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06-16-2019, 07:38 AM   #1
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Travel Safety for Senior (Retired) Nature Photographers

OK. We all age, and my spouse (who is bored with photography) complains about my lone wolf habits of heading for the mountains with no cell phone access and shooting away. Bear attacks, venomous snake bites, twisted/broken ankle, a bad fall into a waterfall, and imaginary boogies worries her.

So my question is this: "how do seniors in good physical condition manage satisfying nature photography experiences?" Remain the loan wolf? Go with one other photographer? Join an Art Wolfe (etc.) tour? Forget nature and take up indoor still life (lol, etc.)?

Seniors (and others), what are your thoughts and experiences related to this question?

06-16-2019, 07:50 AM - 4 Likes   #2
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You've got to live your life. Take reasonable precautions, and then don't fear the possibilities. If you fear death, get religion.

I've got a bad heart. But I'm not going to live my life never traveling further than a short ambulance ride to the emergency room. If my heart goes on an exciting photo safari, so be it, that's a great way to die.

Enjoy your golden years and follow your bliss - this old guy does.

Last edited by Fenwoodian; 06-16-2019 at 07:57 AM.
06-16-2019, 08:00 AM   #3
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My closest brush with disaster was at 19 years old, running down a hill and tripping over a rock, then flying chest first into a boulder. The end result, apart from having to catch my breath is, I don't run down hills anymore. Theoretically, you get older, you get smarter. My grandson like me at his age is a mountain goat. It causes me discomfort knowing that at his age, I was doing the same crazy stuff. He leaps onto boulders where if he misses he's going down far enough to break limbs and many other risky behaviours

As for what to do, I most of the time go out on my own. Other people interfere with my process, even if they are just standing there waiting for me to finish. I almost always want to spend more time at a spot than others. I hate being rushed. I used to like it when my wife came with me with her gear. These days even she changes my focus. even when we go out together, she sees something, it doesn't interest me, I go on until I find something that does interest me, she catches up or I go back for her. We go out together, but we don't necessarily shoot together. And that is happening less and less. We both get better pictures when the other isn't there.
06-16-2019, 08:28 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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Shop for a personal locator beacon or satellite phone. You'll be able to call for help even when outside cell service.

The largest fatality risk from hiking is probably a car crash while driving to/from the site. Falls come next - don't venture too close to cliffs. Bears, rattlesnakes, etc. seem scary but are rare.

"Go with one other photographer?" That's a wise approach for all outdoor activities. If you don't have a travel partner, though, you can still safely hike solo.

"Join an Art Wolfe (etc.) tour?" That's too expensive for most people to do frequently. Group tours also change the experience of being out among nature.

"Forget nature and take up indoor still life (lol, etc.)?" Lack of physical activity is a bigger health risk than going outdoors!

06-16-2019, 08:56 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
e largest fatality risk from hiking is probably a car crash while driving to/from the site. Falls come next - don't venture too close to cliffs. Bears, rattlesnakes, etc. seem scary but are rare.
Talking about my neighbour hood, of the 280,000 back country nights in Algonquin, there are an average of 13 medical evacs a year. There's probably on average of about a death a year among canoeists. The traffic toll going to, coming from and dying in the park is a lot higher. The helipad for this end of the park is across the river from my house. With the coming of the tourists, helicopter season (the Orange Helicopter that ferries the injured to the major trauma centres down south) is about to start. Almost all of them will be auto-accidents.
06-16-2019, 09:16 AM - 1 Like   #6
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If I go out on a hike somewhere, I leave detailed notes where I will go, when I expect to come back, which trails I use, which highways I use and I take my cell phone with me to text when I'm on the way home. I always carry extra water, energy bars, my Swiss Tool, matches, etc. with me.

In the car, I also have an emergency kit with everything from a shovel axe, saw, steel folding traction mats (for getting out of being stuck in snow), sleeping bag, good first aid kit, tarpaulin, etc. BTW my steel traction mats have been used, by me, to get out very large Canada Post Vans..and not the little transits... out of being stuck in the snow.

For a guy whose 70, I'm in reasonable shape. I also wear very good footwear...hiking boots with good Vibram grips on the soles.

Important things, know your limits, know your strength, remember when hiking know where you are going and remember that you have to hike the same distance back out and tell people where, when... details and communicate at agreed upon times as to when you will get back.

Also have an emergency kit in your vehicle and a smaller one with you.
06-16-2019, 09:28 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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In my hiking belt, I have my pocket knife, a compass, a lighter, and a couple of granola bars. I can survive anything with those things. We are taking a Spot on our 16 day summer trip, but they are darn expensive to keep for day trips. The actual Spot doesn't cost that much, the service plans are ridiculous, and they have a reputation for not cancelling your plans when asked to. We are renting one for 100 bucks, plan included.


Last edited by normhead; 06-16-2019 at 09:34 AM.
06-16-2019, 10:28 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
In my hiking belt, I have my pocket knife, a compass, a lighter, and a couple of granola bars. I can survive anything with those things. We are taking a Spot on our 16 day summer trip, but they are darn expensive to keep for day trips. The actual Spot doesn't cost that much, the service plans are ridiculous, and they have a reputation for not cancelling your plans when asked to. We are renting one for 100 bucks, plan included.
What Norm said. I hike alone and use a Spot too. The only 'problem' is that you have to be conscious to use it.

06-16-2019, 11:08 AM - 1 Like   #9
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the other posters have all given good advice

my 2 cents worth:

if at all possible don't go alone

I don't care if you are hiking, photographing or hunting

if you do,

leave detailed instructions with folks as well as in your vehicle so if anyone is searching for you and finds your vehicle, they have an idea of your route

____________________________________

my last trip to Yellowstone, I spent part of the time with a fellow forum member

and then I violated my own rule and went out on my own but not into the back country, just close to the road way

and when I slipped, fell and started to slide down the slope toward the cliff face, I got real worried

luckily I was able to stop my slide

since my rented vehicle was there any rescue folks would have a starting point

but there would have been no way any one would have seen me at the bottom of the cliff or hear me over the rushing waters.

________________________________

be smart, be aware of your surroundings, bring bear spray, consider hauling a map, compass, loud whistle, signal mirror and other survival gear

Last edited by aslyfox; 06-16-2019 at 11:14 AM.
06-16-2019, 12:39 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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I hardly ever go into desolate places alone - I gave that up 40 years ago when I married my best friend.
06-16-2019, 01:03 PM   #11
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good stuff and recommendations....have never gone somewhere that remote.....however do mostly state where I will be and when I expect to return....do not have a real first kit but there is an overwhelming amount of 'just in case' stuff in my suv…..
06-16-2019, 01:14 PM   #12
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Wandering around the in the wilderness by yourself seems like a bad idea, regardless of one's age.
06-16-2019, 01:47 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I go out on hikes all the time by myself, enjoy the alone time, but rarely for more than 6 hours or so and never without a cellphone and telling my wife exactly where i'm going and when to expect me back. I'm not young anymore and stuff happens. Yeah I can still run and climb and take care of myself but at 65+ I'm also not stupid. I'm probably not as spry (dead giveaway LOL!) as I like to think I am.
06-16-2019, 01:49 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
Wandering around the in the wilderness by yourself seems like a bad idea, regardless of one's age.
When I was younger I did a fair amount of wilderness trekking in Colorado and New Mexico and some paddle and portage trips in Canada. I was never alone and never significantly behind my planned waypoints, and always had a powerful crank radio with me. I did hike part of the Appalachian Trail (Waynesboro, VA to Hagerstown, MD) alone when I was in college, but even then I had planned stops in small towns where I resupplied and checked in by pay phone and you’re never really alone on The A.T. (more’s the pity).

I seems to me wilderness adventures without a buddy is contrary to everything I’ve learned since I was a Boy Scout.

Last edited by monochrome; 06-16-2019 at 02:10 PM.
06-16-2019, 02:01 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
Wandering around the in the wilderness by yourself seems like a bad idea, regardless of one's age.
I don't think that's necessarily so...

It doesn't really matter what environment you're in - the wilderness, out at sea, up in the air, walking around a big city... you consider the risks, look for ways to prepare for and/or mitigate them and - for those you can't - make a conscious decision as to whether you're prepared to accept them and the possible consequences.

I live pretty close to some very elevated, rural, sparsely-populated and - in certain conditions - quite cut-off areas. Driving through them alone, I could easily get stuck in snow, break down, hit an animal and incapacitate my car, leave the road and end up stuck, feel unwell and need a doctor or paramedic etc. I wouldn't consider driving through those areas (especially in winter) unless I had my fully-charged cell phone, warm clothing, energy bars and water, basic first aid kit, prescription meds, my pocket knife, window-breaker and seat-belt cutter, tyre compressor and checked spare wheel with me (in fact, I carry most of that stuff in the car at all times anyway). Such precautions mitigate the most obvious risks, so I'm generally happy to make those journies.

I would never advocate disregard for one's personal safety, but nor would I advocate wrapping one's self in cotton wool. If we assess the risks and take suitable precautions, few situations should be "out of bounds", IMHO - so long as we're not silly about it...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-16-2019 at 02:33 PM.
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