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The Geocaching Near-Miss Log for Continuous Improvement


Snoogans
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From Wikipedia:

In terms of human lives and property damage, near misses are cheaper, zero-cost learning tools for safety than actual injury or property loss.

 

A near miss is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage but had the potential to do so. Only a fortunate break in the chain of events prevented an injury, fatality or damage; in other words, a miss that was nonetheless very near. Although the label of 'human error' is commonly applied to an initiating event, a faulty process or system invariably permits or compounds the harm, and should be the focus of improvement. Other familiar terms for these events is a "close call", or in the case of moving objects, "near collision".

***NOTE: "a faulty process or system" in the geocaching context doesn't necessarily mean Groundspeak. Preparation is a personal process.***

 

We have all had near misses while geocaching. Sometimes they seem funny. Sometimes they are a great personal learning experience. Sometimes and usually more often than not, they are embarassing, which often leads to keeping quiet about a situation that could prove harmful to others.

 

Take a moment to discuss a near-miss of your own.

 

Recounting your experience is your gift to the community. It can help others who care to learn from your experience swim upstream and possibly avoid the experience you had or worse.

 

I'll go first:

 

Way back in 2003 I went caching in the Mojave Desert. It was a mere 115 on the public display in Laughlin as I headed south of town before noon.

 

The second cache of the day was a short hike over a steep hill. Maybe a little over .7 of a mile roundtrip as the crow flies. I had one bottle of water. This wasn't gonna take long. :rolleyes: 30 minutes later after climbing a deceptively steep and treacherous hill, soaked in sweat and with 0 water left, I started my final search.

 

As I rounded the corner, I found a road that stopped 50 feet from the cache. DOH! I homed in on the cache location, but the find eluded me. I NEEEEDED that find. I had expended no small amount of effort, been embarassed by not taking the correct road, and I was hot and tired and definately NOT leaving until I signed the log.

 

The area was brushy and there were lots of cattails. After about 45 minutes I gave up the search, not because I wanted to, but because I had to. My skin was hot, my shirt had dried and I was not sweating anywhere but on my forehead and my thoughts were getting fuzzy. The cache was luckily about 30 feet from the Colorado River. Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to safely drink. I dunked myself and shambled into the shade of a nearby stunted tree. Oh, did I mention that I had zero food? Yeah. Real smart planning on my part.

 

20 minutes later I'm bone dry again and the dunking ritual begins. Every 15 or 20 minutes for the next few hours. STUCK just .35 from my car that has food and water and a cooler full of ice and getting more and more dehydrated by the minute. At just before 4pm I couldn't take it anymore. I had tried to signal a few jet ski riders to no avail. I didn't have the strength to try the hill, so I decided to wade around the cliff on very jagged rocks rather than risk the climb.

 

I made it to my car in about 20 minutes. I felt about half dead. On the way back into town the display read Davis Dam temp: 126 degrees.

 

Lessons learned:

 

My ego about a DNF combined with severe lack of preparation almost cost me my life, or at least a hospital stay for heat exhaustion if not for the fact that there was a nearby unpotable water source to cool me off.

 

I have never gotten myself into that situation again.

Edited by Snoogans
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I enjoy reading stories like this, but you know what, the lesson doesn't really sink in until I experience it myself. I've never gone caching in that hot of weather, but I've lost count of the number of times I've headed out and forgotten water. It wasn't until I was really hurting one hot summer day several miles from the water I had forgotten in my car (and no streams around) - now I remember to doublecheck. The stories I've read in the past didn't stick. That painful feeling of being dehydrated - that sticks.

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I was at MOGA '11, picking up a few caches with some friends before the event. The temperature was hovering around freezing, with short squalls dumping a few snowflakes now and then. A friend and I hiked about a quarter mile to an old, abandoned bridge to pick up what should have been an easy one. Unfortunately, it was on the other side of the bridge, and the wooden decking in the middle of the bridge was gone. I could easily hang onto the railing and step cautiously along one of the snow-covered bridge I-beams to get to the other side, but I looked down into the freezing water and realized that one slip would put me in water that would probably kill me in about 10 minutes. The risk just wasn't worth it. If it had been summertime, I probably would have taken the risk. However, in this case, common sense prevailed.

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...the lesson doesn't really sink in until I experience it myself.

There is so much truth in that simple statement. I have come so close to serious injury and/or death while hunting caches that to tell all the stories would likely take so much bandwidth the Internet would hiccup. In each case, I knew, either from reading the accounts of others in similar situations, or from my own on-site observations and deductions, that continuing the hunt could kill me. Yet, I continued. I suspect that Darwin rolls over in his grave every time I put batteries in my 60CSx. :unsure::blink::lol:

 

Just touching the surface of my stupid decisions;

 

Fairly early on in my caching career, I saw a cache on my radar that caught my interest. It was hidden in a really nice chunk of woods that has a steep, deep gorge running through it, created by a creek with a radically changing depth. When the water is high, it could be up to 20' deep. When the water is low, (as it was the day I went out there), the water is about a foot deep. At the time, the only access to the area was along winding mountain bike trails. I was suffering from a knee injury, and did not want to try hiking from the parking area, so I found an alternate approach where the creek went under a highway. I couldn't tell which side of the creek it was on, so I flipped a mental coin and commenced hiking. When I got close, the arrow on my Magellan pointed too the other side of the creek. (sigh) I knew there was a huge fallen tree that crossed the creek, but it was getting dark, and my knee was already hurting, and the big tree was quite a ways off. I found a trio of fallen palm trees which crossed the gorge. Visualize two fallen trees, side by side, with a third tree a couple inches above those two. I decided to try crossing there. After a few steps, the top tree snapped, dropping the few inches to the two trees beneath it. This drop caused my feet to slip, and I fell, landing groin first on the top tree. (OUCH!) This added impact caused the two lower trees to snap, and 330 pounds of idiotic cache seeker, and six chunks of palm tree trunks plummeted to the bottom, ending up in a tangled mess in the creek below. I eventually realized I was not dead, nor did I have any broken bones, so I extracted myself from the jumble of tree trunks. The sun had set by this time. Using just the light oof my GPSr, I climbed the 20' bank, found the cache and limped out of the woods.

 

Another misadventure is kind of similar to the tale Snoog told. I was building a night cache in the Ocala National Forest, in either July or August. It was very hot, and being Florida, the humidity was very high. This reflector trail requires a couple miles of significant bushwhacking to finish. As I was working my way through the dense bush, hanging reflectors, somewhere around Noon, I came to the conclusion that I had stopped sweating. I was probably an hour or so away from my car. My CamelBak still had plenty of water, so I took a big drink, violently upchucked, and apparently passed out. When I was once again aware of my surroundings, it was night time, and I was face down in something rather icky. I worked my way back to my car, and couldn't quite figure out how to start it, as my brain wasn't firing on all cylinders. I found my great big insulated cup full of unsweet tea, which still had some ice in it, and shoved both hands into the cup, then dumped the contents over my head. I was seated in my car at the time. (sigh) This got me functioning enough that I could drive... mostly... so I went to the closest convenience store, where I sat at a booth, sucking up A/C and liquids. I looked quite a sight, covered in dirt and ick, dripping tea. Eventually, enough gray matter was restored that I was able to go home.

 

Even after both of those misadventures, I had other similar incidents, which taught me that I should probably never be allowed outside without an escort, as neither misadventure taught me a lesson significant enough to keep me from placing myself in similar hazards.

 

Darwin must really hate me. :lol:

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I was at MOGA '11, picking up a few caches with some friends before the event. The temperature was hovering around freezing, with short squalls dumping a few snowflakes now and then. A friend and I hiked about a quarter mile to an old, abandoned bridge to pick up what should have been an easy one. Unfortunately, it was on the other side of the bridge, and the wooden decking in the middle of the bridge was gone. I could easily hang onto the railing and step cautiously along one of the snow-covered bridge I-beams to get to the other side, but I looked down into the freezing water and realized that one slip would put me in water that would probably kill me in about 10 minutes. The risk just wasn't worth it. If it had been summertime, I probably would have taken the risk. However, in this case, common sense prevailed.

 

Haha.. my near miss was also at MOGA 2011 and very near that very bridge (a couple miles to the west). My near misses (two) involved driving on some of the back roads as we were caching the skull. On one road, the mud was so deep that the axles of my Tahoe were bottoming out. While it is 4x4, I would not consider it having super high clearance. Luckily, the bottom of the mud was just shallow enough for me to make it through driving sideways with nearly full throttle. Had I let up, she'd still be buried out there today.

 

Second was also on the same trip. With all of the rain, there was a river running across the road that had to be at least three feet deep. Because there's no way I was headed back to the field of mud, I took the risk and drive through the river, having no idea what kind of bottom it had. Again, I got lucky.

 

All of this took place after dark, I'd say after 10:00PM out in the heavy sleating rain, with a kid in the back seat.

 

In retrospect, it's a fun experience to talk about but I highly doubt that I'd take the same risk again, at least not with the kid in the back.

 

There was no risk of life and limb here. But the cost of getting me towed out would have been enormous.

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My near-miss was this summer. I was hiking to a couple of caches on top of an unnamed hill. Because the caches were "not that far" off the road (less than 1km) I wasn't too concerned, despite their Terrain ratings of 3.5 and 4. It was the end of the day and I had done the caches I had actually targeted and I decided to go for these two as "bonuses".

 

I made two classic mistakes:

- I had not planned on doing these caches so no one knew where I was.

- Because they were so close to the road I decided not to worry about bringing my backpack.

 

I stepped over a fallen tree and my right ankle landed in a hole I didn't see. I twisted it quite badly and had to hobble back to the car. If my injury had been much worse I might not have been able to get back and would have been spending some time outdoors with no water or anything else.

 

I wrote up the whole experience on my blog: A Lesson in Being Prepared

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I've been involved in outdoor activities for many years, mostly through my work with the Boy Scouts. The vast majority of real trouble that you can get into results from lack of water. Carrying water treatment pills (iodine) in you pack is a great idea. They're inexpensive and don't take up any room at all. We always carry them when backpacking. One thing I want to stress when one is confronted with a situation like that of the OP. DRINK THE RIVER WATER! Yes, you might get sick. But, that will be long after you've been able to get yourself out of the woods (or desert in this case) and somewhere safe. Once you're out of the woods (literally and figuratively) you can visit a health care professional and advise that you drank untreated water. You're not likely to die from drinking river water, especially if you're that close to your car. However, dehydration and heat stroke could very easily kill you.

 

Now, if you're more than a day's hike back to safety drinking unsafe water may be a bigger risk. But, with the lack of any way to purify the water (although if you're that far in the back country with no way to purify water you've really messed up) and no available "safe" water source drink whatever you have available. Better to hydrate with water that might make you sick than to die of dehydration and exposure.

 

I could write volumes on being prepared for the worst contengencies but I'll stop here. As I tell my scouts, carry twice as much water as you think you need.

 

Happy Caching!

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Not really a near miss so much as a potential for disaster. My wife and I were caching in South Dakota and had targeted one that seemed interesting alongside one of those lonely country roads. We hadn't seen anyone else on the road for some time. When we got to a place that was as close as we were going to able to drive, we were still quite ways from GZ, a good .2 or so, down a long steep sandy, rocky gorge. It seemed pretty walkable for the first 100 feet or so but then it got much steeper. My wife, who has a lot more sense than I do, refused to go any further so I went on alone. I slid part of the way down, guiding myself along with clumps of grass and the little brush that seems pervade everything in SD but I made it down to the bottom and I do have to say the view was nothing short of spectacular, looking out over a lush green valley. I found the cache and it too met all of my expectations. I could see the little dot up near the top of the huge hill I had just climbed down that was my wife and I began steeling myself for what I knew would be an arduous climb back up. That's when I began to think of all the possibilities, what if I fell or tripped or got bit by a jackalope and feeling something poke me in the leg, I realized it was the car keys in my pocket.. right next to our cell phone.. down here at the bottom of the hill with me. If I met my demise down here, she would have been stranded as well. I wished I had thought of that before. I did make it back up after the long climb but those thoughts did take some of the thrill away until I reached the top again. We did have a bit of a laugh about it afterward but it was one of those nervous laughs when you know things could have gone badly but didn't .. this time. After that, from then on, whenever I want to venture into something a little rough that she, in her good sense doesn't want to try, we'd make sure she has the keys and the phone.

 

edited for gooder grammar

Edited by Brooklyn51
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I've been thinking hard trying to come up with something where I think that my judgement was seriously impaired or that I could have been killed. While that has happened before in my lifetime it hasn't really occured while geocaching. Maybe having started this hobby late enough in life has me more cautios than I migh thave been had I discovered this sport (and it had existed) in my mid 20's to early 30's.

 

the closest I can come up with that migh tbe considered to fit the criteria actually occured just a few month ago. There is a popular, well travelled hike up a local mountain on the West side of the Cascade Range that is less than an hours drive from my home. I can actually see the mountain from within about half a mile of my house from the right angle. It is popular becasue in additoin to being easy to get to, there is a trail, about 5 miles long that goes up the mountian to the very top where there is a forest fire lookout with a commanding view of the lowlands around Puget Sound to the west. On a clear day, you can see the sky scrapers in downtown Seattle over 50 miles away and the entire range from Mt Rainier all the way up to Mt Baker, it is an amazing vantage point. In addition to the lookout, there is a popular cache at the top as well and I, having never found it, decided to make it my milestone 3500th find. The hike is pretty easy and I took my dog and faithful caching companion with me but unfortunately thet day did not cooperate with nice weather.

 

The weather was not the issue however. The mountain slope, while gradual enoough on its south side to make it a fairly simple, albeit steep trail hike, on the north side is a sheer cliff drop off, from the top near where the cache is located to the bottom of the cliff on the north side of the mountain has to be more than 1000feet. When I got to the top and my GPS said I was 30 feet from the cache I convinced myself that I had to go onto a ledge on this cliff to retrieve it. It had rained most of the way up the mountain and the rocks all around were very wet and slippery. No ropes, no proper shoes or climbing gear, out on to the ledge I went. Luckily I was smart enough to tie my dog to a nearby bush so that he wouldn't try and follow me out on the ledge, which he would have surely had tried to do if I had not secured him. He's 105 lbs and could have knocked me off the ledge, probably causing both of us to fall if he had come out.

 

Once out on the ledge, with no where else to go, heart pounding due to my mild case of vertigo and the cache no where to be seen, while my gadget still read that I was 30feet away, I reevaluated the likliehood that the cache was out there and made my way back the 15 feet along the ledge to where my dog was tied up. I ended up finding the cache, 30 feet away, but on the other side of the rock that makes up the peak of the mountain from where I had been on the ledge.

 

About a week later I was giving the expereience some serious thought and realized how stupid I had behaved. Had I slipped and fallen I would have died, leaving my dog tied up on the side of the cliff probably whining and barking to come and join me. There were people nearby, in the fire lookout at the time but the mountain was so shrouded in fog that day they couldn't see me...

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Stuff happens to everyone, some more than others, some more often.

I like the idea of "it happened to me" or " I learned about something..." items.

Also like the idea of a Safety Thread eventually. There have been lots of good suggestions made in various sections of the forums.

 

My example was this summer past and I was feeling a bit down with life, and decided to seek a FTF placed up one of our local hills... a bigger one, but not all the way up. Rather than tell it again, I'll link to a post I made in The Hunt/The Unusual as a response to a post on Bushwhacking... It's not the whole story of course, but it covers the general feel of the trip. The CO then placed another up there, but I will try that this summer, since I didn't heal fast enough to get back last summer/fall for the new one. Besides there are few to go caching or hiking with, for me.

 

My post

 

Yes, I did recall that my memories of mountain hikes and climbing in my youth, didn't mean that I can just zip up things these days, but I'm not an invalid either. Just getting older and supposedly wiser now. At least I got the FTF, not that it matters much.

Fate did intervene a bit in this, since I ran into (at least close at first) to three teens that were already lost up there and got them back on the trail, and lectured a bit, they were not caching, but I feel that it did avert a SAR callout later in the day!.

 

Doug 7rxc

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Not sure if it qualifies as a near miss, but I've been the most scared when I have had a heard of cattle running at me. 2 instances stick out the most. The first time I was in the middle of a field, and had no choice but to face them and order them to stop. They did, though they continued to follow me in a threatening manner.

The second example they were really running hard in "formation" towards me, but I was near a gate and managed to climb over it to safety. Not sure if they would have stopped or not.

Cattle in fields with public footpath access are a general hazard in the UK. See BBC article for an example. It talks about 18 people being killed over an 8 year period. (No geocachers as far as I know).

 

It doesn't stop me going into fields with cattle. But - I will avoid them if I can find another route; or if they seem particularly aggressive.

 

Different hazard.. I did once find myself climbing up a tree to find a cache, and getting myself in a position where I was momentarily stuck and not sure if I could get down. But that scare was short lived, and I did get myself down. In hindsight, it was probably a bit too much for me, especially on my own.

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I don't agree with the near miss idea (there is such a thing as too much information), but I too ran out of water when I went for just one more. It was so hard to get to the area, I wasn't going to grab just one so an hour later, I run out of water, hottest day this year in Michigan. I keep going and start eating all the black berries growing along the trail. I finally realize just how far I am from my car and I attempt a cross country trek and not follow the trail. So, brambles will slow you down and tire out your legs quickly. I make it to my car, drink about 3 quarts of water and on the way home, I have to stop a few times because my legs and back are cramping up. I contiunue to have heat cramp related issues for about 3 days. I never had to utilize the restroom after all that water I drank, that is how much my body needed it. I have since started carrying a camelback with me on all my country treks.

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I don't agree with the near miss idea (there is such a thing as too much information),

 

:blink: Umm, okay. You're entitled. But you just gave a very good near miss-report. :anibad:

 

It doesn't matter that you gave a similar scenario. Each near miss is still unique to the user and very valuable.

 

In fact, we are already illustrating a pattern of at risk behaviors (just 10 posts into the thread) to the folks who care to read this thread and learn from the mistakes others have made.

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Not sure if it qualifies as a near miss, but I've been the most scared when I have had a heard of cattle running at me. 2 instances stick out the most. The first time I was in the middle of a field, and had no choice but to face them and order them to stop. They did, though they continued to follow me in a threatening manner.

The second example they were really running hard in "formation" towards me, but I was near a gate and managed to climb over it to safety. Not sure if they would have stopped or not.

Cattle in fields with public footpath access are a general hazard in the UK. See BBC article for an example. It talks about 18 people being killed over an 8 year period. (No geocachers as far as I know).

 

It doesn't stop me going into fields with cattle. But - I will avoid them if I can find another route; or if they seem particularly aggressive.

 

Different hazard.. I did once find myself climbing up a tree to find a cache, and getting myself in a position where I was momentarily stuck and not sure if I could get down. But that scare was short lived, and I did get myself down. In hindsight, it was probably a bit too much for me, especially on my own.

 

I've had a similar experience. The cattle never charged us butwe did have to walk among them to get to a cache that was down the trail that went through the area that they were grazing in. Felt uncomfortable the entire way, especially when we had to walk by a rather large bull (no horns) that was standing in the middle of the trail. He turned and faced us both as we approached and went past him but he never moved from the spot he was standing in. I wonder if the fact that we had our dog with us (who was going crazy trying to get off of his leash) had anything to do with that...

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I don't agree with the near miss idea (there is such a thing as too much information),

 

:blink: Umm, okay. You're entitled. But you just gave a very good near miss-report. :anibad:

 

It doesn't matter that you gave a similar scenario. Each near miss is still unique to the user and very valuable.

 

In fact, we are already illustrating a pattern of at risk behaviors (just 10 posts into the thread) to the folks who care to read this thread and learn from the mistakes others have made.

Interesting that the very terminology 'near miss' tries to diminish how serious things were at the time... your George Carlin I believe made that part of one of his dialogues. A near miss actually is a HIT. A near hit is a miss. Is that part of our self defense mechanisms to minimize risk? or justify taking one?

 

I have been fond of a saying "Learn by the mistakes of others! You won't live long enough to make them all yourself", which sums up your last comment. There are lots of others that stick with me as well. I TRY to live by "Never make the same mistake... ONCE", but it is tough. So far it has kept me out of most trouble, but not always. I can only claim that so far I'm still here.

 

I do what I can to encourage people to make at least minimal preparation, to let others know what they are intending to do, and to give assistance when it is required, safely. I hope your projects here take off, there are many of us that cache and do SAR and outdoor education as well. There is lots of good stuff spread throughout the Forums to compile and make links to eventually.

We should all note those as we cross them or search for them and make some listings. If the Safety Forum takes place they could be listed there.

 

Doug 7rxc

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I don't agree with the near miss idea (there is such a thing as too much information),

 

:blink: Umm, okay. You're entitled. But you just gave a very good near miss-report. :anibad:

 

It doesn't matter that you gave a similar scenario. Each near miss is still unique to the user and very valuable.

 

In fact, we are already illustrating a pattern of at risk behaviors (just 10 posts into the thread) to the folks who care to read this thread and learn from the mistakes others have made.

 

This is going off topic but where I work, there are areas with a lot of vehicle traffic inside a building so everyone in that area must wear an orange vest. Now, because everyone in the building needs to walk through that area every day, everyone wears an orange vest. An orange vest dose not stand out any more.

 

We also HAVE to identify and report one near miss daily to our superiors. They figure, this way, we'll get rid of all the bad behaviors in the work place. Nope, now it's just a pencil whip to satisfy the requirements. No one cares any more.

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I don't agree with the near miss idea (there is such a thing as too much information),

 

:blink: Umm, okay. You're entitled. But you just gave a very good near miss-report. :anibad:

 

It doesn't matter that you gave a similar scenario. Each near miss is still unique to the user and very valuable.

 

In fact, we are already illustrating a pattern of at risk behaviors (just 10 posts into the thread) to the folks who care to read this thread and learn from the mistakes others have made.

 

This is going off topic but where I work, there are areas with a lot of vehicle traffic inside a building so everyone in that area must wear an orange vest. Now, because everyone in the building needs to walk through that area every day, everyone wears an orange vest. An orange vest dose not stand out any more.

 

We also HAVE to identify and report one near miss daily to our superiors. They figure, this way, we'll get rid of all the bad behaviors in the work place. Nope, now it's just a pencil whip to satisfy the requirements. No one cares any more.

 

WOW. :yikes:

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Thanks for starting this thread, Snoogans. Keeping safe while geocaching is such an important topic.

 

I'm trying to think of any near misses I've had. There are not too many, fortunately, but the ones that stand out to me are several where GZ was on the edge of a cliff. It's so easy to trip over a root or rock, I think we've all done it while caching, but to do so on the edge of a cliff could have fatal consequences. One time recently there was a viewing platform at the edge of a cliff, overlooking a waterfall. The cache, at least I can assume by the vague hint, was under the viewing platform. To get there, I had to go past the barriers (that should have been a clue to me right away :rolleyes:) and walk on a slope to get under the platform. While I was poking around looking for the cache, I slipped. Fortunately I was able to grab onto something, but if I hadn't, I could easily have gone over the edge. At this point, I stopped and came home and wrote a complaint on the cache page. It's really really hard to walk away and DNF, but on the occasion this happens, I remind myself the most important thing to me is to come home safe to my family. I'm worth more than a smilie.

 

Another time, I was taking a group of families caching and we arrived at GZ, on the edge of a cliff, with a dropoff to a lake below. My GPS was telling me the cache was over the edge and I walked right up to the edge to take a look. One of the young kids ran right up beside me. What could have happened if they slipped? Kids trip and fall all the time. We searched a bit more but I decided to call the search off. I wondered later what was the point of putting a cache right on the edge of a cliff? If I wasn't looking for it, I would never have ventured that close to the edge. Sometimes we do things that we would never normally do. Why not put the cache 20 feet further back? Is the thrill of looking for a cache on the edge of a cliff worth risking someone's life?

 

Re: water. There are a couple times I ran out of water, but nothing too dramatic. Now, I carry water purification tablets with me always.

Edited by The_Incredibles_
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Thanks for starting this thread, Snoogans. Keeping safe while geocaching is such an important topic.

snip%<...

 

Another time, I was taking a group of families caching and we arrived at GZ, on the edge of a cliff, with a dropoff to a lake below. My GPS was telling me the cache was over the edge and I walked right up to the edge to take a look. One of the young kids ran right up beside me. What could have happened if they slipped? Kids trip and fall all the time. We searched a bit more but I decided to call the search off. I wondered later what was the point of putting a cache right on the edge of a cliff? If I wasn't looking for it, I would never have ventured that close to the edge. Sometimes we do things that we would never normally do. Why not put the cache 20 feet further back? Is the thrill of looking for a cache on the edge of a cliff worth risking someone's life?

 

Re: water. There are a couple times I ran out of water, but nothing too dramatic. Now, I carry water purification tablets with me always.

 

The cache I mentioned in post #11 was also a cliff edge. Given that there were other locations within feet, I was wondering about that myself. HOWEVER, the cache was rated high on terrain enough that I would not complain, and there was a fairly safe approach to it, as I found. I agree that low rated caches should be not like that. And that they should NOT be presented as normal, family friendly in nature... despite the fact that I know many families that would relish the adventure if properly rated and presented.

In fact I made the choice to go for the one I did, took the risks with due consideration etc. and got it done mostly safely. That is the better (not perfect way, I think)method. No need to cram things down anyone's throat, or make it over blown in terms of description either... just 'be aware' or like the Boy Scouts 'be prepared'.

 

Also interesting to me both here and other places, is the recurring theme of WATER supply. Heat, fatigue and dehydration are very common factors in 'near miss' scenarios. I took lots and still ran short, and there were no obvious spots to refill short of the pending rainstorm. By the way, purification tablets only work if you have liquid water to treat. Also there was once in another setting a big discussion of just how long a life period they had especially after opening the first time. The more common ones are I believe mostly tetraglycinehydroperiodide (? best guess) and as I recall was listed with a life of 60 days after opening. But... I could never find out when the clock started ticking, as in was that the date they were unpacked and rebottled for sale from bulk, the day YOU opened your bottle, or actually counting from the day they were mixed up in the first place. Or even if you are allergic to iodine products in the first place (lots are), which might be more related to other iodine treatments for water.

There are lots of other treatments available of course and micro filters as well, but they all require water to treat.

 

Doug 7rxc

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Well my near-misses caching have luckily been mostly First Aids. I have learned especially well that kudzu in the southeast has a habit of growing right over holes and briers with no problem, in that case the apparent lay of the land may not be the actual topographic lay of the land. Plain ole pine straw can do this as well to a certain extent, but I've never seen anything like kudzu anywhere else in my travels. In Alabama I actually walked into a 10-15 ft deep abandoned gravel pit because it was completely canopied by kudzu, luckily those vines are fairly strong when one grabs handfuls of them as they fall through and I ended up suspended about 4 ft off the ground tangled in the vines.

 

I had to walk through a blackberry bramble FOUR TIMES in Louisiana because of rain and because I dropped my camera when I fell off an upturned trees rootball. That was a five or six foot drop onto my back that could have been pretty serious. Here's my log: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/log.aspx?LUID=9064ba5e-5369-4575-bb68-9172e8aa401a

 

Also, once I was walking around in an area that had been used to discard lumber looking for a cache. I felt pressure in my right foot and looked down to see a large nail sticking through the TOP of my shoe. After a quick freak out, I sat down (carefully) and jerked the board and nail out of my foot before the endophines wore off. I was lucky to be current on my tetnus shot, but as you can imagine that foot was worthless for several weeks. Still have a nice scar on the top and bottom of my foot.

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what a great thread, I actually enjoy reading these stories. I have a couple stories to share.

 

The first one is when my caching buddy and I planned a 3 day canoe trip and on the first day we flipped our canoe on the last section of rapids. It was the only class II rapid and it was only a drop, we hit the only submerged rock and quickly turned the canoe over. We didn't get on our knees to lower the center of balance, nor did my friend prepare to get wet. I lost my wedding ring and ruined my 400 dollar camera. We were miles from nowhere and still had about 15 miles to go before our first stop and 12 caches to grab. I studied the river for months, and I knew deep down that those were the last rapids, but I was on the verge of panic, my topo map in my GPS showed another "X" ahead, I thought the X's were rapids, all the other X's have been. It wasn't. I wanted to quit...that was the first time in my life I almost lost it and totally freaked out, you can get your self killed if you panic, I calmed myself down, ate a early lunch, dried off our gear and off we went. Luckly I was alittle more prepared, everything I had was in ziplocs and my tent and sleeping bag were in double trashbags. My friend not so lucky. lol

 

The second one was were I went on my first solo 5 mile hike to the top of Turtle Head Peak in Red Rock Canyon State park near Las Vegas, I went prepared, 9 of 10 essentials (no shelter temps in 80s in the day 40s at night) camel pak with 2 liter bag. I found 5 or 6 caches that day, hiked about 8 miles (alot for me then) I ran out of water half way down the mountain. I also had hiking shoes that didnt fit right, and my front big toes were killing me, had blisters under my big toe and my toes were black and blue for months. Luckly I only needed 2 miles to get to the car, and it was 80 degrees, but I so needed the water!

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Working a cache in northern Mendocino County, Calif. Co-ords favored a guard rail along Hwy 101 briefly looked from the safe side of the guard rail. Did not locate so turned away and headed out. After taking three steps away someone rattled along the guardrail in excess of the posted 65 mph..

 

Shudder to think of the huge potential for a negative outcome.

 

P.S. Co-ords deliberately off to increase the difficulty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I thought I put it into my log, but it looks like I didn't. This is one of the caches that I use to own, but was adopted out when I moved, its a difficulty 1.5 terrain of a 1, its GC20DYM The White Tower of Minas Tirith

 

I was out doing a maintenance run with my wife, and we were stopping by all of our caches, this was one of the last ones we did for the day and while walking across the flat, handicap accessible terrain, I placed my foot into a gopher hole, and almost broke my foot, instead I injured the tendons in the arch of my foot, and almost put me out of work for a few days.

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I injured myself badly going after a relatively easy cache on level ground, just off a paved bike trail. I was totally focused on my GPS, moving forward in a grassy area and stepped into a foxhole. BOTH feet got caught up resulting in a broken right ankle AND broken left foot. My cell phone was back in the car a mile away, and I was alone. I had not told anyone where I was going. I managed to slowly hobble the distance back to my car and drove to the ER. I have never experienced such pain in my life, and it got worse later after the adreneline wore off.

Next came surgery, hardware installed in the foot, 3 days in the hospital, casts, 4 months of extrmely limited mobility using a wheelchair and crutches, 3 months off work, another surgery to remove some of the hardware, and a couple months of physical therapy.

I am almost fully recovered now, but I learned some valuable lessons..... Watch where you are walking, carry a cell phone and tell someone where you are going.

This accident was totally my own fault and could have been avoided if I had paid attention to where my feet were going. Move with your eyes first, then your feet.

Edited by a2n
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My near miss after finding Triad 1 of 3

 

My log, dated 1/25/2009

 

I headed out to this one after finding Triad 3 of 3.

I thought I found a good place to cross the creek, come to find out it wasn’t that good and I got a little water in my boots. :huh:

I found the Cache after a brief search.

Looks like critters have been chewing on this but it’s still in good shape.

I signed the log and headed back to my vehicle.

I encountered the creek at a different location.

I spotted a tree that had fallen across the creek and the ice appeared to be thick and solid under it.

I headed down, grabbing the branches of the fallen tree as I gingerly crossed the creek.. when.. all of the sudden, CRACK! - SPLASH! :o

Yes, the ice broke and the branch that I was holding onto broke too.

I was now in water up to my chest!

I felt the current pushing me as if it wanted me to go under the ice and take me down the creek.

I don’t think so! I used my tripod and smashed the ice that was in between me and the shoreline. :unsure:

I managed to shimmy up to the shore line and pull myself up out of this icy mess.

I poured some of the water out of my boots and made the decision to go over to the Hwy 58 and seek assistance.

A nice couple pulled over. I explained what happened and they took me back to my vehicle (I’m so glad I live in Iowa). They just wanted to know how I got over “that fence”? I said “I don’t know, I just knew I needed to”. :(

I got back to my vehicle, got naked and dried off.

I put on some dry socks and some of the spare clothes that I keep in the truck.

Turned the heater on high and warmed up a little.

Glad to report, no damage! I thought I’d at least suffer some frost-bite. :yikes:

I’m glad that I swallowed my pride a bit and asked for help rather than trying to make it back to my vehicle! :rolleyes:

Thank You Iowa Tom for the adventure and my new respect for what appears to be solid ice! ;)

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I don't agree with the near miss idea (there is such a thing as too much information),

 

:blink: Umm, okay. You're entitled. But you just gave a very good near miss-report. :anibad:

 

It doesn't matter that you gave a similar scenario. Each near miss is still unique to the user and very valuable.

 

In fact, we are already illustrating a pattern of at risk behaviors (just 10 posts into the thread) to the folks who care to read this thread and learn from the mistakes others have made.

 

This is going off topic but where I work, there are areas with a lot of vehicle traffic inside a building so everyone in that area must wear an orange vest. Now, because everyone in the building needs to walk through that area every day, everyone wears an orange vest. An orange vest dose not stand out any more.

 

We also HAVE to identify and report one near miss daily to our superiors. They figure, this way, we'll get rid of all the bad behaviors in the work place. Nope, now it's just a pencil whip to satisfy the requirements. No one cares any more.

 

WOW. :yikes:

 

This was true where I used to work, also. For a while, they were serious about safety and near-misses. A number of years into it, and a safety report meant someone was gonna get in trouble, a near-miss meant the whole crew was gonna get chewed out.

 

The pencil-whipping became more important than the Employees' well-being.

 

BOT--

 

A friend and I were spending the day caching all over the county. We were getting tired, but the weather was good, it was Summer, and we were having a ball.

 

We went into one of the local forest preserves to bag a couple that we had missed on an earlier trip. First one went fine. The second one, not so much.

 

After bushwhacking through a couple of hundred feet of ferns, tress, and mole-holes, we found the cache, and signed the log. On the way out, we discussed calling it a day after this one. My buddy crossed over a downed tree, and I started to. I managed to loose my footing, and fell off the tree, landing on my butt, and slamming my back into said down tree. He heard me fall, turned around, and he face went white. From his POV, it looked like a branch on that tree had gone through me, and was sticking out of my chest. From my POV, that thing only missed by a couple of inches.

 

It was so close, that my shirt was pretty well ripped, and I had a dandy bruise.

 

All because we had pushed a little too hard.

 

As you might imagine, we stopped for the day, went back to town, and had a number of beers.

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We had a near miss the other day. We just got our boat out for the summer and since crabbing season just opened, we planned to go and drop off some pots and while they were soaking run out to some nearby islands to grab some 5 star terrain caches.

 

Our boat is a 19' recreation open bow boat that we usually use for water skiing and tubing, a great boat but not really made for the Puget Sound. The sun was out and the water calm so we headed out. We've had this boat for several years but this is our maiden voyage into the sound. We dropped our first two pots and I tried to start the boat to head to drop the third, and it started a little rough. Our boat has been super-reliable so this gave me pause. It started though so we motored over and dropped our third pot. I left the engine running this time but it died. I tried starting it but it wouldn't start this time. Just then our 9 year old daughter says, with panic in her voice, "Dad, there's A LOT of water back here!" I pull the engine cover and sure enough we're taking on water and the engine compartment is full. With no bilge pump and no VHF radio I'm wondering who I can call on my cell phone before we sink. What to do now?

 

Luckily we had stayed in a high traffic area and I was able to flag down a passing boat who towed us to shore. It turned out to be a broken power steering cooler so we only took on water while the engine was running, so the engine quitting actually helped us. Lesson learned though, we won't be going on the water again without a working bilge pump AND a VHF radio so that we can call for help if needed.

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