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Hiking has always been one of my favorite outdoor activities. It can be as easy or strenuous as you want. You can go places where you won’t see a soul or where you’re following in the footsteps of the people in front of you. What you absolutely don’t want to do when you’re out hiking, is get lost.
Now, a few years ago or more, when I was young and dumb, I decided to go hiking by myself in an area I had only been once with a friend. It was a sunny spring afternoon in Colorado. I wore shorts and a tank top and I drove out. It wasn’t a long drive and I’d brought a bottle of water, which I left in the car, and struck out into the woods.
Now many of you may be yelling in your head, ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING?’ But hey, I thought I would be fine, I’d been hiking for years! After 30 minutes of walking, I realized I was no longer on the trail and I had absolutely no idea where I was. Nothing looked familiar and there was no one else around.
I was lost.
Now I didn’t panic. I had my phone with me and I was able to text a friend what was going on but I couldn’t tell her where I was because I didn’t actually know. After stumbling around in the pinyon trees I eventually made it back to the trail and then my car. This was after the clouds rolled in, the wind picked up and the sun started going down. I got lucky and I knew it.
Now, there were a lot of things I did wrong then and I don’t make those same mistakes anymore. After my brush with danger, I always follow these guidelines.
If you do get lost, you should follow this advice from hikesafe.com.
Stop, Think, Observe and Plan. Decide on a plan and stick to it. If the last known location is within a reasonable distance, try to go back to it. If you can’t find any recognizable landmarks by backtracking, stay put.
If you can’t rescue yourself