So. Today, we are going to be knockin’ on some wood when we’re done here. We’re going to talk about when things go wrong. Seriously. Knock on wood. (now, would be good!) What to do when you’re lost.
You are out on the Adventure of your dreams, the first time or the hundredth, and suddenly things, events or nature get really bad, really fast. You are lost. You are hurt. You are trapped.
“There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” ~Washington Irving, The Sketch Book, 1820
Somehow, you have become separated from your group or guide. Ha! Not~ with Pioneer Outfitters! We do not, loose people! Not one! Not ever! (Not even if we’re asked to loose someone!) I wouldn’t even want to try to imagine the “discussion” that would bring on when the Boss found out that a guest was lost… (shudder) Back to the point, you are suddenly alone and have no idea where you are.
This could also be you out and about alone in your own wild places, close to home and are somehow hurt, and still alert, what do you do?
Now what? (Go ahead, knock on wood.)
First. Sit down and calm down.
You are lost or separated from your party or guide, maybe you are hurt. Stop. Sit down. Breathe. Don’t think, just breathe for a minute.
A panic attack or even shock may be something you’ll have to fight. So, don’t think. Stop. Sit down and breathe for a couple minutes. Slow your racing heart. Gather yourself at your center and breathe. Every breathe grows the center until, after a minute or two, you are all full of you, you’re still there.
I have heard people say, “You are not lost. You are right where you are. Everything else is lost.” For some reason, that always makes me feel better, thinking of that silly statement!
Ok. You’ve calmed down. Now, you need to think.
What do you have with you? Now is the time for rational thought. What is in your backpack? We spoke about what to always have with you in Your Outdoors Checklist.
Think about the last place you were with your guide or if you are on your own, certain of your location. You are ok, you can take control of this situation.
Look around. Be observant.
It’s time. Look around carefully. Be alert. Look for a spot that you can easily reach, open to the sky, so that you can be seen from the air, if need be. Look for what is around you that can be used as shelter. Look for dead-fall or limbs that can be used for a fire. Take in all that surrounds you.
Make a plan. Take control. You can do this. You need shelter and a fire. Start with those.
First, tie something you can see to the closest tree to you. Make sure you can see it as you walk away from the spot you are at. That is YOUR marker.
Gather twigs, leaves and small wood first. Make a good size pile off to the side of where you will make a fire ring with rocks or stones. Gather as much medium and bigger limbs, deadfall or wood you can cut (if you have a pocket saw or hatchet) and pile it nearby also. You want to gather as much wood as you can while you have light.
As you gather wood for your fire, remember, stay alert. Look for a natural shelter, an outcropping of earth or rock, trees that have fallen and are elevated, even a tarp if you just happen to have one handy.
That is where you will make your fire ring and make piles of kindling and firewood. Gather stones or rocks, or even dig a indentation into the ground, to make a fire ring and to make it safe, for you and the wilderness.
Beware of hypothermia.
Now that you have your wits, you have shelter and a fire, you will begin to cool very fast. If you have extra clothing, put it on. Hypothermia is absolutely, hands-down, the scariest thing out there, in my opinion.
Stay alert to your surroundings, keep your fire going. If your pack has food and water in it, have some. Keep green leaves or limbs nearby, as they make a good smoke signal. Your fire’s light is a good signal for those searching for you.
People are coming for you. Stay safe. Stay positive. (Just think of the stories you’ll be able to share at the campfire!)
As I am writing this, I find myself concerned that you may have missed the previous posts in our Women in the Outdoors series.
Please, if you are venturing into the wilderness or wild places near you, take the time to read these posts:
- Introducing, Women in the Outdoors
- Women in the Outdoors ~ Your Health Outdoors!
- Women in the Outdoors: Six Steps to Safety First
- Women in the Outdoors ~ Make a Plan
- Women in the Outdoors: Your Outdoors Checklist
- Women in the Outdoors: Adventure Begins in Alaska
Contact Us! Here, in the comments or click on the banner and we will get right back with you.