Nobody wants to get lost. However, when in the wilderness, it is possible to get off trail. This article will give you some navigational instructions to follow in order to get back to civilization. It is important to be confident of your position, whether you are on or off trail. A map, compass, or GPS is useless if you do not know how to use them.
Then there is the situation of not having any of these items. Let’s take a look at things to look for, when you are off trail.
1. Identify your least point of resistance. Pay close attention to predictable conditions. This would be things like snow, fog, thick vegetation, uncrossable streams and high points.
2. Select noticeable and mark-able landmarks. This would be things like mountain peaks, trees that can be marked and man-made objects like telephone poles or towers. In dense areas, expect to make about a mile per hour.
3. Avoid green. By this, I mean stay out of valleys and creek bottoms. Travel high. You can see better where you are going. If you are low, look for barren ridge tops. If you do have a map, these will be shown on your map.
4. When traveling above a treeline, chart the most direct route to your destination. Avoid obstacles like cliffs. Use open or gradual slopes to gain or lose elevation. Use passes to avoid unnecessary elevation gains.
5. A wide valley can be useful for easy walking and camping sites. Just be selective and watch for unseen canyons. In a mountain terrain, use the contours lines of the mountains and mark spots like steep walls.
6. Identify hidden options. Select more than one way of travel. Have an alternate plan of movement. If you use a map, use a highlighter to mark this trail.
7. When things start looking the same, look for other markers. Trees and bushes can quickly confuse a walker. Always use the largest landmarks available.
1. Carrying a cellphone, with extra batteries, is also a smart idea.
2. Always let individuals know where you are going and when you plan to return.
3. Be able to identify North and South. In the northern hemisphere, green moss and algae grow on the north side of trees. The sun travels east to west. It is closer to the south, in the summer.
4. Answer a noise with a noise. If it is a wild animal, it will usually run away. If it is a person, you are in luck.
5. Stay warm and dry as best you can.
Many times it is a great idea to stay in one place. This is especially true if you are lost and others know the area to search. However, if you must walk out, consider the navigational tips above. Finally, never hurry and have confidence that you will find your way.