Making the Best of a Bad Situation– What to Do When You Get Lost in the Woods

Being one with Mother Nature gives you a chance to unwind and de-stress. But sometimes, people tend to get carried away by the experience and get lost. People who get into this type of situation find themselves unprepared, injured, and exposed to the elements. Avoiding getting lost in the woods is a priority once you set foot on that unknown trail you have always wanted to take.

What to do when you do get lost

Below are some of the things you must do the moment you realize that you are lost:

  • Stop for a moment and do not panic. It is best to stay where you are and assess your situation. Continuing to move around may just worsen your situation. Conserving your energy and spending it thinking about surviving the ordeal should be your top priority.
  • Thinking about your location and situation is the next thing to do. Read the guide you have and dial the number of the forest ranger’s office if the area has one. Otherwise, stick to what the U.S. Forest Service tells you.
  • Look around you and gather as much information as you can about it. Note any landmarks. Check your gear if you have a compass and a map. Recall if you passed any trail signs.
  • Consider what you should do next. Would it be best to just go back the way you came or move forward? In case you have an injury, you should just stay where you are and wait for help. Calling 911 will be most helpful.

Preventing yourself from getting lost can help keep you safe while you are on your trip. If you know you are going out to explore an unfamiliar area, tell someone where you are going. Family, friends, and co-workers are the significant people that you should inform about your trip. Bring survival items, such as first-aid supplies, sunscreen, a flashlight, and an emergency shelter. Have a compass, flares, and extra water. Change your phone and bring an extra battery or another phone. Satellite messengers and emergency beacons can also be handy.

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