By: Matt Baker, Chief Adventure Officer
I have traveled the world — 29 countries and counting. Every new destination is an opportunity for a new outdoor excursion. I’ve gone mountain biking in Colorado, white water rafting in West Virginia, parachute jumping in Virginia, and caving in New Zealand! I relish the physical challenge and seeing the world from a different perspective. Simply put; the outdoors is my happy place!
Recently I had a pretty big accident. I crashed into a bear, going 25 mph on my bike, in the Deep Creek Lake area. Yes, you read that right. A bear! After hitting the bear, I tumbled over the handlebars, cracked my helmet, broke 8 ribs, and punctured one of my lung sacs. I had to spend five days in the Morgantown West Virginia Trauma Center (shout out to the great nurses, docs and staff at the J.W. Ruby Medical Center). While not diagnosed with a concussion, parts of the experience are still fuzzy. Fortunately, a homeowner was taking a video of the 400-pound black bear walking by his house, and captured the incident.
***Warning: THis video of the crash is not for the faint of heart.***
A month has passed since the incident. I am recovering steadily and surely, but wanted to share some important things that I have learned over the years when it comes to getting your rush of adrenaline safely.
How to Adventure Safely
Tell Others Where You Are Going
This will help them find you if something goes wrong or you do not come back as planned. I was able to give my cell phone to a rescuer to contact my wife after I collided with the bear.
Know Where You Are
Use maps, GPS, compass, and other tools to plan out your adventure. Know where you are and where you can go if plans change or you need to seek shelter, safety, or any kind of help.
Wear Safety Equipment
My cracked helmet is a testimony to why you should always wear safety equipment. Wear a helmet when biking (or rock climbing, for example). Use personal flotation devices (PFDs) when out on the water. Protect yourself from the elements and have hydration and emergency supplies (lights for example in case you get stuck at night).
When adventuring further away from civilization, prepare and pack an emergency kit including protection from the elements, food, first aid kit. Basically, make sure you have the appropriate gear for what you are doing!
Pro Tip: Invest in good footwear and be prepared for weather changes.
Walk Before You Run (or Jump, or Fly, or Swim)
You can’t put a price on proper preparation, but you can put a price on injuries that might happen if you try to run before you can walk, as the saying goes. Before taking on a full-scale, high-flying adventure, it’s helpful to try and work your way up to meet the physical demands of your preferred adventure. Sometimes you might have to hire an expert or guide! Their knowledge and experience can put you at ease, knowing that you’re in the hands of a professional.
Know Your Limits
At Terrapin Adventures we are always encouraging people to try new things. That being said, stretching yourself to your limit is not the same as entering the “panic zone.” Take an incremental approach to trying new adventures.
Adventure With A Buddy
I lucked out when I crashed into a bear in front of people who were ready and able to call for help. Otherwise I might have not gotten critical care in a timely fashion and been at risk for greater injury. Share adventures and the excitement with a friend!
Terrapin Adventures: First Safety, Then Adventure!
Here at Terrapin Adventures, we don’t see ourselves as just adventure guides. First and foremost, we’re here to make sure that you’re safe! We take safety seriously and everything we do is designed with you in mind,