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Safety On Lone Geocaching

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I'm new to geocaching (just got my Geko on ebay last month!) I love an excuse to hike in the woods, but my husband isn't into it. I am concerned about my safety. (I'd never hike on terrain that was too dangerous alone...I mean safety from people!) I believe I ran across hunters in a hunting-free zone last week. Do any other female geocachers have advice?

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I am in the same situation, kindred spirit. I have taken my husband and each of my children along, but alas, when they see the GPS come out they all scatter! I know exactly how you feel. I did my one and only lone cache this week in a snow covered forest which was enchanting, however, I was convinced every sound I heard was a serial killer behind a tree. Obviously, that was ridiculous, but in this case perception might as well be reality in as far as it completely ruined my enjoyment of the moment. I have taken several friends along, but I am so addicted to this , I'm afraid I might appear too eager if I call too often. I look at this as an opportunity to make acquiantances into new friends. Wouldn't you be complemented if a ladie you recently met called you and, explaining her interesting hobby, told you she felt you were the type of fun and adventurous person who might like to accompany her on her next adventure? I would, and at the very least I would be flattered that she called. Isn't it ironic that there seems to be so many husbands that would love to have their wives come along, and here we are with the opposite problem.



Edited by SunnyCyndi
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Seriously! Bring a BIG OL' GUN! Well, maybe some pepper spray. [:D]

I'm not big on guns as self defense. I have a rather large collection of guns, but I would rather depend on safety in numbers. The best defense is the buddy system.


BTW Do a search to find all the other tote a gun threads, it's been done to death. B)

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Sunnycyndi look in the Greatplains forums there are some topics from Iowa cachers Just click on their name and it will take you to their profile page. click on stats and click on hidden caches and look at a cache page or two and that will usually tell you what general part of the state they are in. Email them ( didn't work for me) or catch a thread they are active in and you may make contact also ask if there is a local organisation there.


Summersunny9, do the same for South and Southeast.

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Sunnycyndi look in the Greatplains forums there are some topics from Iowa cachers Just click on their name and it will take you to their profile page. click on stats and click on hidden caches and look at a cache page or two and that will usually tell you what general part of the state they are in. Email them ( didn't work for me) or catch a thread they are active in and you may make contact also ask if there is a local organisation there.


Summersunny9, do the same for South and Southeast.

Probably a lot more helpfull that my kinda general post thanks ironman. :D

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i am a female and most of my caching is done alone. i live in michigan and have a ccw permit. i always carry a handgun with me. i don't think there are boogey men or women around every corner, but you just don't know. a few years ago a woman was killed in a reststop here while her children waited in the car for her. i have been shooting guns since i was 12 and am very used to them. just try being very aware of what is going on around you at all times.

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Wise advise???Waaaaait a minute...How did you know I WAS FROM IOWA?????????????????? :D That's a smile -not a scream- but for a minute there I had goosebumps and was hearing the theme from "Halloween" in the background... until I realized that info is easy to find out. It is such a shame that in today's world we ladies feel as unsafe as we do.

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It is such a shame that in today's world we ladies feel as unsafe as we do.

Sorry... one of my pet peeve alarms went off.


I'm not a lady, so I can't say what it's like, but I am quite certain that in the olden days, women were much more at risk of violence than today. In many cases, there was no punishment if it was "justified."


In today's world, women are far safer than they used to be, even if that is little consolation to you.


I've got several women friends who are quite active alone, and as far as I'm aware, none have ever had any problems. It's perception and attitude at least as much as it is reality.



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JamieZ, Forgive me if I did not make myself clear. I agree with every word you said. While our generation is, in reality, much safer than ladies of an earlier era, due to a variety of reasons (including modern media coverage of tragedies) we have been conditioned from an early age to always be on guard.

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While I'm not a woman, I usually go out geocaching (or just for a walk) with my dog. Not that a dog will stop someone from shooting me (or my dog). It's nice to have some companionship along, and it's good exercice for the doggy as well. And, if it makes someone with bad intentions think twice about approaching me, so much the better.

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Personally, I'm more nervous about urban caches than any others. Too many eyes waching you. I had a homeless guy chase after me on an urban cache hunt. (and I'm not trying to sterotype the homeless-this was an isolated incident) Still haven't went back for the cache, though. Group hunts are fun, but sometimes not as rewarding, especially if you have a "lead dog" that tries to race ahead of everyone else. Maybe just a friend along for the walk is all you need. And then you can get them addicted! :D

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Wise advise???Waaaaait a minute...How did you know I WAS FROM IOWA?????????????????? :D That's a smile -not a scream- but for a minute there I had goosebumps and was hearing the theme from "Halloween" in the background... until I realized that info is easy to find out. It is such a shame that in today's world we ladies feel as unsafe as we do.

Hey I check on lots of people I like to see where they are from and who might live in my part of this state. By checking their profile or found or hides I can figure out what general area of a state they usually live in and thats it. Thats all the info I need or want. Sometimes if I see a post they made that I like I will look up other posts they made and read them.

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My simple advice: get a dog that is fairly good-sized and has a protective streak, carry a cell phone and a whistle, and use your instincts. Rarely have I felt unsafe/afraid with the dog and these items handy but, if my personal radar has gotten set off, I just leave. I also keep in mind that millions of people are out and about doing things alone every day and get home safely. I figure the odds are always in my favor.

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I have nothing but respect and admiration for the ladies that can go it alone. Its a a shame that they have to have that fear factor thrown in, because of the weirdos that are out there. But I have met a lot of young ladies in the backcountry while doing patrols for the USFS, some even have a nice large dog with them. Some travel alone and some in groups. And I think its nice that they can enjoy the beautiful country we have out here.


As for my own personal side I'm always going alone and in some wild country out here in CO. Considering the recent lion attacks in CA and the simple fact that I've seen cats on more than one occasion. My family is freaked that I would do it alone, but my wife looks at it a simple way. If he goes, he goes out doing what he likes and I have a good policy on him. :D

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My simple advice:

get a dog that is fairly good-sized and has a protective streak, carry a cell phone

and a whistle

and use your instincts.

Only thing I might add to this list is carry a quality chemical agent (e.g. pepper spray) and make certain you let someone know where you're going before you leave. Of course, whenever you can, always take someone with you. The situation that overcomes you might well be an accident, rather than an assailant.

Because I've carried a firearm all of my adult life, I would never recommend and individual carry one unless they are properly trained, appropriately licensed (where required) and truly capable of using one (shooting at people is neither an easy thing to do nor an experience to be sought after)

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I'm not sure what area you're from, but for the most part, your fears are probably unfounded. Yes, bad things happen (such as the woman murdered at the rest stop), but they're few and far between. Just be careful. If you get a bad feeling about a place or a person, leave.


Pepper spray is a good idea, handguns not so much if you're not comfortable with them. Dogs are great, but certainly don't get one ONLY as protection. It's like having children as a tax deduction. :D


The best thing you can do is, whenever you go geocaching leave information on where you're going. Print out another copy of the cache and put it somewhere, like the front of the refrigerator.

Edited by Indiana Cojones
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I always tell my wife where I am going.

I always carry my cell phone and I use a car charger so that the phone is maximally charged while on the trail.

I don't go places that look suspicious.

I also would be happy to call 911 to report suspicious activity (you may be safe, but the cops coming to roust some goofball makes tha next cacher safe too.)

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:D Wow, didn't know what a hot topic this would be! What great posts.


I don't consider myself paranoid and actually felt really safe in the area I was in until I stumbled upon the hunter looking guys (wearing orange and had a four-wheeler in a truck.) Then I got to thinking about the fact that Arkansas is supposed to be the meth lab capitol of the US, with people hiding their labs out in the woods...eeks! I consider myself quite average...but I am young and slim, and thought I might stick out like a sore thumb...then got paranoid. But I feel more comfortable after hearing that there are, in fact, other female geocachers out there. I thought this might just be a male sport.


I agree with you, SunnyCindy; I think this could be a great opportunity to meet others through local groups. And you're right, ...wouldn't most husbands be thrilled to have a wife with this interest?!?!

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I'm in the same boat. My hubby hates geocaching so I've been going alone and I've been in some fairly isolated areas. I did get a cell phone just in case I fall and break a leg or something, and I wear a bright orange jacket, but I haven't been scared at all. This is rural Kansas, and the crime rate is low.


Anyway, I look like a sweet little old grandmother type so I figure not too many people would want to do much harm to me. Maybe I'm foolish, but I'm just not that scared to be out alone.

Edited by WebbyCat
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I feel interested in night geocaching. Up to now I only went to caches during day, but as I don't sleep a lot (I wake up near 2 or 3 am then I don't sleep no more until the next day near 11 pm). At night it's mostly cops you find out and they usually stop you if you're by foot or by car or by anything in fact :D

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I'm in the same boat and have wondered the same thing. What I've done so far is carry my cell phone with me, and get out when I start feeling uncomfortable.


I did have a really weird time at the Mississippi rest stop - the coordinates (for what turned out to be an archived cache - I didn't check before I left home!) led to an area that was really trashed up - beer bottles and the like all around - along with a lot of other things I'd really not like to think about how they got there. I gave up looking in the area, mainly because I started getting paranoid about becoming a statistic - or a body floating in the water. It still gives me the creeps to think about.


Anyway - I haven't figured out a good solution - the pepper spray seems like an idea. Thanks for the discussion.

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i have cached alone at night in both urban and wild settings. the most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings and not look like prey.


if i have a bad hunch about a location, i DON'T GO.


hunters for the most part do not alarm me. hunters who are hunting illegally or while dirinking do. and sometimes you do run into those guys. in the case of the illegal hunters, i find the best defense is to appear as if you are not familiar with game laws.


in the case of drunken ones, i note the location and do not return during season. let's just say that i know of a small area where nobody is particularly safe. please do not send me flames about defaming hunters. i happen to live close to some yahoos who hunt drunk on posted land. land that is, incidentally, on the wrong end of a government firing range. most of my neighbors are just regular hunters. but you really have to watch out for those other six....


anyway, i carry a charged cell phone and try to look like you could attack me, but you might come out of it worse for wear. i always, always watch my surroundings. and i carry standard emergency gear.


most sporting activities carry attentuated risks.

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Yeah, I should also add that I'm not bashing hunters. But they were in a no-hunting zone, so you never know. (I grew up in the city, so I'm not that accustomed to hunters. When I saw the orange outfits at first, my initial thought was....escaped convicts! LOL!!) :unsure:


PS--I'm in the rare situation of having a husband that does so much outdoor physical labor that he just doesn't want to do any more while he's 'having fun.'

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I'm a guy, and i get a little worried sometimes, especially in the city. Sunday, i was alone, when i got to the cache site, a suspicious looking "person" was walking along the trail. I waited for him to get pretty far ahead of me, before i got out of my truck. Headed in and found the cache, when i came back to the truck, there he was, looking in my truck. When he saw me, he kinda wandered away a little, then came up to me and asked for the time and a cigarette. That's when i got a little freaked out, got in my truck pretty fast and took off. Maybe he was an honest guy, but some of the stories you hear, make you get a little paranoid. I do have a ccw permit, but i don't like to carry my Glock in parks.

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I used to be quite paranoid and would wait around for someone to cache with. I ended up doing more pacing around the house rather than caching!


I've met a few fellow cachers at event caches but most have buddys/partners that they cache with or they prefer to cache alone. I understand that. I like to cache at a certain pace and I've only found one or two people that go at the same rate.


One day I was fed up enough that I said "To heck with this" and went out... sure, I was a bit scared but now I'm pretty confident on the trails. (I save the 3+ terrain for the rare days that I've actually managed to drag someone out with me - unfortunately, there are quite a few around here.)


My daughter was so concerned that she wanted to buy me a dog for Xmas. Yes. that would be ideal but it doesn't fit my lifestyle right now. If I could convince the cat to come along, I KNOW I'd be safe, but she's not into it ... yet.


I figure if anyone approaches me I'll just tell 'em that my GPS is a 'tazer' and I'm willing to test it out if they're game!! :) Besides, with -25C weather right now, I don't think you'll find too many weirdos out there - other than our fellow cachers!


Good luck to you.

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I USED to cache with my boyfriend, but now am single and looking for a buddy.

I think there are benefits to caching with a friend who A) carries snacks, :bad: can carry you if you break something, and C) converses with you. I have sought many fewer caches alone, because I am not big and burley, but once I carried a hammer up my sleeve, I confess.

I think I know which cache Flask refers to in VT where three trucks of hunters sit near a shooting range on posted land. I saw a herd of deer there as we were driving in, but I think we flushed them away from the poachers. If I had not been with a big imposing man at the time, I would have abandoned the cache, but I was able to find the cache and remove one of my favorite cache items-a voodoo doll left by Theragleb!

And I definitely would not go wandering in Mount Royal in Montreal alone as a man OR woman.

It is a challenge finding a buddy in VT whether I NEED one or not!

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My 20 year old college student daughter is going to be graduating from college in May and moving to a small college town in the mountains to get her BA degree. She has a bunch of her friends hooked on caching and she can't wait to get to a new area with new caches. Because she gets sooooo focused on finding that cache and at 20, thinks she is "10 feet tall and bullet proof", I bought her some pepper spray/tear gas/invisible ultra violet dye. My son who works in a gun shop in Washington found this stuff for us and says it's the best you can get. The permanent UV dye is to help identify an attacker. It will disable a person for an hour. I'm so glad that this thread was started so I can have her read it and see that it is best to just be careful and if someone is suspicious, just leave. A Pez Dispensor isn't worth your life. This game is perfect for those kids and I don't want to put a damper on their fun...but I want them to learn to be safe too.

Thanks again for this thread...



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<<My son who works in a gun shop in Washington found this stuff for us and says it's the best you can get. The permanent UV dye is to help identify an attacker. It will disable a person for an hour. >>


Cool...even though I feel safe it really wouldn't hurt to have something like this handy. Any idea on where I can purchase it? Brand name?

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Like most posters here I believe the threat is way overblown. You have a far greater chance of encountering a bad guy at the local minimart than in some remote area.


I feel safer solo cross-country backpacking than walking down any city sidewalk.

Edited by dsandbro
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:lol: I too cache alone. I sometimes take my dog, but he's only 20# and not yet a year old. Somethings that I do to feel safer are:


1. Let people know where I'm going.

2. Try to stay in reasonable areas. NO long or major hikes involved. Cuts down on fun some, but logic is sometimes the wiser move.

3. Carry a cell phone incase you get injured, lost or otherwise need help.

4. Survey your surroundings before you embark on your search.

5. Pay attention to who and what is around, and not just to the GPS in your hand.


It stinks that we women have to go it alone, but at least we are adventurous enough to try. :P

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I also am a lone female geocacher. Although its always fun to meet fellow hikers along the trail, I love the calmness and quiet of hiking alone. Although occasionally friends will come along, noone likes the longer hikes that I do. I was pretty nervous at first - when you start to think about all the things that can go wrong, you can start to scare yourself. So think practically and try to be prepared. Along with the usual hiking necessities, I chose the heavy duty pepper spray and have it in a pouch on my shoulder strap and I also always hike with one of my dogs. I am happy to say I've never had cause to reach for the cannister. (or sic the dog!) If you have a dog, pay attention to them, their ears will lift when they hear something and they almost always hear it before you. I've found that it got easier when I just kept going out. Pay attention to your surroundings at all times. There is nothing like a quiet walk/hike in a gorgeous, peaceful forest.

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Personal safety is a topic that none of us, not the most frighteningly imposing guy or the butt-kickenist girl, can afford to blow off. This doesn't apply to just geocaching.

Our society has conditioned us to believe that we'll be attacked if we ever leave the safety of our homes. This is an exaggeration. Much of the fear we have about being attacked by a rabid drug addict is unfounded. The odds of being attacked are in our favor; it probably won't happen. Unfortunately, even good odds can turn into a disturbing reality for you or someone you know.

There are many things a person can do to limit the potential for harm, most of which require no special equipment or training, all the way to the ones which necessitate hours of practice and costly weapons. With that in mind, lets focus on just a few things which can make all of us safer out in the geocaching wilds.

First off, the ever present pepper spray. Pepper sprays are a great; they are debilitating, easy to carry, inexpensive and simple to use. Just remember, pepper spray is indiferent to which person it knocks down. Please take the time to go outside and give your pepper spray a test shot. Some shoot a spray 15 feet long, others spray up to 3 feet away. Different types of propelant are used in sprays and some will be more likely to blow back in your own face than others. Note, if you're going to practice spraying into the wind, remember to wear protective goggles (such as those used for woodworking, barring those you can use big sunglasses or some other type of protection) and to wrap the rest of your face in a bandana or scarf. Wear gloves, a long sleeved shirt and pants. Pepper spray burns skin, not just eyes! If you wear gloves while you cache, wear the gloves you usually use to test the spray. This will serve two purposes: you'll protect your hands and you'll find out if the gloves you are wearing will cause you to fumble the spray. A test spray in your backyard will give you more confidence with your weapon and a good idea of how it is going to perform.

After testing the spray, a regular wash of your clothes and gloves will render them ready to wear and you won't have to worry about getting a residual burn.

If you are carrying pepper spray in the field, it is also a very good idea to carry neutralizing wipes with you as well. Although these will not be an instant fix if some spray gets on you, these will help you out in a pinch. Neutralizing wipes or not, clean, cool water is your best ally if you are exposed.

Next up, simple personal defense. Take a moment to think about a few things you can do without needing any sort of special equipment. If an attacker comes up to you, are you going to spray punches and kicks? Sometimes simple is best. Here are some moves that can help you out of a sticky situation.

1) The toe stomp. Using the heel of your foot, stomp down as hard as you can on the toes of your attacker. This is useful if the attacker is grabbing you from behind as it may cause him/her to release their grip.

2) Rear head butt. Again, if your attacker has you from behind, lean your head away, then slam it back into your attackers face.

3) The backwards push. If your attacker has you in a bear hug from behind, throwing yourself forward is no good. He/She is probably prepared for that. Instead, throw all your weight back on the attacker. This can cause him/her to lose balance and fall over. (Keep your fingers crossed that they land on a big, pointy rock.)

4) The wriggle down. My final tip for the grab from behind. Instead of trying to escape to the side or prying open the attacker's arms, see if you can't drop straight down and out of their grasp.

5) The karate chop. Using the flat outer edge of your hand, "chop" your attacker in the neck or across the bridge of the nose.

All of these moves you can practice with a friend. Mind you, don't do it full force, otherwise you might not be friends for very long. The more often you practice these moves, the safer you will be in the field. Never understimate the value of mental practice as well: imagine yourself in a situation where you are being attacked and visualize yourself doing these moves. The attacker is counting on you to panic; preparation is your BEST weapon!

Other than pepper spray and personal defense moves, also consider a stun gun. I'm not referring to a tazer which shoots electrodes; those are only good for one shot. A stun gun is a small device which, when held against the attacker, will deliver an electrical shock. These run on batteries and can be used over and over. Stun guns have triggers and can be put on "safety" just like a regular gun. Many stun guns also have other safety features such as wrist straps that disable the function of the stun gun if removed. (You have the strap on your wrist, an attacker grabs the stun gun away but the wrist strap stays on your arm, now the stun gun doesn't work.) Stun guns can totally disable your attacker, causing temporary paralysis. Stun guns are a cost effective alternative to other weapons and result in no permanent damage to the recipient.

A final tip for personal safety is to avoid the "victim" mentality and posture. Whether you're in the urban jungle or the woods, carry yourself with confidence. Exude an image of strength and aptitude. Attackers are more likely to attack someone they perceive as weak and helpless. Your attitude alone may be enough to make a would-be attacker continue on his/her way!

Of course, there are many other weapons and forms of personal protection, I'm just exhorting my own arsenal.

No matter what the circumstance, your best form of protection is yourself. Be aware, be prepared!

Edited by Snideswipe
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^ OK.


But a lot of attacks can be thwarted, IMO, by simply not walking (or acting) like a victim.


And like what someone above said - pay attention to your surrounding. I see more women who have this Pollyannish attitude that just makes them targets. I don't know why it takes women so long to get into or out of a dadgum car. Long before "car jacking" was ever a phrase, I recognized how vulnerable someone is in a parking lot or even in their car. Yet, I see women completly oblivious to their surrounding as they fumble for their keys all the time.

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Snideswipe, Some excellent information! Thank you for taking the time to share. I am wondering, is there anyone out there who has already done the testing on pepper spray that Snideswipe so wisely suggested? I know in college I carried around a can of pepper spray for a year only to find out it shot out a weak, pitiful stream. Can anyone suggest a brand? Also, where are stun guns available? I, personally, would not be willing to carry a regular gun, but would gladly give someone a nice little jolt if they asked for it. Also, for $7, I found at Walgreen's a personal security alarm from Smith and Wesson. It looks like a keychain, can hang on your belt loop or off your pack, and works like a grenade in that you simply pull down on it, it pulls the pin out and gives out a 110dB alarm. Okay, gentlemen, you can stop laughing now.. I KNOW no one would hear it in an empty forest.. but it might help in a busier park with trails, and at the very least I think it would give you a second or two to get your pepper spray or stun gun ready.

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You can find stun guns lots of places. I'm fond of eBay... you'll be able to pick up a nice one for under thirty bucks. There are many online stores that carry them, too.

As an FYI, even if your assailant is holding on to you and you zap them, the charge will not go through them and shock you.

My mom used to be a deputy, she turned me on to stun guns.

Of course, there was the time that I was putting batteries in a new stun gun that she had just purchased. I hit the trigger to see if it was working. Some stun guns will produce a visible arc between contact points, others do not. I didn't know that and thought they all had visible arcs. Turns out, some of the ones without visible arcs need to be "discharged" by being tapped on metal to get rid of the residual charge. I didn't know that either. So I started to take out the battery to see if there was an issue and managed to fall off the barstool I was sitting on when I got zapped.

This happened in her old sheriff's office, right in front of the inmates viewing window. That was a... humbling... moment. :unsure:

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:bad: I too cache alone.  I sometimes take my dog, but he's only 20# and not yet a year old.  Somethings that I do to feel safer are:


1. Let people know where I'm going.

2. Try to stay in reasonable areas.  NO long or major hikes involved.  Cuts down on fun some, but logic is sometimes the wiser move.

3. Carry a cell phone incase you get injured, lost or otherwise need help.

4. Survey your surroundings before you embark on your search.

5. Pay attention to who and what is around, and not just to the GPS in your hand.


It stinks that we women have to go it alone, but at least we are adventurous enough to try.  :unsure:

Good advice from Tix & Chiggers. I've been caching for about six months, and got tired of trying to recruit people. So I do go alone occasionally.


I don't have a dog, but I do take pepper spray with me, and keep it easily accessible - on my belt.


Dress down. Wear a ball cap and baggy clothes. If you look like a guy from a distance, all the better.


Definitely be aware of your surroundings, and go with your gut. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. I strayed into a cache location in the woods one time only to find blankets and sleeping bags piled up under a lean-to. They appeared to be bone dry despite the fact it had rained two days ago. I was OUTTA there!


I now reserve the long hikes in the woods for outings with other cachers. I stick to grab-and-go caches in suburban parks for when I'm alone.


Good luck!

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why? your opportune weirdo isn't out in the woods an hour from the nearest trailhead. they're more likely shuffling around the suburban park. The most questionable area I've cached in is about a mile from home, on the far side of a city park in an overgrown area that cruisers and the homeless have taken over. If I go to any one of the regional open spaces and hike all day I only meet one or two other people, hikers all.


Last xmas I gave pepper spray to many on my list. got a good deal from Defense Devices, although I'm sure there are other places, such as Pepperspray.com (check out the pictures). My sister specifically wanted some after being attacked by dogs while walking her dog in her neighborhood. Feral dogs can be a problem in some areas as well.


I did pick up a few good bits of information from pepper-spray-store.com. One is that you are most likely to be harassed while approaching your car, thus pepper spray should be on your keychain (many outlets sell keychain models). When someone comes loping up to you asking "for a light", you don't want to be scrounging around in your purse (or pocket). Another one I wouldn't have anticipated is that statistically you are most likely (if you're a single woman) to be accosted in your bedroom. (See the "In the bedroom" link - it got my attention.) I got a number of my female friends two pepper sprays - a keychain model and a regular model to place near the bed - somewhere where it could be grabbed easily. God forbid you should need it, but God forbid you should need it and not have it.

Edited by WalruZ
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Several People have offered excellent advice. I have been involved in Public Safety for about 17 years (Fire/EMS/Law Enforcement). For the $.02 it is worth, my advice would be:


1. File a "Cache Plan" with a responsible friend. Let them know what caches you will seek in what order. Leave a voice mail message or similar after every cache and tell them whether you are heading to the next or headed home for the day. If cell phones work in the areas you will be caching you could even let them know where you parked and what time. (Make sure they have a description of your vehicle) When you are all done for the day let them know. Extra details you might want to include in your "Cache Plan" might be your clothing description and what safety equipment you are carrying. (I often kayak alone and use this type of plan for my personal safety) Once you file a plan with your friend, then stick to it unless you can contact them to modify it.


2. Carry a communication device that will work in the area that you are geocaching. Cell phones often do not work. Consider becoming a licensed "Ham" (Amateur radio). A 2 meter handheld will get a message out to a repeater in many areas that a cell phone will not.


3. Carry a survival whistle. Blowing a whistle in a set of three blasts is a universal distress signal. It will carry much further than voice with less effort.


4. Carry basic survival equipment. Consider hydration, temperature, caloric needs, signalling devices, fire starters, first aid supplies, flashlight.


5. Be aware! Be aware of hazards, be aware of people, be aware of indicators of criminal activity. Do not act like a victim!


6. Mark your vehicle as a waypoint for easy return if you get disoriented.


7. Play "what if" scenarios in your head. What would I do if: I twist my ankle and find it difficult to walk back to the vehicle. If I meet a stranger in the area of the cache. If I lose my car keys. Etc. Advance planning for common and uncommon situations really helps.


8. Consider personal defense weapons. Not everyone should consider carrying a firearm. Some who can do so safely cannot do so legally. Strongly consider quality pepper spray (OC). Consider purchasing the same product that your local law enforcement agencies carry. (Check laws in your jurisdiction). You need to practice with the product and become accustomed to the spray pattern, distance, etc. Seek out reputable training (even if not required). There are huge differences in the quality of pepper spray and related aerosol products. Some do not work very well at all, some are unsafe, some work pretty well. Remember that nothing is 100 percent effective 100 percent of the time. I would recommend that you purchase a (OC) based product, not a tear gas product. There are several that I would recommend, but there is no perfect product for everyone and every situation. I am very reluctant to recommend stun guns. I have experimented with several and have been impressed by only one. That is the Taser series by Taser International at www.taser.com. I have personally been zapped by the M26. I am also aware of several Law Enforcement deployments of that same device against criminals. The M26 and newer X26 are expensive. The civilian versions allow you to deliver a stun charge to an attacker up to 15 feet away and you also have a contact distance stun gun for back up. Once again, they do not work 100 percent of the time. They are only a tool. If you feel comfortable with a handgun for protection and have training on defensive use of that weapon, then consider carrying it if you can legally do so within your jurisdiction. (If you live in a state that allows for the issuing of CCW's, consider the cost of the mandatory training (if necessary) and the permit to be cheap insurance against a charge of unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon.)


9. Be conservative when going solo. For example when I am kayaking with a buddy who has similar skills and communication devices I will take risks that I would not when I am solo. If going solo, you might pay extra attention to terrain difficulty and descriptions. Nothing like falling down a hillside and tweaking an ankle and knee while alone in an area where cell phone coverage doesn't exist.


Off Soap Box now...

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I just wanted to point out that the newspapers aren't full of "serial rapist jumps another woman in the middle of the forest" stories for a reason:


Serial rapists rarely wait like mountain lions on cliff edges. It's boring and probably half a millenia between "prey".


Know your area at the trailhead and you'll probably be okay. If you pull up and there's a guy in a car who keeps staring at you and nobody else around...consider coming back another day.


And if you are out on the trail and someone one were to start after you, remember, you don't have to run fast.










You just have to run faster. :unsure:

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