Quicksand is a mass of sand, clay, and dirt that is porous enough that water becomes trapped forming thick liquid muck.
When one thinks of quicksand I bet you can visualize Indiana Jones being swallowed up instantly by a pit of despair. While there is some truth – it is unlikely for it to happen that way. Not to say that quicksand should be taken lightly, however it is ultimately possible to escape without a bullwhip. While hiking along the Virgin River in Zion National Park, my group stumbled upon a patch of jiggly almost rubber-esque mud. This can indicate – quicksand. It was a little unnerving as I had never come across it. Alas, after assessing the situation, the decision was ultimately poke and prod – and keeping my dog Mac, far from it.
Below I have compiled some of the common tips for escaping and identifying quicksand:
- Common spots to find quicksand: riverbeds, lakes, swamp, marshy areas, tidal flats, and sink holes.
- Areas with a rubbery or bubbly appearance should be tested before approaching.
- Remove backpacks, water bottles and any excess weight so your body is lighter.
- Don’t panic and breathe deep! Become wider – the bigger your body surface area becomes, the easier it will be to float and free your legs.
- AVOID having your friends pull you out too soon or you risk pulling them in and also dislocation of your arms.
- Rely on minor, slow and controlled movements
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Stay safe and travel on!