CacheCrazy.Com: The Worst Geocaching Day EVER! "I remember it like it was yesterday"

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Worst Geocaching Day EVER! "I remember it like it was yesterday"

This is a re-post from the spring of 2011. I have since recovered 100%, I think? Enjoy, I'm off holiday shopping ho, ho, ho.........

Geocaching can be as passive or as aggressive as one sees best fits his/her own style of living. This usually meshes with their own “everyday” lifestyle. That way it sticks. Remember in the beginning when we all went out and got as many caches as we could? We were young and careless and grabbed C&D’s (cache and dash geocaches) on the side of busy roads, climb under bridges in the winter and just “carelessly cached” like kids. That was fun but at times dangerous. Waite a minute, or was that just a few weeks ago? I remember it like it was yesterday, or do I?


 You see my two daughters and son and I were out doing a little Geocaching at Hickory Run State Park. Boulder Field was part of the main attraction. This magnificent National Natural Landmark was right in our back yard and best of all it was home of an Earth cache and others as well. The periglacial effect on the field created a flat and deceivingly level view however, It was a little difficult jumping from boulder to boulder and I had to leave the kids behind. My oldest daughter would be heading up that group while I tried to work out the stages to the final. On the way back now I was really getting the hang of it and was somewhat on a jog with the kids in my sights. I called out to them, “look, I’m running on rocks” and the next thing you know, let’s just say I had a little "hiking accident".  I found myself face plating a 2,000 Lb boulder head first. The stem from my glasses pressed into my skin and the impact just tore a small wound in my temple. I was out like a light and came around a few seconds later.


"Holy crap (not the word I used but this is a family friendly site), what happened? WTF!" I said as I picked myself up off of the mighty boulder field. I shook my head and realized I was bleeding pretty badly. My kids freaked out! "Are you ok Dad? Are you ok?" they asked with panic in their voices. I felt like I was dreaming. I could see them and hear them but at first I couldn't respond. "I'm fine, I’m fine, just a cut from my glasses and some cobwebs" I said reassuringly. I had my bell rung. We maneuvered back to the car and I had some first aid supplies (a good geocacher is always prepared) to clean and bandage the wound. I had to calm the kids down. They wanted to go home but I told them I was fine and other than that burning pain feeling in my temple, I was ok.  “Let’s go get some of those caches in the park” I said and everyone moved on. It was at that moment I realized I was cachecrazy.


We found ourselves walking on trails that had several choices of direction and even though I had the GPS'r, we were kind of meandering around, unsure of how to get to ground zero or where we were exactly on the map. Making choices seemed difficult but we selected a path and went forth.

Ahead was a small cabin and to the side of the cabin was what appeared to be a witch. No, I don't mean ugly or cruel, I mean the long black dress and the shawl, just like Halloween but it was late April. The kids spotted her too and by this time she had spotted us as well and went about her business of brew making or whatever it was she trying to hide. Suddenly from our left we heard the clash of steel and witnessed the bantering of two young men, dressed in medieval garb. They were having what seemed to be a sword fight to the death! "Their ok", the witch said, "we are doing a reenactment of Camelot", funny, I don't remember a witch in Camelot? We just shook our heads "yes" and kept walking before she broke out her wand and turned us into a toad. Very weird!



Ground zero took us to a ravine that if I were to do the cache again, I would have realized that it was on the other side and across the creek BUT, for some reason I thought that Mike and I would scale the ravine to get the cache! We grabbed onto every root and sapling we could get our hands on to prevent us from falling to serious injuries. I wasn't scared or even concerned for my child’s welfare. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. When we realized that the cache was across the creek and after all that effort, I thought that Mike was going to throw me in the deep, cold water. Then I looked up to see my little one saying "hurry up Daddy, their coming!" Coming down was one thing and going up was another. What the hell was I thinking? 

At the top I saw what the problem was. Our medieval friends had assembled in the mess hall not far away and were taking part in some type of ceremony that I can only describe as “unusual”. It included some chanting and stomping of feet, women screaming and grunting men. "Let's get the hell out of here" I said to the kids as I too was a little freaked out by these unusual characters in the middle of nowhere. Would they capture us and use us as a sacrificial lamb? Next thing you know, we are lost in the woods. I have no idea where the car is and I can't make heads or tails out of the GPS'r. We were lucky to get back to the car before dark. This had been a terrible geocaching adventure. I wanted to go home and just lay down; I was exhausted, frustrated and a little irritable!

At home we told our tale to a doubting Mom who I think smelled my breath for alcohol. "Sounds like fun" she said sarcastically, "I’m sorry I missed it". I did a few things and then hit the sheets and slept 11 hours straight. If you know me, you would know that I have never slept more than seven hours and it is usually more like 5 or 6 at best. Something wasn't right I remember thinking but I felt good and off to the office I went.

At work it was like most any other day but I noticed two strange elements. One was that I was having trouble concentrating while trying to read emails. The other was when I went up or down stairs, I felt a little unsteady on my feet, like as if I were drunk. I knew that if I were going to drive home myself, I had to do it soon and left the office for the day knowing now that I likely sustained a mild concussion from the dreaded fall at Boulder Field.

The next four days were like a bad dream. I was in the hospital getting a CAT scan and I felt dizzy, nauseous and any type of focus was missing. Like the worst hangover I have ever had.  I recall thinking that I was going to die and if it made me feel better, so be it. For days I wobbled around the house without the ability to read, watch tv, surf the net and yes, even blog! It was terrible. The doctor said I was lucky and that I had a serious concussion. I would feel better in the next several days but likely not 100% for months. My wife says that even to this day I’m still not right (I think that’s just her way of telling me that I can be an ass sometimes and she’s right, I do seem a little different).
I had to discuss with my kids the chain of events that happened that day. Concussion or no concussion it was very odd and it had me second guessing if it was real, or just a dream? 

I am always cautious of head injuries now more than ever. You can never be too careful and if you or someone you are with takes a fall and hits their head, take immediate action to get medical attention. Don’t listen to the victim; they will swear they are ok, like I was.  To think that I may have put my kids in danger that day with my questionable judgment makes me sick! Read more about brain injuries to learn the basic symptoms. 

Today I am fine, I think? I have been reluctant to tell this story because "my playing" resulted in serious injury and quite honestly, it's a little embarrassing even after two years. The words "hey look, I'm running on rocks" is a "funny" that we only discuss among ourselves and it still brings a chuckle. It is the only geocaching adventure that I have ever had that resulted in feeling bad, stupid, scared and left me questioning myself? Without a doubt, it was my worst geocaching day ever!

Cache safe and have fun!

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