While hiking we always run the risk of getting lost. Each year nearly 2000 people a getting lost in the wilderness, and the hiking activity has a greater share of lost people than any other outdoor activity.
We recommend practicing some safety tips as you hike on unknown day hiking trails. Before participating in a journey, you must carefully plan your route. Despite excellent planning, you may still find yourself getting lost especially if you are in unfamiliar places to hike.
If you find yourself scrambling on finding the right way, there are several ways to get back on track. In this article, we shall be discussing the measures or preparatory tips to avoid getting lost. Moreover, we shall also look into the steps and tips for survival you can do if you get lost.
Before your actual hike, you can perform several steps to ensure that you are safe. Provided below are some activities you should complete before your trip.
Sharing Your Hiking Plan
We recommend telling someone your plans such as schedule and hiking location. With this, they can easily call for help should you encounter any emergency such as getting lost. Furthermore, if you fail to arrive on the expected date, someone can raise an alarm to authorities.
Researching the Location
It is pertinent to learn information about the location you are going to. Moreover, we recommend finding a suggested route by experienced hikers on the area or only visit hiking places nearby.
Bringing Navigational Tools
There are several navigational tools available in the market nowadays for hikers. Old-school hikers may utilize maps and compasses. On the other hand, modern hikers utilize GPS and other mobile devices which are more reliable.
Keeping the First-aid Kit
If you are traveling alone, we recommend bringing along a first-aid or emergency kit. In case you get lost, you must be knowledgeable on how to utilize its components.
You can take first-aid and emergency preparedness seminars in your area. There are even some classes which particularly discuss personal first aid.
Fully Charging Your Devices
As you prepare your mobile devices, do not forget to fully charge them. With this, you can get the most out of its battery.
We also suggest saving the contact numbers of the nearest hospital or medical institution in case of emergency. You can also bring along portable chargers or power banks. These can help extend the battery life of your mobile devices.
Reading the Weather Forecast
When traveling in a foreign location, you may expect different weather than in your home area. With this, we recommend checking out the forecast of the weather.
Moreover, you should know when the sun is setting. In this way, you can go back to your shelter before the sun goes down. Experts suggest halting your expedition when it goes dark as you become prone to getting lost.
Bringing a Companion
As much as possible, it is pertinent to bring a companion. Hiking alone feels refreshing and empowering. Nevertheless, experts do not recommend going alone. A companion can easily attend to any medical emergency.
These are just some of the activities you may perform before going on a hike. We highly suggest considering to complete these to make sure your safety.
What to do if you are lost in the wilderness?
Should you get lost, it is pertinent to find your way again. There are several things you may perform to get back on track. You can also get help and wait for rescuers to find your location.
The different techniques and strategies are best used in specific situations. You may need to utilize your judgment when selecting the best approach. Provided below are some actions you can do if find yourself getting lost.
Using Your Navigational Tools
During your pre-hike preparation, we recommend bringing along maps, compasses or GPS. If you were able to bring any of them, we suggest observing your current location.
Your GPS can specifically help you determine landmarks. A good outdoor watch will also be of great help as it also can show the altitude. This can help you gain your footing and find the correct way back. It is important to mark your shelter or campsite as your home base. This will allow you to retrace the steps and get back on the correct track.
Following the Water
Should you deem that you are lost and with no navigational tools, we recommend not turning into panic mode. This may be daunting at first but you can still try to find the correct way to safety. One useful solution is following a creek or local river.
The creeks and river follow a low ground as they flow in the wilderness. Usually, they reach the ocean or alike which will help you gain options to access for help. You may encounter settlements or civilization in this area.
It is often that people build their business or homes nearby water sources. With this, you can seek assistance from the people in the area.
Climbing on High Ground
If you are on a situation again with no maps or GPS, you will need a top view of the hiking area. With this, you can climb a tree or go to a higher location for the bird’s eye view.
Climbing a tree, however, may cause injuries and potentially hurting yourself. With this, we recommend finding a mountain or large hills that you can easily climb. In this case, a pair of compact binoculars would be of great help to spot a location you already been.
These are some ways so that you can find your way should you get lost in the wilderness. We recommend checking out other equipment you can use in case of emergency. Moreover, you can check if there are other hikers which can help you.
In general, getting lost may be frightening. Nonetheless, it is best if you remain calm. Before your hike, you must prepare yourself in dealing with these challenges. We recommend you avoid showing panic and find ways to get back on track.
When all else fails and you find yourself still getting lost, we recommend being alert for other hikers. Several signs may help you get confirmation that you are going on the right way. This may also signal you to change your route.
Some signs which help you identify signs of life are smoke, barking dogs, cars, farm animals, trash and footprints. We recommend identifying the direction where the footprints come from.