It seems a little ominous that my cache photo is from a mostly forgotten cemetery in a subdivision, but it is unfortunately fitting. Remember when I mentioned that cacher who fell off a ladder and went into the hospital about three weeks ago? Well, he passed away yesterday. On a certain level, I feel glad that he got to do the thing he loved pretty much until the end of his life. On another level, though, I would be among the first to tell you that a man of his age (I believe he was 79) had no business climbing ladders alone in the middle of nowhere.
Caching sometimes involves a certain amount of risk, especially on the higher terrain side of things. Tree climbing, ladders, boats, scuba gear … Of course, not every cache is for everybody. Many caches involving serious tree climbs or water are not going to be found by me unless other people are there, and you will never catch me in scuba gear. Even a long hike can be dangerous under certain conditions. When I was in Phoenix, hunting around the brownbelt, I was facing the possibility of running out of water. In that case, it would have only meant severe discomfort, but if it had been any hotter, it could have been dangerous. A fall on some rocks could have meant a sprain or a broken ankle. I might have been stuck until help arrived.
About a year ago, in the aftermath of the Texas Challenge, I was looking for a cache in a cemetery, and I tripped backward over an old well. I was able to roll with it, so nothing was hurt but my pride (another cacher saw it happen). I’m lucky to be pretty nimble and graceful for my size, but it only takes one failed step or one bad fall. A kayak can capsize. An ill-placed ladder can fall out from under you or on you. A tree limb can break, falling on you or out from under you. Any number of things can happen.
So be careful out there, folks. We can always get another cache. We can’t get another you.
Rest well, Scooterino. You will be missed.