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OW! Injuries during geocaching

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I'm curious if anyone has ever gotten injured (running the gambit from minor to severe) while geocaching or otherwise tromping around with a GPS unit in their hand.


I've had a few close calls, lots of briar scratches, and most recently a fall on my butt while I was heading down a steep 200' (50-60 degree) incline, which was muddy and lacking handholds. A nasty little descent, plopping my hiking pole into the ground, shift weight, pray that you won't fall on your face, roll, and snap your neck! Fun.


So, any injuries out there?





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When I first started geocaching, I bushwacked a mile through some thick woods and wound up near a swamp. I didn't have the common sense to go around it, so I decided to cross over by stepping on some logs. Well, one log I stepped on rolled over and I fell. I landed right over the lower half of my back, I got my my legs right up to my knees soaking wet and lost my cache papers. I got discouraged and walked back to my car. I only missed a couple days of school, but I still feel that pain once in a while.




"If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure."

- Dan Quayle


"Si nous ne r?ussissons pas nous courons le risque d'?chec."

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One guy died whike geocaching. I think it was heatstroke. I guess that's the ultimate injury.


I impaled my hand on a reed stump and lost a lot of blood. Also twisted my ankle once, but that's about it.


"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues" -Abraham Lincoln

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Ultimate injury should serve it's cause by being the ultimate warning to all of us. Pushing it over the edge can be fun... but... use your head! This guy was a seasoned desert hiker... his edge might be steeper than some of ours...but watch your step and think it well...the prize is not worth a life.



[This message was edited by Ttepee on May 03, 2003 at 08:50 PM.]

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I had seven stitches installed in my head as a result of inattentiveness while logging "Forbes Mill" in CA. There wasn't a lot of drama involved; I was merely 1900 miles from home, alone, and in the dark. I kept cool and used a fone-a-friend for an E.R. recommendation once I realized that red stuff on my GPS display that I needed to get back to the car wasn't bird droppings and that it was instead blood falling out of my skull.


What really ruined my day was that I had budgeted about six more hours of caching that night (yes, I had spare batteries) and was denied because I'd lost enough blood as to make it impractical. So much for my marathon cache day.


Honestly, I didn't consider the injury serious. When I walked into the E.R., I told the physician what I'd done and what he was going to do and he agreed on all counts that I was as prepared as could be expected (ibuprofen in the backpack to reduce swelling, get it clean, get it cool, keep it pressured, run self-diagnostics for serious head injuries, etc.) It really wasn't too terrible at all, especially when compared to, say, cutting your own arm off with a pocketknife.


I will offer one hint: if you walk into a 7-11 in CA and ask for a restroom with a sink that has cold running water and they tell you they don't have one, promise to stand there and continue contributing to the puddle of blood in their floor freaking out their customers until they miraculously sprout one. Behold - one magically appears.

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I fell on my rump one time while going down a slippery slope. I didn't get hurt too bad, lots of padding down there, but on the way down my only thought was that I was carrying with a round chambered. Heck of a time to think about it. I stood up, brushed myself off and cleared the chamber. The worst part is that I logged a not found that night.


I am not addicted to geocaching, really.

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I was hiking one time and a 800-1000lb boulder rolled down and pinned my right arm. I cut the arm off with a pocket knife, bandaged myself up, repelled 60' down a cliff, and walked to the hospital... ...No, wait that wasn't me.


Been scratched from some nettles a few times. And some bad chafing icon_razz.gif



If trees could scream, would we still cut them down?

Well, maybe if they screamed all the time, for no reason.

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Several months ago I was looking for a cache and a large rock (about 14" across) rolled down and landed on my foot. Fortunately I was wearing steel-toed boots so my foot was fine, but it scraped the shin pretty bad. I think it might have damaged something inside because it still hurts a little, especially while hiking up steep hills. Another time I got shin splints from walking all over downtown Portland for 5 days. Most of it wasn't geocaching, but I went out several times after training was done for the day. Found out I really don't like urban caching that way. Too many people around. Also it was around 9/11/2002 so security was increased quite a bit and I really didn't want to have an encounter with the feds or the local police.

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I was out spelunking with a friend at a cave that had a cache in it. The entrance to the cave was a pit about 20 feet deep, where you had to carefully scramble down the side. On the way out of the cave, he fell into the pit, and landed on solid rock. His face broke the fall (and the fall broke his face). Smashed his cheekbone, a little bleeding, a lot of bruising. He was wearing a helmet, but had unclipped the headstrap since he was "out of the cave", so his helmet fell off when he slipped.


I had my first aid kit with me, and was able to determine he didn't have any immediate brain injuries to worry about, so we managed to get him back down the mountain to the car. One side of his face is flat to this day.


I'll never forget the sound it made when he fell (I was facing the other direction, but I knew immediately what had happened...). He never yelled, just let out a frightened whimper after he hit.

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We had a local cacher (who shall remain anonymous until I get permission to ID him here) slip on some rocks crossing a creek and break his are a few weeks back. I found that same cache last Thursday and am quite impressed with his perseverence. The crossing is only one third of the way into the hike which is over a mile in all. Not only did he press on to the find, but had to recross the same creek on the return! icon_eek.gif


These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes;

Nothing remains quite the same.

Through all of the islands and all of the highlands,

If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane

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Originally posted by evergreenhiker!:

Well, I've almost poked my eye out 3 or 4 times searching for caches in brushy areas.


Mde too. About 18 months ago I pushed a branch out of the way and it snapped back & whacked me directly in the eye. I was stumbling around in a blind stupor when i spotted the cache. the irony of the fact that I couldnt find it in 20 minutes without vision problems is not lost on me. This also ranks as the funniest comment Marc has seen in the forums (or at least it was at the time)


Well turns out I scratched the cornea. Supposedly it healed, but periodically I get the same symptons (waterry eyes with pain when I blot it) eye drops, salve, medication. no good. i don't get it as often now, but I wonder what not getting it fully fixed did to me. I had a fiasco trying to get it fixed when the eye doctor said lasik surgery was needed. the surgeon came in & said "so you decided to get rid of contacts, eh?" Prove he didn't even bother to read my chart. Out the door I went, havent gotten treatm,ent since, mainly because they say they can't see evidence of anything. Trust me, that pain is all the "evidence" I need.


other then the <sarcasm>occasional</sarcasm> scrape from a thornbush, I dont think I've so much as turned an ankle despite some of my stupid attempts at bushwhacking. Thankfully.





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I have two stories to contribute.


1. While hunting for a difficulty 5 cache hide, a fake rock on the side of a steep hill filled with similar rocks, I stumbled over a fallen tree. I fell forward, and a stick protruding from the tree drove into my shin. (Think "pungee stick" from your favorite Vietnam movie.) Remove stick from leg, watch blood gush. Little Leprechaun comes over, looks at the blood, frowns and says "Does this mean we have to stop looking for the cache?" A true geocacher. I taped up the wound as best I could, we found the cache 20 minutes later, and drove home. I now carry larger bandages and a roll of gauze in my first aid kit... not just bandaids.


2. On a late winter day, my daughter attended a birthday party very close by the only unfound cache on my nearest 50 list. I figure, she eats pizza and plays party games, and I knock off a cache instead of driving home and driving back to pick her up. I park the car and immediately see a problem: The cache hike requires multiple stream crossings along a very narrow valley. It's 25 degrees, after having been 60 degrees a few days earlier. The creek is running high with ice water, and the trail is a sheet of ice from the thaw/freeze cycle. I slip and slide my way down the trail and through four creek crossings. I hit one spot that's especially treacherous, requiring that I navigate a 2 foot wide sloping trail with no handholds, at the edge of a cliff. I decide to crawl on my hands and knees. Not good enough. I feel my knees sliding... down... down... and then I'm in the air, staring down at the creek 12 feet below. I felt like Wile E. Coyote. I managed to land on my feet, but pulled a leg muscle as my butt hit the bottom of the creek bed shortly after my boots did. But look! Only 250 feet to the cache! I limped up the ravine, found the cache, and hobbled back to the car.


I got lots of stares from the soccer mom crowd when I went back to pick my kid up from the birthday party. She had no trouble spotting the only geocaching parent... the one with the limp and the muddy, wet pants and torn glove.



Some mornings, it just doesn't pay to chew through the leather straps. - Emo Phillips

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The Leprechauns said:


1. While hunting for a difficulty 5 cache hide, a fake rock on the side of a steep hill filled with similar rocks, I stumbled over a fallen tree. I fell forward, and a stick protruding from the tree drove into my shin. (Think "pungee stick" from your favorite Vietnam movie.) Remove stick from leg, watch blood gush. Little Leprechaun comes over, looks at the blood, frowns and says "Does this mean we have to stop looking for the cache?" A true geocacher. I taped up the wound as best I could, we found the cache 20 minutes later, and drove home. I now carry larger bandages and a roll of gauze in my first aid kit... not just bandaids.


Oweee.... Tried a similar trick running a stick through the hand when I took a fall off a mountain bike. I was a Wuss though and let the doctor get it out.


As for adding the roll of gauze, and larger bandages, to your first aid kit, it's good start. If you're heading far off the road though, I've got to recommend about 6 feet or more of duct tape. I might be a redneck, but it works like a charm on the big jobs, be it splinting broken bones, or patching up the bigger tears in the old body. Of course it also gives the medical staff a good laugh when you finally make it in to get a proper patch job.


Regarding my own injuries while geocaching, nothing to speak of. My sportrak however got a BOO-boo when I dropped it on a cache hunt. Required a trip to the GPS doctor for a broken display lens.......

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This is an interesting thread. I have only ever had the small stuff while caching - scrapes and scratches. But the reason for that is that I am slightly disabled and can't do the 'high numbers' caches. I carry a heavy glove when I remember to coz of the nature of my injury which I do NOT want repeated. I use the glove when I reach into confined spaces to recover a cache. Hollow logs, gaps in rocks etc.

My injury? I got a bite from a spider. It was all of eight years ago but the result will never leave me.

Take it easy folks. Take all the care you can to look out for biting critters before you reach into spaces you can't clearly see in to. As I said, this was not an injury sustained while caching but it sure has restricted my caching activities as a result of it. Look out for spiders and snakes!

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I miscalculated on a small jump and hurt my ankle.. nothing serious, I walked it off after a few more hours of caching. Hurt like all get-out though. Oh, and I had landed about 15 feet from a 100 foot drop icon_smile.gif


Also did something to my knee while bouldering inside of a cave... took about nine months for it to stop hurting. Yay!

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While planting a cache in a small cave up the side of a cliff above a creek I managed to lose my footing and tumble about 20 feet down the cliff. I bounced off of trees and boulders along the way. I stopped out of sight and out of reach of my wife and kid. All they heard was the moaning and cussing. I managed not to break anything but was bruised and sore for about 3 weeks. I learned that climbing around the sides of cliffs while wearing wet Tevas is not the best idea. I now do it the way I normally do, barefoot.

We named the cache Bohican Falls in honor of my little tumble, not for the waterfall 100yards upstream.



Not Necessarily Interesting News

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While searching for a cache in the mountains of NC, we stopped off to see a small waterfall. Near the base, after warning my kids to avoid the slippery rocks, I stepped on them, did a 360, fell flat on my face and broke a rib. Man did that hurt for awhile. Every sneeze and cough for weeks hurt like heck!


Went to the ER in a city 4 hours from home (for the drugs, nothing else they can do for a broken rib) while my wife and kids went out to dinner icon_frown.gif.

On the plus side, I did save the GPS'r in the fall! icon_smile.gif



coach: what's the story, norm?

norm: thirsty guy walks into a bar. you finish it.

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While orienteering, I tripped and fell, knocked myself unconscious, gashed my forehead, and put my teeth through my upper lip. After I woke up (from a VERY strange dream...) I located the next 3 control points before I wandered back to the start area. I needed 8 stitches in my forehead, and 15 in my upper lip. According to the ER doctor, the CAT scan of my head showed there was "nothing there." PHOTO


The worst I've done geocaching is a gash in the back of my thigh that should have had about 8 stitches, and several severe cases of poison ivy.


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