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Old 08-03-2007, 11:11 PM   #1
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Rattle Snakes

Hey guys I know we all watch out for them but just be careful one of our Geocaching Friends got bit Recently, Here is his little story.


A Geocachers Adventure (not for the faint of heart… you have been warned) by TRAKD

Howdy,
Before my story begins I first want to thank everyone for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support. It is difficult to put into words the waves of feelings I have had over the past week and a half but I will try. A week ago Sunday my partner in crime Salmon Falls Widow (and now honest to goodness hero) and I had decided to take a six or so mile hike along Folsom Lake to snap up some caches that have been nagging us for months. We only had a few hours and it was a wonderful morning. Early on into the hike we passed one of our slithery friends with fangs along the trail but it paid us no attention other than turning its head and moving on, so we did the same. It had been a few weeks since our last encounter (about 15 in all this summer alone) with one of our friends of nature so it was a good “reminder” to be vigilant and aware of our surroundings. Anyway, fast forward to the last cache of the day. I dropped SFW off at the trail head and parked the Green Machine. The GPSr said the cache was only 390 feet up the hill and I met her ¾ up with only 100 feet to go. She chose to continue along the trail and I chose to chase the arrow and booneycrash to the treasure. Of course I got to the wonderful view and spot first. Once there I did as all cachers (should) do before searching for anything and made my presence known. I checked over the area looking low and then high and back to low again as I methodically searched where digits told me the prize was hiding. Then… Yep… you got it… BINGO! The prize was spotted. I remember reading something about a moldy log so when I opened the container knew what I was in for. The log was a bit damp and swollen inside and I pulled out my trusty extraction device. As I extracted the log it slipped and proceeded to drop between my feet. I looked down and around as I closed up my extraction device unaware that the next second and a half of my life would be so life altering.

I was a couple of three feet away from the tree as I reached down with one hand to gather the log when something shot out of the tree (about 1 ½ feet high up) like a cannon with no warning. In slow motion I recognized my hazard instantaneously and my reflexes were already kicking in moving my hand back and away… unfortunately, I am no longer that shortstop in college and my reflexes are not those of a 20 year old. This could have been a blessing or a curse and I will never know but the rattlesnake hit my hand between the thumb and forefinger in mid-air as I was reflexing my arm back. The snake sank in but did not get to clamp as the inertia of my arm swinging back flung the snake. I heard and watched in slow motion as it thwaped up against a tree behind me. I yelled a few obscenities as time resumed its normal pace… or did it? Thankfully (to be discussed later) my partner was still a hundred feet down the trail and we instantly headed back to the Green Machine. I booneycrashed straight down the hill with my survival senses kicking in knowing I was already in deep doo-doo.

See, we had been hiking six or so miles today and I am sure I was a bit dehydrated. The cache was at the top of the hill and my heart rate was already up and running when all of this happened. Plus when the snake hit my hand I saw blood spurt a couple of three times after it was flung aside. Yeah, it was an arterial stick. As my veterinarian wife would say if it were a dog or cat it would have been dead within five minutes unless treated. My own medical training and knowledge of the area knew what I needed to do.

Story note: I initially thought the snake was between 18 inches and two feet long but when I made the distance with my hands to friends and family they were quick to point out my male shortfalls in sizes. Turns out it was closer to 2 ½ to 3 feet long.

Back to booneycrashing. I lowered my arm (A KEY THING TO DO) and applied pressure above acting as a clamp to slow the venom already in my bloodstream but the systematic pulsing of the vile fluid was already being felt. I started up the Green Machine and turned the A/C all the way up and waited for my partner. She was deeply concerned and scared to drive my beast but since I was unable to do so she stepped up to the plate. I tried my best to stay calm and reassured her of my status that I would be just fine. She drove as fast as she safely could down the road with unsuspecting cars in our way. All along I tried 911 but got either no signal or “all lines are being used” notice. We stopped briefly at the Parks Kiosk but the lackadaisical actions of the attendants I knew we really only had two choices and that was to get to either a hospital or fire station. Once again knowing the area I knew that Mercy of Folsom was the BEST snake bite hospital in the area due to my past as an EMT.

You can judge my decisions to wait and get medical treatment or get to the hospital as fast as we possibly could… that is fine but it was my life on the line and I knew seconds counted here. I did the math in my head on times and knew we could make the hospital in 20 minutes or so driving safely. If we waited I would get some basic medical treatment maybe in 10 to 15 with no guarantees. I continued with 911 hopping that they would answer and we could meet an ambulance somewhere along the way… unfortunately that never happened. As the wild ride continued I reassured my hero noting details of the incident (size, times, etc) to her in case I passed out because in reality I was feeling my body systematically coming under the influence of the poison. My right hand initially felt the effects and within minutes both legs, other arm, and face were already going numb. But, I continued to reassure that I was alright… just run that last light. We pulled into the loading bay of the Mercy Folsom ER at T-plus 21 minutes (when I started the car I noted the exact time and checked again as I opened the door). Two nurses were going off break and heading in as I cried for help and promptly fell flat on my face after only a couple of steps with my body cramping from the bite. Shelly raced around the Green Machine and helped me up as a gurney was brought out. She helped me onto the gurney and the wild ride continued. I entered a small room with two or three nurses and doctors. Each one fired the exact same questions at me as I mumble answers. My lips had gone numb and speech was difficult but I was getting through. As the next hour or so went on I overhear the ER staff say I should be back up and running in a day or so once the anti-venom or crowfab was on board. How some things give you hope and push you that extra mile.

Familiar faces began to pour in with my wife Debbie showing up and best friend Brave Sir Robin as well. At one point in this ordeal with all of my family, friends, and medical professionals around I had to let loose. I had been questioned, re- questioned, poked, and prodded… I just could not take anymore. So after one more siphon of blood was drawn I popped off… “You know you doctors have stuck me more times than that #$%&@ snake did”. This seemed to lighten the tension in the air as a hearty laugh was collectively expelled. I know that if you can not laugh at adversity and challenges then half the battle is already lost. For the next trying hours and days I have many many stories of both laughter and sorrow. But, in the end I made out of ICU after 7 days and got to see my precious boys. This story ends happily. My arm still feels the effects of the bite as I type these words but I know that too will pass. I have been questioned about my ordeal and if I would cache again. Not only yes, but… HELL YES! My “Cache-Du-Jour” streak is over and as the boys have grown it was about to anyway because they are into swimming and laser-tag and there seems to not be enough hours in the day for it all. But, Geocaching is a fun outdoor activity and I am not going to let a snake bite push me back to the couch and what is the next season of drivel on TV.

I have never tried to preach… oh, I have my opinions but try to keep them to myself. However, I am going to step up on a soap box here. Please do not take this story as one of tragedy… take it for what it is worth… hopefully a compelling glimpse of time that I went through. I initially did not want to tell half assed bits and pieces because people will snap to judgment and take action without thinking. In my humble assessment with my rattlesnake encounter, it was a one in a million shot. It was the exception and not the RULE! Please, please, please should not frighten ANY ONE away from caching. Only make us ALL more vigilant and aware of our surroundings. As a cacher it is our responsibility to remember that we are in THEIR territory. Be mindful and respectful to this and hopefully you will never encounter the freak accident I did. To this day I believe I was aware of my surroundings. I did not see the snake because of how it was hidden and it never made its presence known until it uncoiled and leapt like a rocket. Will I be more cautious… of course. Was I cautious enough in this instant? In my humble opinion I think so.

Cheers
Trevor from TRAKD

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Old 08-03-2007, 11:12 PM   #2
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Thank you all for being patient with me those who helped as messengers both suspecting and unsuspecting and respected my privacy over the past week or so. I also have a bit more peace to say before I wrap up with the serious stuff. First to Shelly. If it was not for you… From my understanding with what the doctors and nurses have now told me I would probably not be able to type these words today. Through great fear on your part you arose to the occasion and hauled my sorry ass to the ER without hesitation. Then both you and Mike sat vigil at my doorstep as I went through the pain and recovery of this ordeal. Once again for this I can never begin to repay either of you but you both will always have my deepest gratitude. To everyone else who stopped by once I was out of the woods and has sent emails, cards, well wishes and the like words fail me. In all my life I never thought that I would have touched so many who cared so much about me and my family. The words of concern and latitude have just overwhelmed me. Thank you.

Ok, now the serious stuff is over (and I will never forget)… Bring on the ribbing… I know, I deserve every bit of it. As I said before if you can not laugh at diversity and challenge then half the battle is lost. I am an easy target now…

Cheers
Trevor from TRAKD


I had to move the bottom part

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Old 08-04-2007, 02:49 AM   #3
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:21 AM   #4
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I'm glad your friend is ok.

I don't hate snakes (I hear they taste like chicken ). But, this is an excellent reminder to be aware, when we're out enjoying nature.
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:33 AM   #5
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:34 AM   #6
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Good story, I was busy last night and couldent seem to read the entire thing. Great story, and my thoughts go out to him and his family.

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Old 08-04-2007, 10:35 AM   #7
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Wow, a snake big enough to hunt deer...
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:37 AM   #8
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Wow, a snake big enough to hunt deer...
Hope he has his hunting permit or the GW is going to be pretty angry.

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Old 08-04-2007, 10:54 AM   #9
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I don't think I would put my stand up in that spot!!!
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Old 08-04-2007, 02:43 PM   #10
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Thanks. I was already completely creeped out by snakes as it is when I walk to my deer stand at 5AM. After that story and then the pic, I'm going to be a basket case! I can see it now, walking to my stand with a cowbell around my neck, a weed eater, gun in each hand and a big ass light. Probably won't see any deer, but that might keep the snakes away.
Glad all is okay.
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Old 08-04-2007, 03:06 PM   #11
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I just want all of you guys to be careful....Don't go overboard.
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Old 08-04-2007, 04:47 PM   #12
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I love snakes, but I hate spiders. Both can be equally deadly and just like anything dangerous you should avoid them whenever possible. Sometimes you can't and things like this happen. As he said, he WAS being vigilant but there wasn't really anything he could do in that instance. My aunt was bitten by a cottonmouth just walking to her house one night. You can't avoid something you can't see can you? I hope he recovers fully and its great to hear that he won't let this stop him doing what he loves.
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Old 08-04-2007, 04:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I just want all of you guys to be careful....Don't go overboard.

I know, i was JK.
I've heard we've had a bigger snake presence this year due to all the rain we've had. Thanks for the story, it was very interesting and a good reminder.
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Old 08-04-2007, 05:19 PM   #14
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Interesting story, it's a good reminder to "learn" about what you may encounter while in the wilds.
Your best defense is understanding, don't let stories like this make you fearful.

Glad your friend is recovering.
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Old 08-04-2007, 06:53 PM   #15
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Personaly I hate snakes. We do a lot of night runs during the summer and it has always been a concern. To be honest I have never seen a snake of any kind during a night run. I know they are there as they hunt at night during the summer. I think the sound of the motors and our slow pace gives them time to get out of the area before we get there. I hope it stays that way.

Now we had a camp area up in northern AZ that did not get used much and we always brought all the kids in the club. We found 2 timber rattlers right in camp on two different trips. I guess we did not make enough noise camping
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Old 08-04-2007, 08:36 PM   #16
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I can see it now, walking to my stand with a cowbell around my neck, a weed eater, gun in each hand and a big ass light. Probably won't see any deer, but that might keep the snakes away.
Glad all is okay.
rofl i would love to see this... cow bell around neck.. weed eater straped to back (with trigger taped down)... gun in each hand.. and big light duct taped on your hat... and you would prob see the biggest buck of your life with a look on his face that says "what the CRAP is wrong with him"

on the other hand.. glad to hear that your friend is recovering
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:01 PM   #17
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Naw, he won't see the big buck until he sets all that stuff down to pee.
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:08 PM   #18
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rofl i would love to see this... cow bell around neck.. weed eater straped to back (with trigger taped down)... gun in each hand.. and big light duct taped on your hat... and you would prob see the biggest buck of your life with a look on his face that says "what the CRAP is wrong with him"
That's exactly right!

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Naw, he won't see the big buck until he sets all that stuff down to pee.
And then the buck would dance around mocking me while counting all of his points out loud so I could hear how big he is. And I'm left holding my...weedeater.
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:14 PM   #19
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my dad got bit by a rattlesnake last year
he was walking the dog at night
it swelled up really bad, rushed him to ER
we were supposed to go on vacation the following week, couldnt go
but he was ok and is doing fine now
but i've never seen a foot that big before
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:22 PM   #20
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Glad you are recovering.
At about age 7 I was tagging along with my father on a dove hunt in
eastern Colorado. We were walking down an old dead hedge row and
there was a very old bale stack not far away when we heard a rattle.
I looked down and about 3 feet away from me was big old rattler. My
dad pointed his 1100 at it just as it struck at me he pulled the trigger
twice and it landed in 3 pieces at my feet.
My dad made me put my hand in his back pockets and we walked out
with him swinging his shotgun left to right like a mine sweeper. The
land owner burned that stack bales a year later and had to stand in
the back of his truck so many snakes came out.
That snake has caused me judge all others harshly over the years.
(Bang!)
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:28 PM   #21
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holy old thread batman! interesting story though.
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:29 PM   #22
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holy old thread batman! interesting story though.
That's exactly what I was thinking!
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:35 PM   #23
my jeep needs a lot...

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That's exactly what I was thinking!
glad I wasn't the only one!
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Old 02-08-2014, 09:36 PM   #24
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Rattlesnake bits can be very serious. This depends on if it was a dry bite or not, and what type of Rattlesnake that you are dealing with.
I have lived in Arizona for approx. 40 years and have had the opportunity to better understand and respect the dangers of poisonous snakes.
First of all, about 1/3 of the bites are dry bites, with no venom, but still susceptible to infection. When receiving a venomous bite, you definitely need to seek out medical attention.
As I mentioned earlier, the type of rattlesnake plays a major part in this need for immediate treatment, and how soon. The Mohave Rattlesnake is the most deadly, and you will almost always have extensive nerve damage before getting medical help. There are many species, but the most common is the Diamondback, and sidewinder, of the South West.

I worked in a clinic in Tuson, where we milled Rattlesnakes for the venom, which is used in certain medicines. I was bitten twice, one was a dry bite, and the other was venom, and I wound up in the Hospital because it became infected.

Hollywood movies makes you think that cutting into it and sucking out the venom, is all that is to it. This is the furthest thing from the truth!!!!!!!!!! Some loose limbs because of a bite, and some actually will die.

So yes, be cognizant of your surroundings at all time, because they really do exist.......
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Old 02-08-2014, 10:05 PM   #25
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how bout a 7' eastern diamondback. I've heard stories of adults experiencing broken legs from the force of their bite.

ran into this guy trying to find solace from a few days of heavy rains on my way home from a wheeling trip... picture doesn't do it justice. probably the largest rattlesnake I've ever seen.

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Old 02-08-2014, 10:34 PM   #26
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WOW, 7 foot is a long rattlesnake. The longest that I have ever seen was a Mohave, about a 5 footer, but even the little ones 2 foot or less can do some real damage. Both of them that I got bitten by, were about 3 footers, but when your getting bit, they seem like 10 footers. And it really is painful, even if dry. Their fangs are very long and penetrate very deep, plus they don't like to let go! The bite is only about 5 seconds long, but it seems like 5 minutes. YOU REALLY DON'T WANT ONE!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:15 AM   #27
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I grew up in the Midwest and there were around but we hardly ever saw them. In the paper this summer they killed a 12 foot Timber Rattler! I had no idea they could get that big! They use to like to sun them selves on the lime stone rocks near the river. Crazy kids in the hood would grab them by the tail and snap them like a whip breaking there necks. They were not right in the head and I was amazed they never got bit.

In college some kids a rattler that got hit by a car and was paralyzed. They fed it and kept in a fish tank. It came out at parties and you I think you know what happen. They said it couldn't strike. Ya until some drunk idiot got to close and it showed it a was just waiting for the right time. I don't mess with snakes or spiders.

Best snake story. Buddy grew up in AZ and is Irish. He was about 10 and his dad handed him an Axe and said follow me. He was carrying a small gas can. He said they had a rattle snake den in the back yard. He poured some gas into the hole and tossed a match. He sold his son to chop there heads off as they came out of the den. He said they came out of den alright. Mouths wide open showing fangs and on fire! As he was chopping madly try to kill them all he saw his dad heading back to the house. He yelled dad where are you going? " To get a beer-keep chopping!"
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Old 03-08-2014, 05:46 AM   #28
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I grew up in the Midwest and there were around but we hardly ever saw them. In the paper this summer they killed a 12 foot Timber Rattler! I had no idea they could get that big! They use to like to sun them selves on the lime stone rocks near the river. Crazy kids in the hood would grab them by the tail and snap them like a whip breaking there necks. They were not right in the head and I was amazed they never got bit. In college some kids a rattler that got hit by a car and was paralyzed. They fed it and kept in a fish tank. It came out at parties and you I think you know what happen. They said it couldn't strike. Ya until some drunk idiot got to close and it showed it a was just waiting for the right time. I don't mess with snakes or spiders. Best snake story. Buddy grew up in AZ and is Irish. He was about 10 and his dad handed him an Axe and said follow me. He was carrying a small gas can. He said they had a rattle snake den in the back yard. He poured some gas into the hole and tossed a match. He sold his son to chop there heads off as they came out of the den. He said they came out of den alright. Mouths wide open showing fangs and on fire! As he was chopping madly try to kill them all he saw his dad heading back to the house. He yelled dad where are you going? " To get a beer-keep chopping!"
12 foot?! Wow! When I lived in S. Fla we had to watch out for Coral snakes and water moccasins. Corals were the worst. A bite from them usually meant death. Now I hear there are some big Burmese pythons growing out the in the glades.
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:07 AM   #29
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12 foot?! Wow! When I lived in S. Fla we had to watch out for Coral snakes and water moccasins. Corals were the worst. A bite from them usually meant death. Now I hear there are some big Burmese pythons growing out the in the glades.
Don't you just love south Florida? We had a water moccasin in the backyard not too long ago. Seen my fair share of coral snakes too. Actually the most recent was when my mom caught one in our house behind a door with a spatula. Seriously, I couldn't make that up!
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:36 AM   #30
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Don't you just love south Florida? We had a water moccasin in the backyard not too long ago. Seen my fair share of coral snakes too. Actually the most recent was when my mom caught one in our house behind a door with a spatula. Seriously, I couldn't make that up!
I'll take the coral snakes over the palmetto bugs! Gotta love Florida! My neighbor once walked out to his screened in porch at night and when he turned the porch light on, he startled an 8 ft gator that had decided to knock a screen panel in and bed down on the porch for the night. It shot out the other end of the porch through another screen panel and back into the canal. The gator was a local that had become a little too comfortable around people.

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