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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter Geocaching: Be Safe Out There

It's winter time out and that means cold weather for many of us. Depending on the climate you may find a great many challenges when geocaching during this time of year. So before you head out into the frozen tundra you might want to consider a few safety measures to keep your adventures fun for both you and your family.

Urban Geocaching - Watch them roads
Now depending on how you geocache in general presents certain challenges during the winter months. For example, if you are urban geocaching and you want to get a fair number of finds in a trip you will be driving from one geocache to the next relatively quickly. Not speeding per say but a lot of starts and stops. If the roads are slippery or snow covered you are going to want to make sure your car tires and breaks are in good working order. Be aware that there are usually a lot of muggles out there and you need that extra distance to stop in time. Also just getting in and out of the geocache-mobile can be a possible hazard so watch your step. Always be mindful of what could happen if your transportation suddenly runs down. Do you have blankets for everyone just in case?

Geocaching on the Open Roads
As much as we geocachers take for granted our vehicles while geocaching some real consideration and planning needs to be done if you are going into areas where there are not that many people around. Some areas are prone to snow drifts and can cause you to get trapped miles from the nearest help. Let's face it, a lot of us don't even think twice going into extreme conditions when the weather is nice. When you are playing with the dangers of winter it is a whole other ball game. So please be sure you have all the necessary items in your car to keep you and your family dry, warm and nourished if something unexpected happens. Remember that all too handy cell phone may not have signal as you go further away from cities and towns. Get stuck and you may be looking at a long walk back. Did you remember your boots?

Winter in the Woods
So the roads are pretty good today and you decide to do some geocaching in the woods. The scenery is amazing and you plan on spending quality time outdoors all day. Sounds great and quite frankly I wish I was there with you but did you consider what to do if something unfortunate happens? A simple 2-3 mile hike in the summer may be no big deal but in the harshness of winter an injury or getting lost could be tragic. Unexpected storms could happen with you miles from the car or a twisted ankle at the wrong time can become life threatening so go with the number one rule of geocaching, "be prepared". Okay I know it's the Boy Scout motto but it is a dang good one and needs to be followed...

Here is a few suggestions that are pretty much common sense but it is always good to prepare for the worst.

  • When geocaching in more secluded areas you should:
  • Try not to geocache alone.
  • Allow time to get back before bad weather or darkness is upon you.
  • Let someone know where you went geocaching in case you don't report back.
  • Dress for winter. Just because it is sunny and nice out now doesn't mean it will change.
  • Carry an emergency day pack including:
Dry clothes (especially socks)
Water
Matches
Flashlight
Map and Compass (GPS batteries can go weak in cold weather)
Energy Bars
Day Shell - If you are really on a hike and get snowed in.

Geocaching is a fun and exciting game, sport, obsession for the whole family. It is up to us to take that few extra moments to make sure that we and our loved ones are safe while out there. The last thing we want is to get frostbite or worse while looking for our treasures. Being prepared for what might happen will help us most when it does happen.

Be safe out there.


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1 comment:

P.J. said...

Up my way, winter caching can sometimes be the caching season. :)