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Lost or injured while caching.


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I've been lost (for about 3 hours) and injured (though not badly enough to immobilize me) while Geocaching.


The first was on a business trip where I was by myself. I generally would recommend that you never go by yourself, but when you're on a business trip with nothing to do at night for a few weeks .... lets just say I'm now one of the most active cachers in Rhode Island. I digress. Although in the woods I checked for cellphone signal every fifteen minutes or so as I hiked and eventually got a one bar signal strength. I used it to call home, and of course no one was there. I left a message that I was at X cache and if I didn't call back by the middle of the night - to call the RI State Police and Parks Dept. to come find me. Sure enough I called back a few hours later from my rental car. From there on in I call home and tell them which caches I'm going to and then I call after I'm done letting them know I'm okay.


About getting hurt, I fell off my mountain bike and landed on a tree stump badly brusing my leg. I'm suprised it did not break or get impaled, so I 'rode-it-off' and lived with the bruise for a few weeks. Luckily I was with someone else -and- had my cell phone with me.


So ... don't go alone, call someone and tell them where you're going, carry your cell phone (even disconnected can call 911) and I also carry a Motorola walkabout with me as well.


- Dekaner of Team KKF2A

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If you have a GPS. and you should have marked your parking spot. plus be carring a spare set of batteries, not to mention a compass. How do you get lost??


At the very least I keep my House coords in my Etrex. plus I never hit the trail without my compass, spare batteries, an marking the entrence of the trail head. But then again I like to live by the boyscout motto, Always be prepared.


Cache On!!



"Big Dog"

-Clan Ferguson

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I got lost once in Louisiana. My wife stayed at the car because of the mosquitoes. I ventured off down the trail. The cache was maybe 100 feet off the trail. I did not even think to mark the trail. I found the cache, quickly wrote the note, and replaced the cache. I then started walking. I got totally confused. Every direction looked the same...flat, thick vegetation, overcast day. I tried to follow the track I had made coming in, but it didn't really work in the thick underbrush. After about 45 minutes, I came upon a trail. Luckily, I chose to walk in the right direction. If it was not a swamp filled with mosquitoes and a snake or two, I probably would have been able to find my way out sooner. I got distracted and disoriented.


The Bottom Line: Create a waypoint if you are in an area that is unfamiliar, or has poor visibility.



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I would recommend everyone get in the habit of marking their cars as waypoints. In my lost scenerio, I ended up using my digital bread crumbs to get me headed in the right direction.


I did a lot of bushwhacking as I was on the wrong trail to get to the cache, and I knew that this was -not- the way to get back, especially in the dark.


Always keep in mind that your waypoint is as the crow flies, and isn't necessarily the path you wish to take!


- Dekaner of Team KKF2A

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How about carrying a whistle? Even the most newbie hiker would respond to a person blowing an S.O.S. on thier whistle.


This isn't an ad, but The Acme Company of Britian makes two of the loudest whistles in production; The Thunderer and The Boatswain's. Both can be heard over a mile!


I've been carrying Acme Thunderer's for years, and give them as gifts to friends who discover hiking and such! I "never" hike without one!!


Mike (The DirtMan) Pellerin

aka Badger



Jason Dobson

aka "Jay" "J"


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I often leave whistles as trade items in caches I find. It's usually one of the first items taken by subsequent finders.


Unless you are a long ways off the beaten track, normally there would be someone in range of a whistle. Even a $0.99 plastic referees whistle from the sporting goods store can be heard from quite a distance.


I have a Storm whistle in my cache pack at all times. The manufacturer claims it's the loudest whistle on the market. I've used it to help gather a dispersed group of lost cachers.


Now where did I park my car??????? monkes.gif

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If go caching or hiking alone, I bring the cell phone and I have a survival whistle in my first aid kit. I guess that's about all ya can do, outisde letting someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.


I just read a horrible story in Backpacker magazine about a guy who was backpacking alone. He varied from the route he left with his family and got his foot caught in a rock. When he didn't return, the search parties were sent along his planned round. The poor guy spent 10 days stuck there, all the while recording his thoughts in his journal. Being that he had his pack with him, he had food and water for a few days, but that ran out. Someone stumbled on his body a few days after he died.

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Originally posted by BrianSnat:

I just read a horrible story in Backpacker magazine about a guy who was backpacking alone. He varied from the route he left with his family and got his foot caught in a rock. When he didn't return, the search parties were sent along his planned round. The poor guy spent 10 days stuck there, all the while recording his thoughts in his journal. Being that he had his pack with him, he had food and water for a few days, but that ran out. Someone stumbled on his body a few days after he died.


This sounded too awful to be true, but we've just returned from backpacker.com and are *completely* depressed. Sheesh.

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I never got lost, but I've lost my GPS case, batteries, and today my cell phone.


Luckily, I found the cell phone, and another cacher found and returned the GPS case and batteries.


(I always take a whistle, cell phone, and usually an FRS/GMRS radio.)



...If life was fair, a banana split would cure cancer.

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I wrap my body in bubble wrap so that if I fall, I am protected icon_rolleyes.gif...It is harder to move but well worth the protection! And as a side note people that I see on the trails stay away from me! icon_wink.gif


Darkmoon icon_biggrin.gif


All you have to do to fly is throw yourself at the ground and miss!

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I also got lost one month ago, I used my GPS but since my batteries were very low I switched the track Back function OFF. icon_confused.gif Then I went out of my car, in the middle of an unknown forest (in the middle of the night) , without Mag Lite, without cell phone... the cache was only a few hundred meters away. The result is obvious, I didn't find the cache and desperately searched my car for about one hour. icon_eek.gif

I went back last week-end and guess what... i found the cache but without my Garmin I would have bee lost a second time !! This time the sun was bright and the TRACK BACK function was ON. icon_biggrin.gif I was sure to walk in the correct direction but my GPS told me that I was not. The device corrected my walk back to my car two times, Everything looked the same, and since I was on top of a hill, I didn't know where to go...

Believe me, I've bee a (maybe bad icon_biggrin.gif) boyscout for about sixteen years,... but since last week-end's experience, my Garmin will always follow me, no matter where I go. icon_razz.gif




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I did get a mild sprain yesterday.


I have to stop wearing bifocals when caching. Glancing down to check your footing while walking is very disorienting with progressives. Thw forest floor seems to swim around, and I tripped. Whoops!



...If life was fair, a banana split would cure cancer.

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I got pretty cut up by picker bushes yesterday, does that count? icon_wink.gif


I started marking the car as a waypoint yesterday. I'm trying to get into the habit before I get into the harder to find caches.


The calling someone before and after is a good idea, I think I'll do that.


Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

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A broken ankle...Well it start one April afternoon. The time just change, and guess what, there was a new cache near my work. Mrs. C and I thought we could make a FTF (Frist to Find), and to top it off, it was an Otis hide. It was Otis Pug 302 - The Art of Otis Pug II. Well silly us thought that we could be FTF that late in the day, yeh right. Well we drove to the area, and parked our truck. We unload our packs and venus the Rotty. The GPS said to east at about 700 feet, thats not bad. The trail was a little thin, but we have done worst, I mean at the time we had 66 finds, so we had this game down pat. Off we went and Mrs. C in front. We must of taken the single "goat" trail that Lou had also taken. About 3/4 of the way down this steep hill, Mrs. C lost her footing and thought she would add more adventure to this trip, and break her ankle. So after helping her down to the edge, where there was about a 15 foot drop off to the main trail. Well thats when we called 911. The fire department came, and they started their SAR Operations. They were having a hard time getting to her with a vehicle to get her out. But she was kind of happy, she was spending 5 hours in the dark, cold wilderness with twhat she said was "Two cute fireman". Right before they got her out, I took a rough head count of rescuers. There were about 17 fireman, 3 cops (one that was my shadow cuz I was kind of anxious) 2 ambulances. Oh I forgot two helicopter were circling above. Well after 5 hours, I saw Mrs. C from the jungles of Orange Counties wilderness parks. She indeed broke her ankle and spent a few weeks in a cast. This is just one of the memorable hunts we have had. Oh I amost forgot, the FTF goes to guess who, Fullon, and sir Mrs. C would like to see you and Otis in a dark alley someday

This is a part of my journal from our web page www.scgeocachers.org


Life Thru Geocaching...Geocaching Thru Life


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Took a wrong turn once.


Lost was before geocaching. "Lets take this shortcut back"


Many hours later the cell phone rings. "Hey when are you guys going to get home we want to go out tonight, "We are lost we don't know when we will get back"


Half an hour passes and the cell phone rings "Are you about out yet?" "No, we are still lost and making good time doing it, we still don't konw when we will get out"


Repeat the conversation several more times before we climb our 5th canyon wall and find our way back to the rig.


We weren't really lost, but we had no idea there were so many dadgum canyons with cliff's to scale on our 'short' route back.


Wherever you go there you are.

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amazing isn't it how easy it is to get turned around in the woods, especially if concentrating on the gpsr arrow. take time to look around some so you can recognize landmarks on the trip out, mark the car, carry a compass and note which way would get you back, always carry spare batteries, and remember that the difference between a hike and an adventure is in the planning. see you out there. -harry

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Got to the top of a mountain here in AZ to place my "Lost Ark" cache. At the top after an exhausting three and a half hour climb and the sun is setting. Now it's dark and I have to bushwack my way down the mountain, no flashlight, no trail, for almost three hours and I had already run out of water. Sprained my ankle during a hurried rockslide down the incline. I had to get down off the mountain, RIGHT NOW. The panic is the hardest thing to overcome, I kept telling myself to go slow, no rush, no way are they going to find me dead only 3 miles away from my truck. Thankfully, it was a full moon that night which helped me (somewhat) to distinguish which bushes were "friendlies" and which were cacti...ouch...after I took it slow, my eyes adjusted and it was actually a nice moonlit adventure, everything was illuminated in an eerie blue light, and you could hear the desert coyotes howling off in the distance...kinda nice, actually...

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I have a terrible sence of direction and started geocaching to try and improve map reading, etc. I often cache alone, though never at night (intentionally anyway) and carry a survival kit with a space blanket, whistle, cell phone, flashlight and more. I always mark my car and the trailhead and then go for it! I have loads of fun, great exercise (especially with all the stuff I carry around) and my favorites are the hikes into new places. And my sence of direction... is still lousy, but at least I can find my way back.

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I've never been seriously injured, but I think I've fallen at least once while searching for every cache I've found. I'm graceful like that.


Mr. 0


"Remember that nature and the elements are neither your friend or your enemy - they are actually disinterested."


Department of the Army Field Manual FM 21-76 "Survival" Oct. 1970

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Sorry, Mr. 0 hasn't fallen, it's the other half of team M&M Speedracers that has.


Mr. 0


"Remember that nature and the elements are neither your friend or your enemy - they are actually disinterested."


Department of the Army Field Manual FM 21-76 "Survival" Oct. 1970

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I spent sixteen years in the USAF, mostly packing survival kits, and YES the kits worked well, and there was a cache bag. I was doing Arctic Indoctrination training in Anchorage during my first three years, and I learned that nature gives no slack to the unprepared, the indifferent, or the "intellectually challenged".


We had some basic survival items in a minimum kit.


Some of them are hard to get in the civilian sector, but substitute if you can.


First Priority- Signalling devices.


1. A transciever/Cell phone is the best and easiest.

If a cell phone is not along, look for a GENERAL PURPOSE RADIO like the motorola spirit.


The "sport Radios" will work too, but have limited range.


2. A whistle, a good quality whistle can be clearly heard up to a mile over water and half a mile in obstructed land areas. It is however difficult to tell which direction a whistle blast is coming from.


3. a 2x3" survival mirror. These mirrors have a central aiming orifice, and can be made of thick safety glass or polished metal. Flashes are visable to an aircraft at altitude for up to 35 miles. The Mirror is the MOST EFFECTIVE signalling device in daylight.


4. "Pengun" flares -the military versions went up to 1400 feet, the civilian ones are limited to about 500 feet, burn about 15 seconds, and RED is the color to get. Have about 5-7 rounds TIED to the launcher.


5. Hand Held flare/ Smoke signal. These are available in restricted areas, and sometimes you have to settle for a railroad flare, or a hiway flare. The Orange smoke flares are difficult to buy. (replace flares every 24 months)


6. a Pocket Knife. A GOOD 4 inch blade that is sturdy is better than a thin 6 inch blade. I recommend the same knife used in military kits, the stainless steel folding knife, by Camillus.

Your opinion on YOUR knife is just as valid.


7. 100 feet of Nylon 550 Cord. This is the famous parachute shroud line. This with your knife is two-thirds of what you need to have an "easy shelter". (Then there is the HARD way, looking for anything to use instead of making a good one.)


8. a 10x10 heavy plastic sheet, this is the third part of the shelter kit, Use it to gather water, use it to cover with brush to make a "lean-to", use it stay dry. (remember when making a lean-to or other shelter 4 inches of brush will insulate you from the wind, if properly laid, and four inches of "bedding" is needed to insulate the FLOOR. YOU NEED A VENT in your shelter for fresh air.


9 a large sheet of VERY heavy aluminum foil.


This is your cookware. wrap game in it, form a cup out of it, and use it to signal if you have to.


10. First aid kit. a good "auto" first aid kit is a good starting point.


11. A fire starter kit. water proof matches only go so far. I would also add: A butane lighter. and a Magnesium Fire starter Bar with spark insert. (These are about $6 at walmart, Coghlin makes them.) Dont forget- tinder, kindling, small twigs, bigger twigs is the way to start a fire.


PRACTICE making a fire with this.


12. a Lensatic mapping compass, AND a TOPO map if you have one for the local area.


Learn how to ORIENT a map and Compass, and how to bear landmarks. This basic skill is YOUR GPS back-up plan.


13. a canteen, with a carry strap.


Things I would add?


1. An exacto knife with spare blades.

2. Pain relievers, prescription medications

3. BLISTER pads, and a pair of dry ORLON socks.

4 Extra Alcohol wipes, A Bee Sting Kit

5. Travellers Toilet paper.

6. a piece of MOLESKIN (For smoothing friction points in shoes)

7. Spare glasses.

8. a HAT.

9. water purification tablets (Iodine)


Survival doesn't happen to the unprepared, and MENTAL preparation is the most important thing, ALWAYS PLAN AN "OUT", ALWAYS CONSIDER "WHAT IF".

Have a good back up. a scheduled meet back point, and a contact for all parties to check in with if separated.


IF LOST: If you are disoriented, and need to work toward civilization, a general rule ( not absolute) is to follow the water, somewhere downstream is civilization, or a path that will get you out.


Generally lower is warmer, more sheltered and more populated with game. KNOW the area before trekking. Make frequent orientations on your map and do not depend on the GPS as a only navigator.


Jeff Scism, IBSSG [url=http://blacksheep.rootsweb.com/]http://blacksheep.rootsweb.com/[/url


[This message was edited by Flockmaster on June 10, 2003 at 09:59 PM.]

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If You get LOST and start walking cut a NOTCH in the back of the shoe HEELS so that trackers can tell it is YOU they are tracking.


If you come across tracks you then may find you are circling (usually to the right).


Jeff Scism, IBSSG http://blacksheep.rootsweb.com/


Is it more important to know what you are talking about,

or more important to talk about what you know?


the seeking is in the knowing

and not where you've been

Travelling is the going

isn't learning Keen?

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