4 Tips If You Become Lost On A Hike
Hiking is a healthy group activity that can help connect you to nature and serve as a bonding activity for everyone. Most hiking groups will go out in pairs or sets traveling over well-known trails, but not always. If you are adventuring in a new location and lose your way, knowing what to do when you get lost can differentiate between survival and never getting home.
Are You Lost? Don't Panic.
If you become lost during your hiking trip, there are three crucial things to remember. First, don't panic. If you become overwhelmed or too scared, this will significantly reduce your chances of survival. It will help no one if you lose your cool. Instead, put this energy to good use and motivate yourself and your group to take the steps necessary to find help.
It would help if you made life easier for any potential rescuers by creating as much visibility as possible. Wearing bright items like our Nathan Bandolier Safety Vest or Patagonia's Women's Long-Sleeved Capilene Cool Daily Shirt in bright Pineapple will help you stay visible and protected from the elements. Along with your bright clothing, visibility will involve making fires or smoke signals. Smoke can be made blacker (and more noticeable) if you place live vegetation on the fire. However, when making a fire, you should ensure that there will be no chance for it to spread or set light the surrounding vegetation. It would be best if you stick to the high, open ground, which will allow you to be visible from the air. Try to use an International distress code that will be visible from the air. A straightforward distress signal is a triangle shape. You can make one from piles of leaves or other vegetation, which will stand out against the ground.
Be Prepared To Rough It Out
Remember that you should prepare yourself for survival until the point of rescue. You will need to start finding clean water and food. While your body can go for several weeks without food, it needs water. Water is, therefore, your priority and should be considered as soon as you find yourself lost. If you packed your CamelBak, then all you need to do is find a good source to fill it to stay hydrated. If there are no rivers, streams, or other flowing sources from which to collect water, the dew on leaves, trees and vines can also provide you with some water. It's vitally important that you don't forget to sterilize water, too, since it can contain microbes and bacteria, making you extremely ill. It is relatively easy to purify water; boiling temperatures should have killed off any unwanted substances.
In cold conditions, you are at risk of developing frostbite or even hypothermia, which ultimately sends the body into shock, resulting in death. You should also, therefore, prepare yourself for the worst and build a shelter. Initially, this can be a shelter for the night and should protect you from both insects and the elements, and can be insulated using vegetation, grass, and even snow. If you still haven't been rescued by morning, you can always spend the day making some home improvements. In hot climates, a shelter can also provide shade from direct sunlight.
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