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Scary/dangerous caching experiences


Okiebryan
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Here is the log from our first cache experience that I can say I was actually scared....

 

The first cache on Elk Mountain

2nd Elk Mountain cache

The third

 

The log:

We brought the camper down from Clinton to make a weekend of caching, Wichita Mountains style. After a halfhearted day (and night) of caching Great Plains State Park on a VERY windy Saturday, we continued our (FAR less winday) Sunday assault on the WMWR virtuals.

 

We came up here to get the Earthcache, but as we approached the summit, we realized that there were 2 virtuals very close by. We took pics of both, stopped for a bit to rest and rehydrate, and took off toward our goal. When we found it, we found that the camera had dead batteries. Ok, no problem, borrow some from the eTrex Legend! Same result, "Batteries Depleted, Camera is Shutting Down". Now we have no GPS!

So we spend FOREVER - I MEAN HOURS - wandering aimlessly around the top of Elk Mountain, lost as lost could be. Jeez, these game trails go EVERYWHERE. When we FINALLY found something familiar, and it led back to the summit - and the trail we needed - it was almost dark.

 

I know we are in trouble now, as we are only wearing layered shirts. No jackets. It's in the 40's and dropping fast. We KNEW we'd be down before dark, so we left all the lights in the truck. On top of that, there is NO MOON tonight. @#%&@!

 

I decide that now is the time to call for help. I call the Comanche CO Sheriff. The dispatcher was VERY knowledgeable about where we were. I explained our predicament, and he called out the Fish and Wildlife Rangers. He told us, "Whatever you do, DON'T leave the trail" and that men with lights would be coming up to meet us.

 

Well, now it's getting colder and darker. We need to keep moving to generate body heat. The Geodog is giving us some sense of security against all the rustling noises we hear coming from off the trail. Now we are using the glow of cellphone screens to find where to put our feet. We are doing ok, but it is slow and nervous all the way.

 

I hear pain in Pooter2001's voice, and ask what happened.

She has tweaked her ankle a bit. I was afraid of that. She elects to continue. I think it only gets this dark in caves. The Geodog is staying within 15' of me, and leading us down- by scent - exactly how we came up. At least we won't lose the trail.

 

About half an hour later I see spotlights from below, and hear a few quick blips of a siren. Somebody is here. Pooter2001 tells me that her ankle is worse, and can we stop? Of course we stopped and found a good place to sit. Now I'm seeing a cop car coming west on the main highway, and he has his disco lights on. Cool. Reinforcements.

 

He then pulls on down to join his partner, and they call over the car's PA that they are coming up to meet us now. We wait.

 

They made great time to our location. We were hearing voices and seeing lights in 15 minutes. YAAY! Rescued!

 

25 minutes later, Pooter2001 is sitting on my tailgate with an icepack on her ankle. It's sprained, but not broken. These two guys are like angels. The Geodog sleeps all the way to Clinton, and gets fed REALLY well when we get home.

 

We learned several valuable lessons. 1) Start with the hardest cache hike for the day FIRST. At any rate, don't start on such a long hike any later than noon. 2) ALWAYS bring the lights, even if it's broad daylight. 3)Always bring light jackets in the backpack. 4) PACK EXTRA BATTERIES OF EVERY TYPE YOU USE. Being prepared is more important than traveling light. 5)Don't be afraid to call for help BEFORE you are in a crisis situation. 6) We probably should have stopped when we couldn't see anymore. We'll have to see how bad the ankle looks when she wakes up in the morning. 7)Don't depend too much on your GPS. We went wandering off following the arrow and not paying attention to natural landmarks. When I lost the arrow, I lost my way.

 

I'm sorry for the long log entry, but I don't want anyone to make the same stupid mistakes that we did. We still had a good time on a good hike, saw some gorgeous views, and we are happy that everything worked out ok in the end.

 

390fadd5-4e42-4334-8080-03be1b6bd46c.jpg

 

Anyone else had one where they got really worried for their safety, or had to call for help? (And I DON'T mean using phone-a-friend because you can't find the cache)

 

I feel rather stupid today. ;)

Edited by Okiebryan
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Ok now I feel REALLY stupid. Guess I shouldn't have shared? :rolleyes:

 

Now! Now! Don't feel like your stupid.

This can happen to any of us at any time. I have never had an experience quite that bad, but I have been lost before.

It was in a local park of all places. The cache was just 65ft from the trail by what the GPS said. So off I go into the undergrowth. After searching around and around for a while with out finding the cache, it was time to head back to the trail. OK which way is the trail!!! I didn't mark the trail, I mean after all I was only 65ft from it. So after searching for the trail for about 15min. I punched in the last cache I had been to which was on the trail about .2 miles back. So off I go bushwacking back to the last cache. Luckily I came out on the trail in about .12 miles.

Now I mark the Jeep. And also mark the trail from where I left it no matter how far in I have to go.

Like I said it can happen to anyone.

I would say a lot of cachers won't fess up to these simple mistakes. Pride is probably what stops them from posting.

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nah man, was a good share, around here where I live currently its a lil hard to get lost. We still have woods but mostly the big tracts are small state parks so we cant get lost in them, compared to some of the big parks ya'll have out west.

 

And while driving here its impossible to get lost, you will hit one of the 3 main north-south corridors if you drive e-w long enough, east or west gets ya in water really fast :rolleyes:

 

I hope Pooters ankle isnt too bad off, she may have to do a lil rabbit hop for a week or two but hopefully nothing worse.

 

Ya learned a lesson, ya passed it on so hopefully another wont have to learn it the hard way, I know from reading here on these boards I've already got a bag with spares in it. Would just need to add a 1st aid kit if I do anything above a 3/3 but not likely around here, maybe when I go to NC for visits.

 

:quick change of about to above:

Edited by DiS02
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When I went looking for a cache near a cliff I found a muggle standing at the cliff staring off into the distance. I did not know what to do. Stay Stop? say hi? hope for the best? I kept an eye on him and left him to his contemplations. Luckily nothing happened as he was not a jumper. Scared me though. He acted like I was not even there.

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D and I spent more time than we should have looking for a cache in a nearby state park after work a few weeks ago. It got dark pretty quickly. Thank goodness it wasn’t a large state park and we were able to make our way down to the lake and follow the shoreline back to the car, because of course, I didn’t mark the parking coordinates when we first got there. It was totally dark by the time we got back.

 

What I learned:

Always, always mark your parking coordinates

I need to carry a bigger flashlight than my current mini-mag flashlight

I need to leave enough time to not just find the cache but also to find my way back to the car

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I think these posts are great, they act as a constant reminder to remeber the basics when you get excited about rushing out to find the cache. I have gotten turned around and had long bushwhacks back to trails because I forgot to hit the MOB button before leaving a trail. Likewise I have turned myself around and followed the correct trail in the wrong direction for a half hour before realizing it. My flashlight batteries have been sacrificeed to the camera or GPSr on those "I know I'll be done before Dark Multis".

 

My older brother, a very experienced skier, climber, and outdoorsman actually manged to take the wrong trail while skiing in the alps - he found himself in Austria when he started in Italy after the lifts were closed for the day.

 

I have gotten hopelessly trapped in laurel thickets while hunting, to the point of panic, while I was 100' from my truck.

 

People make mistakes and these reminders help me keep my head on straight.

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I'll share a minor scare I experienced this summer. I was hiking a trail to Mount Wrightson (south of Tucson, Arizona). It was a hot, humid day and I was setting a fast pace. I stopped at the saddle just short of the summit to wring out my sweaty shirt. I took off my pack and laid it on a flat rock while I did my chores. When I was done, I picked up the pack and discovered that most of the water had drained out of the Camelbak reservoir. The weight of the pack pressing on the bite valve had held it open and the water had run out. Fortunately, I had a couple of 1-liter bottles of water in reserve, or it would have been a long, thirsty trip back to the car.

 

Now I always lock the valve when I'm not actually drinking.

Edited by Mule Ears
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As soon as I read this I was relieved to know that we weren't the only ones to do something like this. This link for Treasures of the McCormick will explain our predicament. It was nearly the same as yours but there isn't any cell phone service in the McCormick Wilderness and nobody came to rescue us. We had to make it out on our own. We eventually found the cache on the third trip and remain the only finders as of the date of this post.

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As soon as I read this I was relieved to know that we weren't the only ones to do something like this. This link for Treasures of the McCormick will explain our predicament. It was nearly the same as yours but there isn't any cell phone service in the McCormick Wilderness and nobody came to rescue us. We had to make it out on our own. We eventually found the cache on the third trip and remain the only finders as of the date of this post.

 

OT: Your photos posted with the 2nd DNF are wonderful.

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Never !! let your life depend on batteries..know the terrain carry a map and a campass..they weigh almost nothing and they never run out of batteries...and they do not lie...and work on your not panicking mode..:laughing:

 

Umm, I really never did panic. I knew we had cell signal from the top of the mountain, I just decided to wait to call for help until we actually KNEW where we were, and could ask for what kind of help we needed. However, if had still been lost when it got dark, it would have been a different story. No, I think I stayed pretty calm. Even debated whether to start a fire and shelter in place, but seeing how it was a Wilderness area, and that's not allowed, I decided it was not "life or death" cold enough to justify breaking this rule to the satisfaction of the Federal LEOs. If it had been 10 degrees colder, I would have been all over it.

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Broke my leg, alone, with no cell phone, and nobody knew where I was!

 

Slipped on a hill in a deserted park. Heard a loud CRACK and knew I was in trouble. GPS had me 8/10 of a mile from my car, and I was in severe pain.

 

I was scared that I would go into shock. I don't deal well with pain, and the pain was excrutiating. I was severly nauseated and lightheaded. Shock kills, and for the first time in my life I was worried for my life.

 

I knew that the best thing I could do was to focus on getting out of there, rather than focusing on how I felt. To lay down might be a severe mistake. Using a tree branch as a crutch, it took about two hours to get back to the car. What an experience.

 

That was July 20. I am still in physical therapy and still in pain, and still geocaching.

 

(Yeah, I'm the guy you heard about in the Podcacher podcast: Hazards of Geocaching)

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Not dangerous, but certainly SCARY! When I first started caching, we went to Battleground, Indiana to do some caching. We were about a mile from just ONE more cache, and I really, really, REALLY wanted to go for it. Brad warned me that it would be getting dark by the time we found it, but, I really didn't think it would be that bad. Well, the trail was pretty rugged, roots, hills, etc...and I didn't realize just HOW dark it got in the woods! It was pitch black when we reached the cache, and it is no secret that I don't like the dark. It was just about the time we started heading back that it dawned on me we were in an Indian buriel ground! I was NOT happy about this! There was NO other way back to the car, and all we had with us was one headlamp, 4 very afraid kids, a terrified me...and Brad. We sang lots of songs on the way back to TRY to keep our minds off of where we were. (wasn't effective on me!) We did finally make it back, but I certainly will NOT make that mistake again!

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Broke my leg, alone, with no cell phone, and nobody knew where I was!

 

Slipped on a hill in a deserted park. Heard a loud CRACK and knew I was in trouble. GPS had me 8/10 of a mile from my car, and I was in severe pain.

 

I was scared that I would go into shock. I don't deal well with pain, and the pain was excrutiating. I was severly nauseated and lightheaded. Shock kills, and for the first time in my life I was worried for my life.

 

I knew that the best thing I could do was to focus on getting out of there, rather than focusing on how I felt. To lay down might be a severe mistake. Using a tree branch as a crutch, it took about two hours to get back to the car. What an experience.

 

That was July 20. I am still in physical therapy and still in pain, and still geocaching.

 

(Yeah, I'm the guy you heard about in the Podcacher podcast: Hazards of Geocaching)

 

:wub:B):laughing:

 

That makes my little nightime hike seem pretty tame.

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As you can see from the logs, I was the only cacher foolish enough to attempt a hike to Pilot Knob during the summer. The official high in nearby Yuma, AZ was 118; the thermometer in my truck read 117 when I started the hike around 3:30p, and 120 when I got back to the car around 5:30p. I hydrated well before starting up the hill, but quickly went through 60 oz of Gatorade by the time I summit'ed.

The heat sapped away all my strength, and with symptoms of heat stroke/exhaustion, I struggled to make it back to my vehicle. The climb was only about 550 feet of elevation gain and about 3 miles roundtrip, but the heat was baking my innards. I had no hat/cap, and there was only a couple of boulders large enough to provide shade. A mile and a half was getting to and from the base of the hill; the rest was steep but doable without special gear. On the way down, I passed a cache only 300 feet away; I just could not find the energy for the little sprint. I made it back to my vehicle where I had plenty of water to rehydrate, and sat in the truck for several minutes with the AC on max.

 

This pales in comparison to a local cacher that got air-lifted; he set up a cache near where the helo landed; see Flagman's Rescue.

 

I don't mean to brag, but just to show what type of endurance I had going into Pilot Knob. I hiked Flagman's Rescue twice this year and in the manner intended. The first hike in May was a 15-mile hike with 5k elevation gain; the second time was 6p to 5a in July and covered 17 miles with 5300 feet of elevation gain.

 

So, yes, I was a bit cocky tackling a puny 600-foot high hill; heat is a great equalizer!

Edited by Chuy!
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As you can see from the logs, I was the only cacher foolish enough to attempt a hike to Pilot Knob during the summer. The official high in nearby Yuma, AZ was 118; the thermometer in my truck read 117 when I started the hike around 3:30p, and 120 when I got back to the car around 5:30p.

...(edit)

So, yes, I was a bit cocky tackling a puny 600-foot high hill; heat is a great equalizer!

 

Oof, that's brutal heat. I do some summertime hiking here in the Tucson area, and I've worked on strategies for dealing with heat, but 120--yikes. You're a tough fella, Chuy!

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