Do as I say, not as I’ve done

G

Guest

Guest
Where could a person go to find a record of various problems that have overtaken the outdoors person?

Rob, I’m thinking that CanoeTripping could be just such a source.

I’m thinking less of the “disaster strikes, act of God” type problems, but more sins of omission, oversight or poor decision making. I’ve had enough problems of my own making to provide an example or two.

To wit: I was on a group trip in a tidal area without potable water sources. I lingered in camp after others in the party had begun their paddle out to have a little solo time and make sure all of the sites were clean, camp fires wet out, nothing left behind, etc. My typical dawdling make-the-most-of-the-last-day.

I had 4 or 5 liters of water remaining in the last dromedary, filled two canteens and dumped the rest. While I was shuffling gear down to the boat I knocked over one canteen; the stupid-sippy lid wasn’t secure and now I had one water bottle left.

I had waited too long to depart and the wind had picked up to a point where much of the route was impossible to paddle, doubleblading as hard as I could I could barely hold position. I had a couple of bad moments when the wind blew my boat ashore sideways or backwards, in one case the waves picked up the loaded hull and suspended it between two points of land, one under the bow and one under the stern (with some ominous cracking noises – no one has ever exited a boat faster). It was the most daunting conditions in which I’ve paddled.

Thirsty work that, and I was very quickly out of water.

I can say from experience that one is never as thirsty as when there is no drinking water available. Man-hauling a boat and gear cross-country through a flooded marsh, stumbling in waist deep pluff mud and cursing the weather gods is no fun, but it is much worse when your predominate thought is not the 30 knot wind, not the freaking mud hole you just fell in, not the damage you’ve done to the boat, but “Gawd am I thirsty, and I have GOT to make it out today”


The lesson I took from that is to never dump any “excess” potable water in a tidal environment until I reach the take out. And I don’t trust sippy lids.

I can think of a couple other backcountry issues, and admit that most were of my own making and easily avoidable.

I don’t want to look like the only idiot on CanoeTripping. Who’s next?
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Messages
924
Location
Red Lake, Ontario
Not terribly disastrous, but nonetheless still idiotic. Embarking on a quick 3 day trip with my son one spring was delayed one day due to 50+ cm of spring snow.
xY0pi28.jpg

Finally the next day we left home about noon once the snow was sufficiently melting to assure snow shoes would not be a requirement on the portage.

We get to the put in and port all our gear to the put in. Load up and away we go.
L9QNahq.jpg

Paddle for about 2 hours and decide to stop for a quick brew up. Hmmf, where's the camouflage kitchen bag? I remember bringing it, my son remembered carrying it to the put in. CRAP!
Make a quick assessment to decide if we are able to carry-on without it and decide while altogether not impossible, not really worth it and head back to grab it. By the time we get back to find the camouflage bag sitting on shore cleverly disguised leaning up against a tree it was 6pm. Now that it was a only an overnight trip we decided to carry everything back to the truck and just go home.

I don't have that camp pack anymore, it was stolen out of the back of my truck along with all my kitchen gear. I replaced all my kitchen gear but chose to replace the bag with something of a different colour.

Not stupidest thing I have done but the first thing that come to mind.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I’ve never been in anything dire or dangerous, just a little uncomfortable. On a trip with our young kids, because I’d neglected to inquire as to the conditions of a chosen route, we found ourselves lining/portaging along a meandering stream through beaver meadows. It was a long haul. The 4 kids thought it was an adventure till the water ran out. I’d also neglected to fill up at the last lake. Just as we finally reached the next lake, a thunderstorm threatened, and what made matters worse, our youngest showed the rather unsocial signs of “beaver fever”. (She had been trailing her mittened hands in the previous lake as we paddled, and sucked on them.) Just to complicate things, this lake was very shallow and murky. I filtered some water as best I could, fired up the stove, and boiled up some orange crystals soup. It was all agreed to be “Yuck”, but I was nervous of dehydration. These were small bodies, and we had some miles to go yet. I ferried our canoes down the big muddy pond, while my crew carried. After another portage, we wound up on a beautiful small lake, dashed to a site, and barely set up tents before the storm hit. We survived the tempest outside, but our little girl gave us a night we’ll never forget. We had a lot of laundry that trip.
Since then, I’ve upped the water bottle sizes, and am fussy about keeping them topped up. Maybe I’m overly cautious. “Better safe than sorry” sounds smug, but I try a little harder nowadays.
Excellent thread idea, I've been needing to unburden my guilty embarrassment for years.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,460
This isn't an easy one to tell, but it's a good example of always following your instinct and experience. Paddling down Meta lake early one morning with about 16 kids. Meta is a big, long lake. We usually always paddle close to shore, but conditions were dead calm, so we were doing some island hopping. Got to the last of the islands and told the kids to head for shore so we could continue to our destination by following the shore line of a large bay. Kids were protesting like crazy, because they knew the shoreline route would add about 6 k more of paddling. Faced a a full frontal assault from all the kids and even some staff, trying to convince me to cut across open water and the mouth of the bay (about 3 k across). Finally gave in, sun was shining, it was early in the morning, only a light breeze. Half way across, micro burst blows in out of no where, thunder, lightening, strong winds, raining so hard it was difficult to see. Corralled all the canoes in tight formation and beat it to opposite shore. Kids thought it was cool, I was almost sick with worry. Nobody changes my mind now when it comes to basic safety routines.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Red, in a similar vein I did a weekend backpacking trip with friends many years ago on a short section of the Big Blue Trail we had never before hiked. We shuttled a car up to the “take-out” end at a State park and drove back to trailhead at the start.

The trail was along a ridgetop. A wildly overgrown and heavily underbrushed ridgetop, with no place to set up a tent, and no water. As afternoon drew on we still had found no water and not a patch of open ground, so we decided the only thing to do was bushwhack down off the overgrown ridge ISO hydration and a place to camp.

We did not find water until near the base of the mountain, and even then we were surrounded by dense mountain laurel; the only open ground was a dirt road we stumbled upon. Deciding that the dirt road was heading in the right direction, and was easier hiking than bushwhacking, we opted to follow it.

And follow it and follow it and follow it, until near dark, when we found a wonderful place to set up camp.

That wonderful place being the State Park at the terminus of our route, where we had left the other car.

It was a 17 mile day hike with full packs to end up car camping in a State Park. I guess the lesson there is the old adage about proper planning preventing piss poor performance.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,392
Location
Raymond, ME
Hmm .. My last lucky escape was in the Slate Islands last August. It would take all day for me to write my stoopid novel.

It was ONLY a 16 mile paddle around Patterson Island. We started early ( maybe not early enough) about 9:30. We knew winds from the west would break against cliffs on the western shore of Patterson and we thought we had made it through to calmer waters (just) in time. The next ten miles was straightforward. We rounded a headland and saw the paper mill in Terrace Bay. The smoke coming out of the chimney didn't go up at all but went straight toward the east. We had to paddle west for two or three miles back to camp. Headwind.. in the strait between Mortimer and Patterson Islands fishing boats were bouncing up and down in four to six foot seas. We just hunkered down and thanked God that we had had enough sea kayaking experience in our past so that we could remain upright( we were in solo boats..kayak and sea canoe). We made it to camp some seven and a half hours after the start.

Just yesterday I got a new guidebook to kayaking Lake Superior and these words of wisdom sprang out from a page "when circumnavigating Patterson, take overnight gear always". DUH... Where is the dope slap icon??
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
Mike, What a great idea! And if we find a source of reported accidents we can include them in along with the first person ones.

Some years ago now, I was camping with a friend and he had a pump shotgun that he'd always carry along. He was at some pains to make it clear to me that he never carried anything in the breach but the tube was full of OO buck. In an emergency you'd need to rack one into the chamber. The gun was zippered in it's case. Late afternoon and making camp, I was leaning over the side of the boat unloading things, and I reached out and grasped the gun case around the barrel. Just one more thing to unload, and I noticed it was pointed directly at my middle. There's an old expression "Someone just walked over my grave" , carefully, very carefully, I moved the muzzle aside and unzipped the case and removed the shotgun. Opened the action and there was one up the spout. No safety, ready to go. My friend had no idea how it happened. Very sorry. etc.

From that point my rule became when with someone and they have guns, I tell the story. I invite them to feel free to check my gun and I'd like to check theirs. If they have any problem with that then I wish them a pleasant trip and excuse myself.

Most times, to be honest, I just go by myself. But I still check my own gun.

Best Wishes,

Rob
 
G

Guest

Guest
Rob,

There are catalogued reports and even books about sea kayaker accidents:

http://www.kayakacademy.com/pages/accident.html

http://www.amazon.com/Sea-Kayakers-...8&qid=1386256621&sr=1-2&keywords=Deep+Trouble

American Whitewater catalogs accidents involving fatalaties. Sad to say I’ve known a couple of people from paddling club associations who have appeared there.

https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Accident/summarize/recent/20/

I understand completely about the empty chamber. I grew up in a household of guns and reloading equipment and gun safety was pounded into me from an early age. And I’ve still managed to have a few close calls.

I was out hunting one snowy winter day and was being a bit too casual in holding my favorite old Mossburg 20g. I was walking up what appeared to be a nice clear trail when the bottom gave way. It was a nice clear trail of thin ice suspended over a now dry creekbed. I plunged down to about my waist, the butt of the Mossburg smacked into the ice shelf and it went off, fortunately straight up, about 2 inches from my ear.

I don’t know if I damaged the gun during that fall, or if it had a pre-existing problem, but when I had stopped shaking (and long before my hearing had returned) I climbed out of the hole, made sure the safety was on and pulled the trigger.

I probably should have done that experiment with an empty chamber. KABOOM!

The safety had failed. I had never been taught or thought to check the safety. But I do now.
 
G

Guest

Guest
OM,

You nailed it.

I've owned guns for 56 years, and have come within inches of shooting my foot and have blown a hole in the wall 1' to the left of the freezer.

I know 3 people, 2 dead and one in a wheel chair, who were not lucky.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,460
I only have something in the chamber if I'm hunting. In the canoe, in camp and on the portage trail, the gun is empty.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,820
Location
Schenectady, NY
We were camping on Round Lake in the Whitney wilderness area in the ADK's, spring of 2012.. we had already spotted a car at Bog River Falls, 12 miles from our put in. My SIL and his buddy (neither of them too experienced) were planning to take out about some rapids on Round Lake Stream, about half way through. Some of us paddled that section, some carried, we all had strippers. SIL and buddy missed their intended pull out, and traveled downstream to the next possible spot, and in short order got hung on some rocks, swung sideways in the current, and tipped their upstream gunnel under. They immediately swamped, and the hull was pinned and quickly cracked. They managed to pop free without injury, and those of us downstream plucked their daypacks out of the water. They managed to pull the boat free and it barely held together for the carry. Somehow, they patched and braced the hull with driftwood, our painters, and an abandoned shovel that they found. The boat still floated, but they had to pull off every 20 minutes to dump it out. We all finished the last 6 miles to the spotted cars...the carry there is barely a footpath, not maintained in any sense. SIL and buddy bushwhacked back to our campsite, as the rest of us shuttled and paddled back to our site. There were no trails to our site, water access by design. We had some dry clothing among us, and SIL and buddy were thankful...water temps were around 40 F and air temp was in the 50's. That was the last that boat ever was paddled, a fitting end for 28 years of faithful service. Some of you may have seen the photo frames that paid tribute to the boat.

Lessons learned:
1. Don't pair up the inexperienced guys.
2. Always have adequate dry clothing.
3. Carry some sort of repair materials, even if it's only duct tape.

We were all lucky that day, except for the boat. It could have easily way, way worse...a broken limb, drowning, yeah, we were all lucky!!
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
596
Location
Aberdeen, MD
Never ever ever split kindling while holding the piece you're trying to split....

I don't have an online photo account, except FB... I opened this album so you can see what I did... I'll leave it public for awhile and then close it up again sometime... Took 6 or 7 stitches, and while I fortunately have full motion, I am too old to regrow the nerves... the entire side of my thumb, from scar to tip of finger, remains numb 6 months later. I also put a knife into the same thumb, slicing off pretty much the entire thumbprint/pad part, 2 years ago, by cutting toward it... I think I have finally learned the lesson...

https://www.facebook.com/almarte/media_set?set=a.10200263853777002.1073741827.1172884947&type=3
 
G

Guest

Guest
Well thank goodness you closed down THAT photo, before I had a chance to see it (through my fingers and squinty eyes). I'm not too good with medical emergency stuff, but I just HAD to peek. I've tried to be brave; took our son to the emerg. with a broken wrist, where son showed us how he could make it go "floppy". The doctor said "Would you like to sit down?" So I did. He said "No, I meant your son.""Trust me doc, he's in better shape than I am."
I've bounced a hatchet off my shin, and that was a close call, miles from our destination. I only consider that as "kinda not smart, kinda unlucky".
Don't beat yourself up about your accidents, stuff happens. I hope you heal well my friend.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,392
Location
Raymond, ME
Never ever ever split kindling while holding the piece you're trying to split....

I don't have an online photo account, except FB... I opened this album so you can see what I did... I'll leave it public for awhile and then close it up again sometime... Took 6 or 7 stitches, and while I fortunately have full motion, I am too old to regrow the nerves... the entire side of my thumb, from scar to tip of finger, remains numb 6 months later. I also put a knife into the same thumb, slicing off pretty much the entire thumbprint/pad part, 2 years ago, by cutting toward it... I think I have finally learned the lesson...

https://www.facebook.com/almarte/media_set?set=a.10200263853777002.1073741827.1172884947&type=3


Neat..One patient I attended to had no thumb for a while till the cop who had to ferret in the woods brought it in in a bag of ice.. He fell victim to a power take off unit. Thank goodness axes make clean cuts not shreddy ones.

Oops. might have been out of line as some of you will be having breakfast coffee as you read this.

I did also come across a mostly apart finger while on a canoe trip. It wasn't mine. We stopped for lunch at Bissonette Bridge on the Allagash. At that time there was a bridge. A member of another canoe party cut a hunk of sausage but the knife kept going taking the tip of his left middle finger too. There was a actually a Ranger there who was a little green. Literally. I grabbed the Rangers first aid kit and the guy and got the bleeding stopped. Meanwhile the Ranger had called for air evac. He did drive the fella back to Churchill Dam where the heli landed. The next day we saw the fella again..with his fingertip back on. He wasn't going to let a little inconvenience ruin his canoe trip. He paddle d the rest of the trip with a "middle finger salute".

I used to be a medic for many years. Blood is fine. Puke is not. I had a mission..every puker had to wait till they got in the door of the ER. Not in my rig( I would have had to clean it then)
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
596
Location
Aberdeen, MD
Thanks, Brad, but it wasn't really an accident; not in my book anyway... I knew better... entirely my own stupid fault, both of them, and cost my family unit a few hundred $$, detracting from something else we could have done with it. Had it been one of my kids, I'd have been mad as he77 at them for being so stupid... Fortunately, I have a good job and insurance, but still no excuse. Actually, with the knife, I even remember thinking 'I shouldn't do this, but I can stop it before it goes all the way through the wood'... sure you can...

YC, I was just eating my morning oatmeal when you got to the gross part. fortunately, I have a pretty solid stomach... hypo needles are my squeamish thing... can handle everything else... even watched the doc sewing me up while the Novocain wasn't working... would rather have dealt with the pain vs getting another shot... he was dumbfounded, but went on stitching...
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
A word for the vastly underrated backyard: we carry gear, perhaps too much, but it's got to function and we've got to be able to make it work. Once actually out camping any problem solving is so much harder than it would have been at home. That's where the backyard comes in. (For the picky, the front yard will work as well.)

Set that tent up and see that you have everything needed to pitch it in the woods. Start and run that stove, cook in that new pot, find out any quirks in the operation. Go on ahead and sleep in that new bag and see if it really will keep you comfortable down to such and such temperature. If you start freezing you can always retreat to the comfort of your own bed (expect some teasing in the morning).
The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

When I first get something new I give it a close inspection; looking for anything that is amiss. This is the time to send it back if something is wrong enough to warrant return. Once I return from camping I clean and go over everything again, looking for any repair that needs doing and making sure that I'm not storing away any wet gear or left over food items.

The backyard set up idea is useful as I've described; it also has some side benefits in distancing the neighbors. They will watch you from behind the curtains and if you get into arguments with yourself and gesture wildly while holding your axe so much the better.

Best Wishes,

Rob
 
G

Guest

Guest
I’ve had a couple of lessons about securing canoes in camp.

We were camped on an island in the Adirondacks on a 2-family trip. This was my youngest son’s first trip in a solo boat (Dagger Tupelo). The boats were up on a steepish bank in camp and a couple of us decided to go for a day paddle up a feeder stream off the lake.

On the way back we noticed a boat on the mainland shore in the distance, and for some reason decided to make a long detour to have a look. It was the Tupelo – it had been left untied and had slid off the bank and floated a mile or so across the lake.

ALWAYS TIE DOWN BOATS IN CAMP

We were on a group boat-review trip at Assateague and had drawn a half dozen pricey review canoes well up into the marsh near camp. The boats were all upside down and tied off to the lone available tree via bowlines. The canoes were all Prospectors, one being a very pricy carbon fiber Bell Prospector positioned at the end of the fanned array.

A front blew in during the night with high winds and I awoke the next morning to find the Bell straining at its leash and now positioned in the middle of the array. Sometime in the middle of the night the wind had picked it up, lofted it above the array of canoes and dropped it in the middle, where it jostled its way down to earth, leaving some peculiar scrapes and scratches on the hull.

ALSWAYS TIE DOWN BOTH ENDS OF THE BOATS IN CAMP.
(I now tie the bow and stern lines pulling in opposite directions so the hull can’t move very much)
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,392
Location
Raymond, ME
Flying Grumman... on the note to tie down. Back in the seventies in the BCWAW we were so excited to have a dry camp and opportunity to dry clothes that we just dragged the Grumman up the rock, made camp and spread clothes out on the rock. Looked up, saw a wall of water and grabbed the clothes and ran for the tent. After all a 70 lb canoe can't fly can it?

Yes it can. After the storm passed we found it washed up on shore half a mile away.
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
2,290
Location
Warren, Manitoba
For the fisher people amongst us... always club the buggers Before you fillet them.

On our annual trip back in 2009, we had one of those all day storms, thunder, lightning, heavy rain, tornadoes, the usual stuff when base camped on an island about an acre in size. No big deal really. Between storms and to pass the time, I would go make casts off the point and during the course of the day, caught enough pickerel for dinner. Early evening between storms, Christine set about filleting the fish for dinner, with the brand spanking new Normark fillet knife. She lays the second fish across the bottom of the boat, holds it with her left hand, brings the knife down with her right and... the fish jumped! Back of middle finger on the left hand cut to the bone, back and side of index finger cut to the bone. Lots of blood and swearing ensued. Got the bleeding stopped, she lays in the tent holding the wounded hand up and keeps from going into shock. We are 45km from the truck, a good 2 day paddle back to medical attention.

Too late to leave now and she cannot paddle anyway, so we wait til morning. Next day we are wind bound. The following day it is still a strong wind but we make some progress back to civilization, getting to within a days paddle. Take another loo day since she really still cannot paddle and we have 10 portages ahead of us still. Day 4 since accident she declares it is healed enough to not rush out.

Get out a couple days later. When she gets to a doctor a couple days after that, it has healed well enough that they cannot help the fact that fingers are slightly twisted now and she doesn't even get any time off work.

Moral of the story... always beat them senseless before bringing the knife into play. We have the Berkley Filleting gloves but for some reason they never make it into the kit.
 
Top