The wilderness is a great place to reflect on the hecticness of life, run on its numerous trails, and camp to escape city life. However, with all its beauty comes numerous dangers with becoming lost in its vastness near the top of the list. When people lose their bearings, the surrounding woodlands can overcome them mentally and physically, especially if they do things they shouldn’t, like the no-nos below.
Lost In The Woods
Although you may think your venture into the woods will be quick and incident-free, things can change instantly. Because of this, it’s always wise to tell others about your plans, including where you intend to explore, hike, or run and when you are expected back home. You should tell your family members, as well as a friend or two, just in case things slip through the cracks. This simple and easy step can get you found quickly before things go downhill fast.
Yes, you’ll feel that sudden rush of fear, anxiety, and worry when you realize you are genuinely lost without an indication of which way to go next, but you need to get over it fast. Slow down, regain your composure, comfort yourself verbally aloud, and rid yourself of continued panic. A panicked person can make rash, incorrect decisions that can worsen a bad situation. Don’t be that person. Slow it down and think logically, and you’ll safely make it out of your predicament.
Have A Plan
Similar to panicking, reacting instead of thinking through all your possible options can, again, turn your situation from just inconvenient to life-threatening. Most people lost in the woods will suddenly increase their speed and even run carelessly through the woods, looking for known landmarks and trails. This behavior leads to multiple problems, including wasting energy needlessly, running the risk of injury from tripping and falling, and losing precious daylight by literally running in circles constantly. Again, please slow down, formulate a solid plan and execute it.
Understand Your Priorities
There is a hierarchy of priorities that you need to know if you’re lost in the woods, and more times than not, most people prioritize the wrong things and minimize the most needed ones. At the top of the list is staying warm, especially when lost in cold environments. Hypothermia can creep up on someone even if the temperature doesn’t “feel” cold enough to do harm. Therefore sheltering from the elements is a must. Water is also at the top of the list. Three days and you’re about finished with no fresh water in your system. Worried about food? Don’t be; you have weeks until it’s a genuine issue (although you’ll feel weak and sluggish after a few missed meals.)
The long Haul
If you believe rescue crews would find you after a few hours, you may be in for a horrible surprise. Although the best-case scenario would be for a quick rescue, you must prepare for days or weeks out in the wilderness. As such, you should always be thinking ahead to meet your needs. Whether gathering fresh water, building a more substantial shelter, or figuring out options for food by utilizing the surrounding lands.
Prepare For Rescue
The wilderness is vast, thick, and unforgiving. Even though helicopters or search planes may be flying overhead, that’s no guarantee that you will be seen. It’s essential to have a signal fire ready to be lit, with green tree boughs ready to create white smoke. S.O.S. is written on a cleared area using rocks, branches, or anything available nearby. Additionally, any bright-colored clothing should be attached to a long stick to create a signal flag.
Never Give Up
This one is self-explanatory. It will probably come true if you think that all is lost, and you’ll never be found. However, if your will to live and your drive to survive are strong and relentless, you may realize that you’re tougher than you thought and make it out of your unfortunate situation. The true test of survival is a mental game, at times much more than physical. If you beat that game, then the prize is that you live to tell your unbelievable tale.