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colleda

Lost? Not really. Right.

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I had an interesting, no, frustrating experience a couple of days ago in that I got "lost". Really? No, I knew where I was all the time but couldn't find a way to where I wanted to go, so let me explain.

I have a series of caches in a nice coastal area with walking trails/tracks offering magnificent scenery, views, geology, wildlife etc. Its been over 6 years since I set this series and after a couple of caches recently going AWOL and others needing maintenance, I decided I would redo the lot, add a cache or two and/or relocate some others.

First step was I disabled the lot then I set off to collect all the containers and take a few waypoints for possible new placements. I had collected all but the last one and was on my way to it and had the thought that I could fit another between it and the second last spot that I had just left as it was  about a kilometre between the two. I spotted what appeared to be a well used 4WD track going in the general direction of the final cache so I decided to follow it. I had walked past this track many times but had never explored it but thought that is should link up with the , many other tracks that criss-cross the area. I followed it for about 400m and it came to a dead end which seemed odd for what looked like a well used track. On either side of the track is dense scrub.

At this point I should explain the vegetation in this area - it what is known as coastal heath. Generally treeless scrub consisting of melalueuca (commonly called paperbark) and various shrub like plants and the odd spiky vine or three. The melaleuca here grows to about 2 metres or so tall having bare trunks and leafy crown. The other scrub is about 1.5m tall and is very dense and prickly having very small leaves with tiny, sharp points. These two types grow alongside each other. It is quite easy to walk among the melaleuca, zig zagging between the stems and keeping my head down. The lower scrub is described in orienteering parlance as "fight". I decided to look for a good hiding spot among the melaleuca so in I went walking as described above, following a dry creek and, what looked like, wallaby tracks. I found a likely spot and spent about 15 minutes taking averaged waypoints.

I then continued on as my GPS was showing another track about 40-50 metres away in the direction I needed to go. As I went along the crown of the melaleuca got lower, forcing me to bend over into a crouch, and I started running into walls of the other low scrub, too thick to penetrate but low enough to stand up and look over the top of it. I would back track into the less dense melaleuca and try a different direction with the same result.  I was frequently looking at my track on my Garmin Etrex 20 and I could see where I had been and, I could look over the top of the scrub see where I wanted to go but could not get there. I resigned myself to going back out the same way I went in so again, zig zagging through the melaleuca until I recognised the spot where I had taken the waypoints and from there it was a relatively easy walk out into the open. All of this had taken about an hour to travel no more than about 200 or 300 metres max.

Next I took my shirt off to shake out all the leaves, twigs and, possibly, ticks. Then I back tracked along the dead end track I had followed in then rejoined the main track back to the car which was over a kilometre away and forgetting to pick up the last cache. I wonder what an observer would have thought about this 70 year old, grey haired, codger carrying an Aldi shopping bag, limping (with a foot that is still not 100% after multiple fractures three months ago) and staggering about in thick scrub? Crazy? Mad? You bet.

Anyone else had a similar experience in the name of Geocaching?

 

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Yes! I got a reverse 911 call because my geocaching partner knew I was utterly lost, unable to find a way out of the terrain and getting quite stressed. He called to ask about options for help and they insisted on talking to me. So 911 called me. I was so embarrassed, and told them not to send rescue personnel. Then I prayed that I could figure out a way to get out of there. I've never been so happy to find the road! 

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Last weekend I took a wrong turn.  I was only 100m away from the cache and saw a wallaby track which looked easy enough to navigate. It went down a really steep hill and had a gully at the bottom. It was all well and good until I got into the gully and the scrub was so thick (with only 20m to the cache) bear in mind that I had an almost 2yo in the front pack (asleep 😂) and Mr 5yo and geo-doggo on foot behind me. So picture this... Woman, bush bashing through scrub with a child on my front and a child on my back, stopping now and then to also lift 17kg dog🤦‍♀️ then I proceeded to another 3 caches after this one, returned to the car covered in mud and sticks. 

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Those wallabies deliberately make those tracks just to confuse us.

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This seems to be an all-to-frequent occurrence for me, knowing where I want to be but not being able to find a way through the undergrowth. Of course there's nearly always an easier path that I discover on my way out. The worst one I can recall was when I was doing the second and third waypoints of GC6T5PZ, a T5 field puzzle cache that took me three full days of kayaking and hiking to complete. The second day started off well, with an easy paddle across the river and gentle hike to WP2, but from there to WP3 was one of the steepest tracks I've ever encountered, rising 100 metres in just a couple of hundred horizontal metres.

 

DSC_0264.jpg.a78953758aae28c8c137b9a603da2050.jpg
 

Not expecting such a climb, I only had my small 1 litre water bottle with me, and with the temperature climbing into the high 30s or low 40s C instead of the forecast high 20s, by the time I'd made it out along the ridge to WP3 and started heading back I'd completely run dry. With dehydration and heat exhaustion setting in, I missed a right-angle bend in the track at the saddle at the bottom of the hill and continued along what appeared to be a track up the next hill, only to become ensnared in a thicket of lantana. Not having the energy left to backtrack, I just pushed my way through, ending up covered in scratches from head to toe (I was wearing only board shorts and a hat) by the time I got to the bottom and found the correct track. I finally staggered back to where I'd left the kayak and just sat soaking up to my neck in the river to cool off enough for the paddle back across. Luckily there was a shop on the other shore where I bought an assortment of drinks, spending the best part of an hour sitting in the shade slowly sipping them before hoisting the kayak onto the car and driving home.

 

 

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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

This seems to be an all-to-frequent occurrence for me, knowing where I want to be but not being able to find a way through the undergrowth. Of course there's nearly always an easier path that I discover on my way out. The worst one I can recall was when I was doing the second and third waypoints of GC6T5PZ, a T5 field puzzle cache that took me three full days of kayaking and hiking to complete. The second day started off well, with an easy paddle across the river and gentle hike to WP2, but from there to WP3 was one of the steepest tracks I've ever encountered, rising 100 metres in just a couple of hundred horizontal metres.

 

DSC_0264.jpg.a78953758aae28c8c137b9a603da2050.jpg
 

Not expecting such a climb, I only had my small 1 litre water bottle with me, and with the temperature climbing into the high 30s or low 40s C instead of the forecast high 20s, by the time I'd made it out along the ridge to WP3 and started heading back I'd completely run dry. With dehydration and heat exhaustion setting in, I missed a right-angle bend in the track at the saddle at the bottom of the hill and continued along what appeared to be a track up the next hill, only to become ensnared in a thicket of lantana. Not having the energy left to backtrack, I just pushed my way through, ending up covered in scratches from head to toe (I was wearing only board shorts and a hat) by the time I got to the bottom and found the correct track. I finally staggered back to where I'd left the kayak and just sat soaking up to my neck in the river to cool off enough for the paddle back across. Luckily there was a shop on the other shore where I bought an assortment of drinks, spending the best part of an hour sitting in the shade slowly sipping them before hoisting the kayak onto the car and driving home.

 

 

That sounds like a tough hike Jeff.

I thought about taking a bottle of water with me as I had one in the car but being a winters' day I thought I wouldn't be away too long. Mistake. Feeling dehydrated on the walk back to the car I spotted a bloke in the driveway of his home and asked if I could have a drink from his garden tap. No worries. I had my drink and explained where I had been and what I was doing. I showed him one of my small Sistema containers and opened it to show him the log and trade items, there was a 1951 penny I'd left in it on my last maintenance run. He looked about a similar age to me and asked him what was his birth year. He said "1951"!  I gave him the penny and said it was lucky.

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I had one memory that was brought up by this thread. Nine years ago we went into some slot canyons, where we found two earthcaches: PEEK-A-BOO CANYON and Spooky Canyon (as usual, I look at those logs and realize that I never posted pictures).

 

It was a long drive to get there, and about a mile hike in to the slots. We started a bit later in the day. We visited two slots in the daylight, with it almost becoming too dark to see out of the second. Then we partially visited another slot in the full darkness. Then, we were faced with a hike back in the dark (we had flashlights). If I remember correctly, the first part of the hike is fairly obvious, but then it's just open from there. We waymarked the car, but it was just so dark and disorienting trying to find the best way out. It was a bit disconcerting. There was just so many walls and cliffs and ravines, so trying to figure out the best route got us turned around. We got ourselves going up a hill somehow, and it turned steep and rocky, so we were rock climbing/scrambling in the dark to get up it. I guess we could have turned around, but it was the shortest way to our car at that point. I'm sure we weren't in any real danger, but that was one of the most nervous times I've felt while caching.

 

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We started this hobby because I got us lost in a gamelands that I've hunted since a kid (around when God made dirt).

Just a couple years, rhodo and barberry took over the area enough that all known trails were overgrown.

Picked up two blue legends so it doesn't happen again (she hunts too), and this hobby was one of the pamphlets that were included.   :)

 

Quite a few years ago I did a short hike, caching along a ridge to a cave off shades of death road,  from Jenny Jump state forest. 

GPSr and flashlight died roughly the same time.   AAs and 123As, the other 2/3rds "borrowed" my spares and I didn't notice. 

Luckily there was a full moon out, and with the light snow earlier,  was able to follow my footprints back to the truck.  

When caching, have two in my pocket ever since.   ;)

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6 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

Quite a few years ago I did a short hike, caching along a ridge to a cave off shades of death road...

Yikes, that sounds like the opening of a horror movie!

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