What is your greatest fear?

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My husband and I are getting set to paddle out of Rossport ON in late July for two weeks on Lake Superior. Last year ,we spoke to people setting out of Hattie Cove in Pukaskwa National Park, and later learned one died. This hit us hard cause we had just done the same trip a week ahead.

. So this year will not our first trip on the big lake..it will be our sixth. But we still ponder and think on history. Fortunately we have built a trip plan that is not dependent on schedule and we can wait. Tying oneself to a schedule IMO makes one take unnecessary risks. But still bad things can happen.

Just a reminder that we do not rule.We need to be prudent and do the best we can to cope with conditions, but we are not the boss. We do the best we can to save hide.. ie a messenger ( SPOT) and a more powerful rescue beacon ( a PLB). Yes we carry both.

Lately we have been tripping in a decked canoe and a kayak because big water lures me. An open canoe is not the best tool unless you have an unlimited time to wait.

My greatest fear is not reading the signals that the Lake gives me or us. It does "talk". I wish I had more time to sit on the shore noticing the signals.. Make that " I will take the time noticing". I need to make the time.Nature does not need to accommodate my needs.

I 'll post a TR upon return. I was a bit fractious about "open canoe" because that choice of boat doesn't fit some marvelous open big water destinations very well. Thanks to Robin for giving a little leeway. We will have a Mad River Monarch (sea canoe..I get the gear and the bulk) and a kayak ( good for not much but seaworthiness and survival)

Anyway here it goes...if you don't think it could happen to you.

http://www.canoekayak.com/touring-kayaks/loss-on-lake-superior/

What is your greatest fear?
 
Joined
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Hmmm......fears? I'm reminded of a toy my daughters had when they were little; it was a box thing with pegs you hammer down, as one went down another would come up. Or another way to say it is "there's always something".
About the wind and all: One of my favorite places, the park service requires having reservations for what campsite you will be at for each night. Now that's dandy and I can understand how such a system would look nice from behind a desk, but it tends to push folks out on the water when maybe it's not such a good idea. Now I've always colored inside the lines, but now, in my over ripe old age, I've decided not to allow some paper pusher to shove me into harms way. I'll willingly surrender the site to the guy who has the proper reservation and spend the night wrapped in my tarp over and out of the way. But I'm not out on the angry water.
I believe Gavia nailed it in #2 above: "I trust my sense of caution, which includes staying out of situations that I'm not reasonably well-prepared for." There are a whole bunch of reasons we can allow ourselves to wind up in front of the steam roller, but most times it was us that allow the sequence to get started.

Greatest fear? Missing the obvious signs of caution.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
G

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Kidney stone. Or any other seriously debilitating pain.

Having recent experience with a stone, I can say it is one of the most crippling injuries one could have. Bad enough that one would have trouble making it out without some pain relief.

Also, in terms of pain relief, one almost needs IV delivery for a stone. For whatever reason the body refuses to take anything by stomach and vomiting is almost a sure bet. Unless you can get some anti-nausea medication in soon enough you aren't going to hold down pain pills or water. So add dehydration onto your pain as well.

Another note. Even heavy opiates don't work well on stones. You need an anti-inflammatory. Ibuprofen is not strong enough. Toradol is one that works well. It is prescription only, and doubtful you could hold it down without some help, so pills alone are probably worthless.

I'm seriously considering carrying some kind of anti-nausea medication if I can get a doctor to prescribe me some, and not one which is taken orally.

I can't imagine being 10, 15, 20, etc... miles away from the car let alone a mile away when a stone drops into your ureter.
 
G

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PS I've broken bones and had them set without anesthesia. Not nearly as bad as a stone.

Death doesn't seem so scary to me. The suffering I believe to be much worse.
 
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Joined
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My greatest fear while out tripping is appendicitis. After that it's a sprained ankle or broken leg. Other than that, I trust my sense of caution, which includes staying out of situations that I'm not reasonably well-prepared for.

YC, you probably already know all this, but just in case any of it's useful: being able to forecast the weather could add a layer to your "safety net." I imagine you carry a weather radio. If not, I suggest you do, unless you or your hub is a capable field meteorologist. Wind, waves and fog are your biggest enemies on big water, not counting complacency, which has killed a number of canoeing guides.

Good luck. I hope you don't need it.



Actually we do carry a weather radio but there are few stations.. ie mostly its useless as it gets nothing. Its a marine radio too capable of two way communication but usually there is no one else out there.

Long ago I got a pretty good sense of what is coming in the weather dept..If you stay in an area long enough to notice, all the factors start to make sense. The wind, the direction, the cloud formations, the humidity and the temperature change or not.
 
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This may sound trite and I don't mean it too but what I fear most is not knowing what I don't know. Be it a particular area's weather patterns (I had that screw me up the first time I paddled in Florida many years ago), learning how to react to wildlife I'm unfamiliar with (especially wild pigs) or how to react to certain tidal waters. There are many unknowns we take on from time to time which can create problems while on a trip. I do the best I can by reading what I can find and, more importantly, speaking with folks from the area I'll be in but even that can only give me so much information. After that it's up to my own level of caution; which has become higher over the years as I've gotten older.

That's all for now. Take care, best of luck YC on your big water trip and until next time...Be well.

snapper
 
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l'oiseau,
I used to carry anti-nausea suppositories when I skippered offshore sailboats. Dehydration from vomiting occurs rapidly and if you can't hold down oral meds these worked. I think they were prescription. I am leaving Friday for a 2 week canoe trip and my doctor prescribed some meds for me when I asked to have just in case. (an anti diarrhea med, doxycycline for tick bites that aren't caught within 48 hrs, another general antibiotic). We won't be miles from civilization but I like having some stuff with me.
Dave
 
G

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Dave,

That is exactly what I'm thinking of asking for. I, too, don't go all that far but in some cases, enough where it would be excruciating to make it to the car. And as I recall from my last experience, the car ride was horrible on it's own. By the time I made it to the hospital I could barely walk from the car to the waiting room.

One could always carry a spot and get helo'd out. But that seems a gigantic waste when one can carry a few pills/suppositories that will be the same as what they'd give you in the ER.

One shot Toradol and one of Morphine would be ideal for in the first aid kit. But I don't know any doctor that would give me those.

I'm actually thinking of asking the Dr for the suppositories based on migraines, which I get on occasion. They are bad enough where I can get nauseous and vomit and can't hold down water or pain meds.

As painful as they are, I can wait out a migraine though. There is no waiting out a kidney stone if it becomes blocked and won't move on it's own.
 
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Glenn MacGrady

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Never being able to take a canoe trip again.

When I did trip, almost all the environmental fears were land-based, mainly related to portages:

-- slips, trips, falls, strains, sprains, breaks;

-- when older, the tremendous burden on the heart and blood pressure when carrying heavy loads;

-- coral snakes, wild boars, rattlers, fire ants, stinging insects, and any biting thing that can produce anaphylaxis or rabies.

And, of course, the long, painful, lingering death that likely would accompany these misfortunes for a solo/alone paddler.

Aqueous fears -- wind, waves, long crossings -- were always simply avoided out of conservative prudence.
 
G

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Never being able to take a canoe trip again.

When I did trip, almost all the environmental fears were land-based, mainly related to portages:

-- slips, trips, falls, strains, sprains, breaks;

-- when older, the tremendous burden on the heart and blood pressure when carrying heavy loads;

-- coral snakes, wild boars, rattlers, fire ants, stinging insects, and any biting thing that can produce anaphylaxis or rabies.

And, of course, the long, painful, lingering death that likely would accompany these misfortunes for a solo/alone paddler.

Aqueous fears -- wind, waves, long crossings -- were always simply avoided out of conservative prudence.

This is where the morphine comes in handy.

I will assert that broken bones aren't that bad as long as they stay in your skin. Leaking a lot of blood is always a concern and that will usually happen if you poke a bone through from the inside out or a rock or stick from the outside in.

Anyway, your body will quickly defer your pain caused by a broken bone. As long as you can still move and aren't bleeding (internally or externally), your chances are good of making it to safety.

Rabies takes a while to incubate. I wouldn't worry about that. If bitten, get out and get some shots.

Snakes and other poisonous biters are trouble but one should consider a venom kit if they are likely to be encountered.

A big H (heart attack) is likely to be extremely painful, or so I've heard. But the one that kills you probably won't hurt at all. The lingering, debilitating, painful type is the one I'd not want to fall victim to. Always keep aspirin in your first aid. Again, that might be enough to sustain you until you can get out or get help.
 
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G

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My concern when solo tripping (I’d hesitate to call it fear) is debilitating injury or illness. The same when tripping with friends or family, but I’m more concerned for their health and safety than for my own – I know how cautious I am and the conscious effort I put into risk avoidance.

Other than that my tripping concerns are the more mundane and easily managed stuff; getting to a decent site in a timely manner, not being windbound over long if on any kind of permit or “schedule”, not running out of water on tidal trips, hoping that my vehicle is still there and intact when I return.

I’m usually more concerned about getting there and back safely – vehicle accidents or mechanical failures - whether that is long inter-State drives or wilderness dirt roads far from civilization.
 
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~~l'oiseau; trust me, as a survivor of "the big H" The pain of a fatal one is excruciating (way worse than stones), but there are warning signs- tiredness, feeling "out of sorts", shortness of breath, and pain in the back or jaw. I seriously felt like I had the flu the day before it hit.
By the time you feel the nausea, pain radiating down the arms, or feeling like you have a truck on your chest, it's too late, I was in full arrest in less than 10 minutes.
If you have flu- like symptoms but no fever, take your pulse- if it's raised at all with no exertion, immediately take 2 aspirin and lay down flat. DO NOT MOVE until your pulse and respiration return to normal, and you start to feel more normal (could be 1-2 hours) then get yourself evacuated immediately but gently, or better yet call for a medevac if you can.
I now carry nitro spray everywhere, even though I've never needed it.
I strongly suggest everyone takes a CPR course, you can usually find someone offering a free course, and it does save lives, mine included!
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Recent evaluations and research suggest that snake bite kits don't work and may do more harm than good.

http://www.doctorross.co.za/wp-cont...-suction-devices-suck-emerg-med-clin-n-am.pdf

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB124208165196508345

http://www.backpacker.com/may_09_treat_a_snakebite/skills/13082

The universal best advice is to get to a hospital ASAP for antivenom treatment. However, that's not a realistic possibility for many wilderness trippers.

Moreover, it's not clear that there is currently any supply available in the USA of coral snake antivenom.

http://www.poisoncentertampa.org/antivenom/faq.aspx

http://www.oriannesociety.org/blog/coral-snake-antivenom
 
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I have nightmares about some terrific paddling opportunity coming up but then, when I got out to the shed to load up, I realize that.......I don't have the right canoe for the situation!!!

As for fears while I'm actually tripping: Like a couple others mentioned I worry about some sort of illness that I have no control over. I can tell myself, though it might not be true, that if I were to do something like break a bone or sprain an ankle badly that I could somehow splint it up and make it out. Or at least get somewhere where I'm likely to see another paddler for help. A sudden attack of something like appendicitis however, that leaves you pretty much immobile and in intense pain, doesn't sound like much fun and I don't even try to convince myself that I could "hero up" and paddle and portage 40 miles back for help.

Another fear is that something happens to my dog, my constant travel partner. Not so much that she'd get killed (though that would really suck too), but that she would become badly injured and I'd need to decide if I try to get her out or put her out of her misery.

And there's always the realization that something stupid and unexpected could happen and that there I am, bobbing around in cold water 500 yards from shore unable to get back in my boat. I don't believe people who say that can't happen to them because they know themselves and their capabilities and choose to stay off the water in bad weather situations. That's all well and good and will greatly improve your odds but I would also hazard a guess that almost everyone that drowned while paddling thought the same thing before they were suddenly in the water. Not to mention all the crazy scenarios, however unlikely, that could put you in the drink even in non-extreme conditions.

All that being said I don't really worry that much about any of them. I know they could happen but I also know that the chances are extremely remote. So I do what I can and hope that I'm prepared should something happen. But like everyone else that's living I'm just playing the odds and I only have so much control.

Alan
 
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Grizzly bears. You can do everything right. Take all the precautions. Eat and then move down river to sleep. Still - they are in charge and if the stars are aligned in a bad way you are toast. Fortunately the chances of having a problem are extremely low. Still, I never sleep well when there are bear sign everywhere and we are seeing bears with regularity.
 
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