Don't Get Lost!|
Tips for Outdoor Recreation
We all plan on not getting lost, but the truth is, most of us have been. We have been disorientated, read our map wrong, missed a feature, or just plain spaced out. Here are some suggestions to all explorers a like to make sure that getting lost doesn’t end up in spending the night in the backcountry with a granola bar and one liter of water.
Rule #1: Tell People Where You are Going
This is the most important rule (hence it’s numero uno standing.) Tell your family or friends WHERE you are going, WHEN you are going and your RETURN. Make sure to stick to your plan as well, or notify your loved ones of any changes. If the trail has a ranger station, also check in there before you take off.
Rule #2: Bring a Map
This may seem obvious, but really, bring a map. If the trail is marked and seems straightforward, it may not be. A map can get you back on track, tell you other routes, point out landmarks and help you orientate yourself. A maps best friend is a compass, so carry on of these also. Oh, and know how to use them both.
Rule #3: Be Prepared
Plan for more than you think you will need. Bring more FOOD, WARM/ WATERPROOF CLOTHING, and WATER than you think you might need. In addition, I never travel without a HEADLAMP, KNIFE, WATER PURIFIER and a LIGHTER. Think of the worst situation you might find yourself in and plan accordingly. These items may be more than you want to carry, but in a pinch, you will be thankful for these items.
Rule #4: Stay Calm
If you find yourself disorientated, stay calm. If you have followed the above rules, you aren’t so bad off. If you can rationally think about where you went wrong, it is worth a shot at retracing your path. Use your map and compass, try to orientate yourself and find recognizable features. You can only do these things when you are CALM.
Rule #5: Stay Put
Once you have exhausted your options and are lost, stay put. Now it’s time to TAKE CARE OF YOURSLEF. Stay hydrated, warm and ration your food. You can live for a while without food, but water is more of a necessity. Create a shelter against the elements and start a fire for warmth.
Rule #6: Stay Positive
In many cases, the difference between someone who survives being lost, and someone who doesn’t is all in their attitude. Be prepared before you venture out, be resourceful, take care of your basic needs and stay positive.