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Thread: Have you considered . . . . .

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Cachin' America's Heartland
    Posts
    449

    Have you considered . . . . .

    When placing a cache, have you considered how it might be accessed by those with limited mobility ?
    My friend Jim survived a double anurism, but it ended his Law Enforcement career. Jim was a very active man that was a K9 handler in Narcotics enforcement.
    Now, he is not able to get around very well. A person with a active mind, yet with limited mobility. Jim has written three books since becoming disabled. The guy is sharp, and he enjoys a challenge. Today I called him and asked if he would like to "escape" for today. He replied that he would.
    So when the sun came up we were on the road to Glenwood. I wanted to show him about geocaching, somehow we had never talked about it before.
    As part of the explination of micro caches, I took him to team JBA's "low water bridge". I knew I could drive within three feet of it. This well hidden cache ( a Bison tube ), is hard to see even with someone pointing to it !
    That got his attention.
    Then I put a GPS in his hand at team JBA's "take a break" cache. I knew that this was level ground that he could traverse easier.
    When he got so close that the arrow or the compass wasn't any help, I got out the pda. With the exact coords for comparison, he began to see how having the data in a hand held was so handy. This clever hide struck a chord in his imagination and his intrest level accelerated.
    Now, we were ready for an as of yet unfound cache.
    At the "collier springs crystal mine" cache, Jim couldn't climb the bank but he could watch me and was excited as I explained "travel bug" to him. I had picked up the "wandering Gator" tB.
    Next we went to a series of grandKid38's caches that I had herd could be driven close to. And they were. By now Jim is looking as hard as he can for the caches, and begining to have some success.
    We spent a great day listening to the "OLDIES" and talking about old times and cases.
    Jim is very intrested in geocaching, but wonders if he will always be able have a helper with him. He asks how many caches I thought might be accessible to him.
    Thanks geocaching community for a good day in the outdoors with an old friend.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Morrilton
    Posts
    327
    That's a great story, MB. I'm sure Jim has thoroughly enjoyed the adventure with you. I've given the subject some thought. Over a year ago I requested permits for a couple wheel-chair accessible virtual geocaches in Petit Jean State Park only to find out that they were not approving virtuals anymore. Now that they are setting up waymarking, it seems that would be ideal for a person such as him. I'll bet that if he studied the categories he could find dozens of places that would be appropriate for waymarks. We need waymarks established in Arkansas and this is a ground floor opportunity.

    Before I retired a man at work who was wheel-chair confined drove a 4-wheel drive pickup which was jacked up pretty high for ground clearance. I used to marvel at how he could wheel up to the driver side door, slide out onto the pavement, fold up his wheel chair and throw it in the extended cab, grab different parts of the truck and pull himself up into the driver's seat. I don't know how many wheel chair people climb out of and back into their chair, but I was thinking about that when I put out the "Say Hello to Lum & Abner" cache. Stage one is wheel chair accessible and stage two requires rolling about 500 feet across an almost level grassy area and dismounting the wheel chair to open the cache. However, no wheel chair people have come to it yet. I guess there is just not that many who are cachers.

    I hope Jim finds a niche where he can really be involved.

    Geezer


    Take time to smell the roses and love the grandkids.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Little Rock, AR
    Posts
    26

    Re: Have you considered . . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainborn
    When placing a cache, have you considered how it might be accessed by those with limited mobility ?
    My friend Jim survived a double anurism, but it ended his Law Enforcement career. Jim was a very active man that was a K9 handler in Narcotics enforcement.
    Now, he is not able to get around very well. A person with a active mind, yet with limited mobility. Jim has written three books since becoming disabled. The guy is sharp, and he enjoys a challenge. Today I called him and asked if he would like to "escape" for today. He replied that he would.
    So when the sun came up we were on the road to Glenwood. I wanted to show him about geocaching, somehow we had never talked about it before.
    As part of the explination of micro caches, I took him to team JBA's "low water bridge". I knew I could drive within three feet of it. This well hidden cache ( a Bison tube ), is hard to see even with someone pointing to it !
    That got his attention.
    Then I put a GPS in his hand at team JBA's "take a break" cache. I knew that this was level ground that he could traverse easier.
    When he got so close that the arrow or the compass wasn't any help, I got out the pda. With the exact coords for comparison, he began to see how having the data in a hand held was so handy. This clever hide struck a chord in his imagination and his intrest level accelerated.
    Now, we were ready for an as of yet unfound cache.
    At the "collier springs crystal mine" cache, Jim couldn't climb the bank but he could watch me and was excited as I explained "travel bug" to him. I had picked up the "wandering Gator" tB.
    Next we went to a series of grandKid38's caches that I had herd could be driven close to. And they were. By now Jim is looking as hard as he can for the caches, and begining to have some success.
    We spent a great day listening to the "OLDIES" and talking about old times and cases.
    Jim is very intrested in geocaching, but wonders if he will always be able have a helper with him. He asks how many caches I thought might be accessible to him.
    Thanks geocaching community for a good day in the outdoors with an old friend.
    MB I really enjoyed reading your story. I am always mindful of people with limited mobility when I place a cache and always try to update the attributes accordingly.

    Steve Brown

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Little Rock (south of), AR.
    Posts
    302
    I also have thought about personal limits when placing caches and limits come in all flavors so some times the “Stars”(1-5) don’t tell enough.

    Some of my caches are for the hiker or people with good legs like the 51 hillside steps at “DAM #5“, some are close to being drive-ups for those without those good legs, some are more or less handicapped access (not drive-up but wheelchair accessible).

    If your friend can walk some distance on flat, level, unobstructed ground, or wheel most of the way but can walk a few feet : I have placed the offset cache “DOLLARWAY ROAD”

    Walk just a few feet on level obstructed ground (roots limbs etc.): I have “It’s BAUGH 1”

    Needs a wheelchair but not a joystick: I have placed “CAN IT BE”

    Uses a wheelchair and a joystick: I have none yet but I hope to place two this winter.

    For those who have the legs to run up and down the bleachers at War Memorial Stadium: I have none yet, and NO plans to do so either
    Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    43
    there's a site called handi-cache or handi-caching cant remember which it is

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Fort Smith, AR
    Posts
    846
    I've made sure that most of mine are wheel-chair accessable. check out the Fort Smith caches.
    If your not living life on the edge your taking up too much space!!!!!!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Little Rock, AR
    Posts
    26
    Quote Originally Posted by Valorian
    there's a site called handi-cache or handi-caching cant remember which it is
    Thank you. This could be very helpful for us. We have a 35 year old son in Little Rock who is totally disabled. Thanks for sharing.

  8. #8

    Access

    The site is http://handicaching.com/ and they are doing a great job!

    They attempt to take a wide range of things into consideration and build a rating that is supposed to tell folks exactly what to expect when hunting a particular cache, so that each disabled person can decide if the cache is something they can do before they go.

    I lost a leg in '98 and broke my neck in '02; they can't fix my neck due to the bone infection that cost me my leg, I can't wear my prosthetic leg due to neroma, and after 42 bone graft surgeries I ended up with a chronic pain situation that makes geocaching 'interesting' to say the least! So, I have some insight into geocaching and the handicapped.

    I use a wheelchair at home and when attending events and so forth.

    I geocache on crutches.

    I have found well over 2,000 geocaches in 11 states in the two years that I have been geocaching. (I don't really know exactly how many I have found - I quit logging them at ~1500 unless they either need maintenance or are really spectacular - in either event the owner needs to know!)

    Of the caches that I have found very few, less than 100 I expect, would qualify as wheelchair accessible, even the 1/1s that are all supposed to be.

    For the first 50+ years of my life, until last year, I had a very close friend, Sam Daidone, who had no arms or legs. A since-grade-school friend of my father's, Sam had perhaps half of each upper arm and less than half of each thigh.

    He'd tried prosthetics as a child and didn't like them, and didn't care for wheelchairs either, so he hopped...literally bounced along on his fanny to get around. If it was raining or muddy he'd ride on my Dad's or my back, but otherwise he got around by himself.

    While it is of course not true, folks said of Sam that he could do everything but ride a bicycle! This was because of three things - his attitude of capability and independance, his acceptance of his limits, and his drive to work around them.

    Sam's arms were rounded off about halfway to where his elbows should have been, and he had a stub like half of a thumb on the inside of each arm.

    He could get his arms to meet in front of his face (try putting your elbows together in front of your mouth!) and so could feed himself, but more than that, he learned to drive, work, fish and hunt!

    He had a custom-built set of controls that let him drive - a single lever that he pushed for gas and pressed down to brake, although twice he drove my car out of mudholes while I pushed, he using his shotgun to reach and pres the pedals!

    Clasping a fishing rod between those short arms he could cast almost as well as I can, owned a boat, and fished practically every week of his life.

    He could hunt, as well, holding a rifle or pistol this same way (Imagine holding a rifle by your elbows clasped in front of your face!) and took at least one deer for his freezer every season.

    He learned auto mechanics as a kid by watching and helping my dad build hot rods in the early fifties, and by reading, so at age 22 he started a garage.

    He'd climb up and sit on a stool beside the car and tell high-school kids he'd hired exactly what to do. He ran that garage for 30 years, and had a great reputation - not as a cripple who owned a garage, but as the man to take your car to if you wanted it done right!

    Sam raised six kids and put them all through college - I grew up with them - six of the nicest, most decent folks you'd ever want to meet.

    With few exceptions, Sam could have geocached just fine. He was an avid camper and could 'walk' for miles in the woods, as long as he could take his time. He was sick his last year, when I got into geocaching, but he'd of loved it.

    So, tie all of that information together and you have two people who shouldn't be able to do much, but can do most anything.

    Now take my cousin's husband John. A fully-functional fellow, I think he was an electrician by trade, he hurt his back one day lifting something.

    When physical therapy didn't work they tried surgery. Back surgery being somewhat painful, they gave him some Lortab, a codiene-based pain pill.

    He took a liking to them. That was over ten years ago and the man hasn't worked a day since. He can hunt, by golly, and is in the woods all of turkey and deer season, but, according to him, he can't work. Can't do a lick around the house. He can't even attend family reunions and Christmas gatherings because, you know, his back hurts. He eats those damn pain pills like candy, working harder going from doctor to doctor getting prescriptions than he would if he was on his real job!

    I took him geocaching once and he griped all day, then spent the next week in a pilled-up haze...yet we were geocaching in the same sort of woods where he regularly kills deer and drags them out by a rope over his shoulder!

    Now, how would you go about rating a cache for Sam to access? For me? For John? No way to. No way your rating or description will cover all of the attitudes and (dis)abilities of geocachers.

    With totally different disabilities and capabilities, the characteristic Sam and I share is a Just Do It mind-set, a willingness to climb a mountain even if it means scooting along on our butt (which I have to do too if it's slippery or too steep for crutches). He'd do it to get to good turkey-hunting, I do it to find geocaches. John is gonna make a production out of any of them, and he's by far the least disabled (physically, anyway) of us three.

    How is anyone gonna rate a cache for us?

    That's the difficulty I have with handicaching.com and geocaching.com both; their rating systems allow for handicaps, but how would one go about determining who can do what?

    The 1 terrain rating should be obvious - if a geocacher restricted to sitting in a manual wheelchair can find, log and replace the cache, give it a 1 terrain.

    However, I can get my wheelchair up logging roads in the forest that some of my friends can't walk up!

    Accessibility has more to do with attitude than percieved capability.

    So, not having a clue how to rate caches for drive, guts and determination, much less the tremendous differences in everyone's capabilities, I don't even try.

    As a Reviewer I suppose I should more strictly enforce the 1 terrain as being wheelchair accessible, perhaps defined as a cache in a parking lot or other smooth surface where anyone in a chair can access it.

    I'll start doing that.

    What the geocaching community can do is make a commitment to reserve the 1 terrain rating for truly wheelchair accessible caches - not those with a mostly-clear approach but an obstacle near the cache that prevents a wheelchair from just quite getting there - but caches that are completely do-able, and include notes onthe cache page telling of access issues in more detail than just the rating.

    Of course, taking a moment to go to handicaching.com and posting access info for each cache you hide or find would be of tremendous value!

    I hope that some of this gibberish gives geocachers some insight into the need to rate caches and to give access details for the handicapped ...to one degree or another there are a lot of us out there.

    Any geocacher could be injured at any time, and would want to find caches while recovering. Though temporary, he or she is still handicapped and needs good info on what caches can be done in his condition.

    Thanks!
    Ed

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Conway, AR
    Posts
    1,392
    Thanks for this inspiring story, Ed.

    When I first stared placing caches, I was not aware of some of the unwritten rules of the ratings system. I placed a couple of caches that I rated "1" for terrain. Then, after finding ClayJar's rating system and realizing that a "1" rating was supposed to mean wheelchair-accessible, I decided to change them.

    Since then, there have been measures taken to better educate new cachers about the ratings system. I appreciate the work that the folks at handicaching.com have done in this regard.

    By the way, Ed, there are lots of great caches (a lot of which just happen to be wheelchair-accessible) in Clarksville! If you are ever in that area, check it out.

    Wayne
    I get my directions from above.
    View my profile

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