Here’s What to Do When You Stray Off the Trail and Get Lost in the Wilderness
It is estimated that 41% of hikers who got lost wandered off the trail. Other reasons why people get lost in the wild include bad weather, falling off the trail, getting separated from the group, injury, darkness, and loss of equipment. Whatever the reason, getting lost in the wild can become a harrowing experience. This is why under extreme weather conditions, injuries, or unfamiliar surroundings, you must know what to do to survive in the wilderness. Here’s how to stay on top of the situation when you drift off course.
It Can Happen to Anyone
Whether you’re an experienced hiker or not, veering off designated trails can happen to anyone. Hence, it is critical that you should stay calm if you believe that you’re lost. Evidently, you will need to find shelter, food, and water as well as keep yourself warm – things which you might not have with you especially if you’re hiking for the day. The good news is there are several tactics that you can use to get through being out in the cold for some time.
To keep yourself warm, you will need to build a fire. If you have a lighter, you can easily gather dry twigs and leaves to start a fire. However, chances are high that you’re not carrying matches with you when you’re just walking for the day. Hence, consider using friction or sparks rubbing rocks and flint to start a fire.
Building a Shelter and Finding Food&Water
You must also build a shelter to protect yourself from the elements. In adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, lightning, or storm, scour the area for a natural shelter that you can use immediately. Look for a rock overhang or bushes. Remember the two little girls who got lost when they went for a walk in the woods next to their 80-acre rural property? They survived after 44 hours using the huckleberry bush as shelter and drank the rainwater from leaves. The girls kept each other warm by huddling and using a rain jacket. Be careful when foraging for food as plants and fruits can become deadly. As a rule, if you are not sure of what you’re putting in your mouth, find your food elsewhere. The important thing is to stay hydrated whether drinking water from streams or rainwater off the leaves of plants.
Signaling for Help
In extreme cases, using an emergency laser is a great way of attracting attention and signaling to someone that you are in distress and need help. However, creating a smoke signal is also effective because it can be seen and detected from miles away. But, the best thing that you can do is to let someone know of your plans before setting off to walk or hike in the woods. That way, they will know when they should expect you back and can alert authorities that you’re missing. Many survivors also say that they were rescued because they left trails and stayed in the same place. The two girls who got lost in Humboldt County were taught by their Dad to stay in one place once they realized they were far from home.
Getting lost in the woods is no fun. But, with some survival techniques, you can keep going until help arrives by making use of what you have around you.