When heading out on a hiking trail you’re probably not thinking you could ever seriously get lost. Most people believe they know enough about where they are going to make it there and back again safely. Confidence is great but as a responsible hiker you should always be prepared for the unexpected.
How would I get lost?
There are many ways that a hiker can get lost in the woods or even lost on the trail. The trail may take longer then you expected and the sun could set leaving you to find your way out in the dark. Taking shortcuts or wandering off the main trail can get you disoriented and you may not be able to find your way back on to the trail.
What are some precautions to take?
- It's always a good idea to hike with a partner or a group of friends and form the buddy system, make sure you always know where that person is and that person knows where you are at all times. Do not separate from this person.
- Tell somebody else where you are going and when you expect to be back. If you do get lost this person will be able to tell search and rescue teams the area you are in.
- Wear something bright or take something with you that is bright and light colored. This will help to alert search and rescue teams to you and/or your location.
- Plan your trip out on a map and use a compass if possible.
What to do if you are lost?
- If you are lost, find an area that will make it easy for search and rescue teams to see you, mark this area with something bright and easily seen. Look around for shelter, something that will protect you from any weather conditions that might happen before you are found. Be sure not to wonder, you need to stay in that area so that rescuers can locate you easily.
- Try and stay warm by building a fire, this will also act as a beacon alerting rescuers to you.
- Carry a whistle; the sound can travel for miles in the woods, so it could be your lifesaver to alert rescuers of your location. Even on short hikes you should always carry one.
- Stay off of the cold ground, the ground can speed up the process of your body cooling down.
- Be careful what you eat and where you drink water from. Be 100% sure of what you're eating. You don't want to make things worse by getting sick. You can go without food for a long time, but you cannot go without water.