to make my human hands in to suction cup frog hands and pull the window down manually, figuring the drivers side motor is a known weak point in this car and likely to break soon anyway so it won't be so bad to just break the gears or whatever off it right now. I can get the window to bob about 1/32 of an inch but that's about it. I really hard look for wires or sticks to jam in the window. I find two working permanent magic makers and a pen but nothing else. There are many large rocks but I really don't want to drive around with a broken car window in winter.

The GPSr says it's 4 miles home. I start walking. The dog keeps looking back at the car in confusion. "Why don't we just go in the nice car like we normally do?" We walk 4 miles home diagonally across cornfields which are mowed to just under knee height so I have to do some weird monty python walk the entire way home - the equivalent of doing approximately 26,189 reverse crunches in a row. We stop once to share a slim jim and eat snow. The dog no longer believes in me and is only following me because it's January in Wisconsin, we're in the middle of a cornfield and there are honestly no other options. The 1 1/2" of slim jim briefly perks him up. It takes like 3 and a half hours to make it home. The dog is AMAZED when we suddenly step out of a cornfield onto the highway we live off of.

I ride my bike in 10 degree weather the next morning to meet a locksmith at the car for $70. My abs hurt and the trip on the road is easily twice as long - almost 8 miles. Then I go have half a dozen copies of my car key made for another $5.

:blink:

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. . . We owe everything to Geoffrey for showing us the way out. Thanks for the adventure!!

 

[/i]

 

I haven't had quite this experience, I've gotten lost but only in the daylight. I've hiked a lot of years and my older dog has often led the way back. He's so good at it, I've let him do this for normal hikes just because it was the easiest way to track back the way we had come. I've relied on him heavily but now he's too old to hike. My young dog is useless for tracking back (he couldn't find his way out of a box) so now I rely on my GPSr. I really think the dog was more efficient, he didn't need a satellite fix!

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I went out in Wisconsin winter for a multi that had a lot of DNFs and appeared abandoned. I hiked around hilly, rocky terrain about 3 hours not finding any of the waypoints or the cache but enjoying the area, taking hundreds of photos. I finally decide that's enough and go back to my car and realize every set of car keys for my car is in the car and so is my cell phone which wouldn't do me any good anyway - since all the keys are in the car, even a ride home won't do me any good.

I try to make my human hands in to suction cup frog hands and pull the window down manually, figuring the drivers side motor is a known weak point in this car and likely to break soon anyway so it won't be so bad to just break the gears or whatever off it right now. I can get the window to bob about 1/32 of an inch but that's about it. I really hard look for wires or sticks to jam in the window. I find two working permanent magic makers and a pen but nothing else. There are many large rocks but I really don't want to drive around with a broken car window in winter.

The GPSr says it's 4 miles home. I start walking. The dog keeps looking back at the car in confusion. "Why don't we just go in the nice car like we normally do?" We walk 4 miles home diagonally across cornfields which are mowed to just under knee height so I have to do some weird monty python walk the entire way home - the equivalent of doing approximately 26,189 reverse crunches in a row. We stop once to share a slim jim and eat snow. The dog no longer believes in me and is only following me because it's January in Wisconsin, we're in the middle of a cornfield and there are honestly no other options. The 1 1/2" of slim jim briefly perks him up. It takes like 3 and a half hours to make it home. The dog is AMAZED when we suddenly step out of a cornfield onto the highway we live off of.

I ride my bike in 10 degree weather the next morning to meet a locksmith at the car for $70. My abs hurt and the trip on the road is easily twice as long - almost 8 miles. Then I go have half a dozen copies of my car key made for another $5.

:rolleyes:

 

This sounds like something I would do. Okay, something I've done. Fortunately I have roadside assistance, but I once locked my keys in my car in the middle of the Valley of Fire in Nevada. The closest locksmith/mechanicy guy was about half an hour away, driving time - he had to drive out, pick me up, take me to an ATM which was a good distance away as well, get paid, then drive me *back*. Opening the car, of course, took only three minutes.

 

After the third time of locking my keys in my car, I started carrying a spare. Until that got lost while caching in Nebraska... The rest is predictable.

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A few years ago I was up in a small parcel of our family land near Onamia, MN.

 

Around dusk I was setting up my campsite, alone, as I was spending a couple days there enjoying the land on my own.

 

I began to feel as though I was being watched, and this feeling grew rapidly over a few minutes.

I caught a bit of movement to my side, and as I snapped around to look I saw a dirty and mean, but strong looking, dog sneaking around the perimeter.

For some reason I looked intensely around 360 and saw another two large dogs at equal spacing around my area.

 

In the woods I always carry, so I fired three or four rounds into the trees between the dogs, intentionally directing my fire into dirt, not dogs.

I wanted to frighten them away without harming them.

They did not approach, but had they, I had more rounds at the ready.

 

This sent them running and baying through the woods, and I neither saw nor felt any further sign of them during my stay.

 

~K

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I wasn't caching but deer hunting. Just got my ankle out of a cast from cracking it 6 weeks before.

 

The good thing was I did get my deer. :( I was still a bit slow going up the hill to get the deer, Ironman114 went ahead of me. As I was walking I felt the bad ankle try to fold over on me. I caught myself before it could roll again but could feel it swelling. :D

 

By the time we got back to the house I was afraid to take off my boot cause it was swollen big time and I knew it was going to hurt. Once we did take off my boot,we noticed that the my whole foot began to bruise. Wasn't cracked again just bruised up big time.

 

Edit: Not enough coffee this morning. Can't think straight

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I dont know if this falls in the good or bad side..

Was out today , hiking a hilll that was kinda steep and I was getting winded (im in my late 40s) and when I get to the top, the GPSr is telling me to go further SE..

I kneel and take a break and after a few seconds, Im able to continue, but after a few more feet, I see what looks like a statue (at first) and then I realize that its a REAL deer :(

I FROZE! :D (mode)

She saw me but didnt move. I take a step to my left and now I can see all 4!!!

What a sight!!!

I know of local hunters that dont see a single one all season..

THEN it DAWNS on me.. I didnt bring the camera...!!!! :D

Then I remember that my cell phone (which I always carry just in case) has a camera, but it isnt very high res... but i decide to see if I can get a shot.

As SOON as I start to kneel down to get a shot.......................................

 

BAMMM.. They take off.. Not because of gun fire though... They are smart! They were watching me and know If I kneel, they are about to be shot at...

 

Well, onto the cache....

 

After abouth a 20 min of searching under stones and dead leaves, I hear BBBBAAAAMMMM!!

 

Then I remember that ITS HUNTING SEASON and there were just 4 Deer not far from where Im standing looking for a box full of trinkets...

Nuff for THIS one...!!! :D

Ill try it again once Hunting season is over.. (next week?? I think)

Edited by Bass_Chaz
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:D Duuuuuuude. This is why you need to go out NOW and get some blaze orange clothing. Please. Don't be a statistic. You can get it at Walmart. There are guys out there with guns, and the season most certainly is not over next week. There are deer days for a couple more months. Shotgun, bow, and maybe even rifle, You should check out the deer schedule for NH today. December is the peak of the season. Be VERY careful, you were in a dangerous situation today.

WEAR ORANGE.

Edited by Sue Gremlin
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Ouch!

 

Cache owner checking on his cache, breaks his leg.

 

91e88e13-f9a3-4c00-9857-e4b5352b7457.jpg

It's not that pic that gets me, it's the x-ray. :D Crikey!

f2e9760d-4306-439d-9789-7768bee48522.jpg

 

http://img.geocaching.com/cache/log/b70048...4d3753b893e.jpg

 

they got me fixed up fast. hopefully i will be able to cache in 2 or 3 months.

Luckly i was with a friend, and with his help we were able to hike out to the truck (that i had him move closer)! the drive to the hospital was the worse. a cop pulled up next to us to tell me to put on my seat belt. I told him that my leg was snapped in 2. he said thats no excuse, and then he left. :D thanks for the help buddy!! all in all it was lame but i will bounce back fast, and learn from my experience! :D

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":blink: Duuuuuuude. This is why you need to go out NOW and get some blaze orange clothing. Please. Don't be a statistic. You can get it at Walmart. "

 

The Funny part of THAT is.. I was BEHIND a Wal-Mart...

This area is close to houses ....

Whoever it was that was shooting shouldnt have been...

Anyway, the rule is that you should have identified your target BEFORE you shoot.

Ya, I KNOW I should have Hunter Orange on.. THATS my mistake...

I was wearing all blue, though and if the stupid, sighless hunter that thinks that Im a Blue Deer, on 2 feet, needs to have his license revoked ..PERMENTLY!

"There are guys out there with guns,"

(and some have been drinking .....STUPID!)

 

and the season most certainly is not over next week.

There are deer days for a couple more months. Shotgun, bow, and maybe even rifle, You should check out the deer schedule for NH today. December is the peak of the season.

 

"Sept. 15 - Dec. 15 Deer/archery (end dates may vary by WMU)

Nov. 8 - Dec. 3 Deer/firearms (note -- closes Nov. 26 in WMU A)"

 

This is from the NH Fish and Game.. (should have waited a day anyway...)

 

 

Be VERY careful, you were in a dangerous situation today.

WEAR ORANGE.

 

I Know, I know.. next time Ill go shop at the walmart if I dont bring mine with me..

Thanks for the concern..

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Well I don't have any crazy experiances but my friend (TheAngryTomato) was on his bike and went down a hill this is not your average hill this was like a cliff hill combo he was 1/2 the way he (for some reason) :laughing: slammed on his front breaks and fliped and passed out 3 times was at home for 3 days and had a mild concussion.

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:laughing: Duuuuuuude. This is why you need to go out NOW and get some blaze orange clothing. Please. Don't be a statistic. You can get it at Walmart. There are guys out there with guns, and the season most certainly is not over next week. There are deer days for a couple more months. Shotgun, bow, and maybe even rifle, You should check out the deer schedule for NH today. December is the peak of the season. Be VERY careful, you were in a dangerous situation today.

WEAR ORANGE.

Nice picture!

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