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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The American Plainsmen Society (Moderators: Caleb Hobbs, Tsalagidave)  |  Topic: Notes on Moving Through Quicksand 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Notes on Moving Through Quicksand  (Read 1149 times)
Tsalagidave
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Dave Rodgers


« on: March 02, 2017, 03:28:23 am »


Although many books and TV shows always depict quicksand as this inescapable morass from which death is certain, there really is more to it than that.  They really don't present a certain hazard; they are more immediately dangerous to your livestock and gear than they are to you.  Many desert rivers run underground. When crossing these, youíll often encounter quicksand. For those who have never seen it, a quicksand field looks nothing like the movies unless someone has just fallen into it.  Typically it looks like a dry, sandy river bottom should look on any day of the week.  The top layers of sand are sun-dried and ride on top of the super-saturated levels that typically go down deeper than you are tall.  

My first time in the stuff was on the Mojave Riverbed in the summer of 1992. I was mounted and riding with my best friend.  The moment I called out that the ground was moving, I got half way through saying "quick sa...." and my horse broke through.  She panicked and I found myself taking a bath wading out of waist deep saturated sand as she crow hopped about trying to find a path that wasn't moving. For the next mile or so, we walked our mounts since the foliage along the bank was impassable for our horses and every time we approached the bank, down they went through  under their own weight...and taking us with them. We were young, so when we finally thought we were clear and that the sub-terrain water ran too deep to break through, we mounted up and made a dash for it. It all went great until we dropped down into a depression.  Suddenly,  my friend and horse vanished into the sand and up shot a large splash of water and mud.  I tried to stop but went in as well. I looked over at my friend and he and his horse were now treading out.  I reached down with my foot but the depths were well over my head.  I found that I was more buoyant on it than in water but extracting myself from quicksand is time consuming.  I still had a hand on the reins as I swam along side my horse when she suddenly gained a toehold.  I grabbed her tail with my free hand and let her drag me out.  That accident was avoidable.  Had I been more careful and observant, it never would have happened.  Had I not been traveling light, I would have lost a lot of gear. Below is what I learned from it.

Donít fight the quicksand, work with it. Try to flatten yourself out upon the surface and spread out your weight. The good news is that the human body is light enough to float on quicksand (I know this first hand from having a few swims in the stuff.)  The bad news is that your heavy gear can weigh you down and drag you under. (That's how you can die.) If ever you notice the sand moving like a waterbed and you start sinking through, toss your rifle lengthwise upon the sand and shuck your gear. If mounted, slide out of the saddle and dismount softly. If you disturb the ground too hard or startle your horse, you get a sand bath.  If you move softly and toss your gear flat upon the dry surface while breaking through, the odds are, you won't lose your gear.  None of it should sink and you should be able to extract yourself without losing a thing. Just move slow, steady and stay flat.  Now, once you are on the firm banks, sink a wicker basket or nail keg (with loose fitting staves)  to the rim and it will become a water source once the sediment settles. Another method is to dig down a few feet into the moisture and shore up the edges of the hole using sticks and fabric.  Depending on the area, the water may or may not be adequately potable so take the necessary precautions.  Look on the bright side; you found water.

-DR
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LonesomePigeon
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2017, 12:25:45 pm »

Interesting and informative. I did not know the Mojave had quicksand. I once walked on an underground river in Utah. The ground was hard but you could hear the water running underneath.
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Tsalagidave
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Dave Rodgers


« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2017, 10:24:42 pm »

Yep, the Mojave runs off the back of the San Bernardino Mountains and drains out in Soda Lake.  Most of the way, it runs underground appearing and disappearing along the way.  The biggest quicksand field I ever saw was along the Mojave near Fort Cady.

-Dave
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Scattered Thumbs
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2017, 09:00:59 am »

Great post!
Thanks Dave.
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James Hunt
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2017, 02:06:47 pm »

That was a great post. I always assumed the Hollywood version.
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Tsalagidave
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Dave Rodgers


« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 03:54:06 pm »

James, it's great to hear from you pard.  We haven't had a chance to talk in ages.  Let's go to PM.  We have a lot to catch up on.
Also, you went through something that I am going through now and I need to ask some advice.

-Dave
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G Bulldog Grainisland III
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2017, 04:57:04 am »

Most interesting!
Thank you for sharing your experience!

-Bulldog
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Niederlander
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2017, 09:43:40 pm »

Seems the education on quicksand I got from Saturday morning cartoons wasn't necessarily completely accurate................
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The American Plainsmen Society (Moderators: Caleb Hobbs, Tsalagidave)  |  Topic: Notes on Moving Through Quicksand « previous next »
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