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64

Settlements tend to be near water like rivers, lakes or oceans and the larger the body of water, the more likely there are people. A small stream is likely to join another at some point. This is why going downstream (or merely going down if there is no stream) is the safest bet if there are no other clues. Even if you're not actually on a mountain, it's more ...


40

In many parts of life, you have to play the percentages. The likelihood is higher that going downstream will lead you to a trailhead or some other sign of civilization than it is for going upstream. As for the comment that ....as long as you stay on the road, you will find civilization. This may be true of a road, but it is often not true of a trail. ...


29

Trails show less use the farther from the trailhead one goes because fewer people walk the trail all of the way to the end and most turn around far more quickly. The odds are that going downhill will lead one back to civilization, but in the odd exceptions where this is not true such as when one needs to go uphill to reach the trailhead, trail usage will be ...


26

The VERY FIRST thing you need to do is to not panic. Sit down for a minute or two and let your mind catch up to the fact you are lost. Now, take out your map, compass, gps, or whatever and try to find your way back to where you DID know where you were. If you can't figure out where the trail should be and you need to bushwhack, find a bit of a clearing, ...


11

In most cases, and certainly in this one, you want to go downhill following water if at all possible. Downhill will take you to civilization in almost all cases as humans have tended to settle in the valleys and not on the mountaintops. Going downhill will also help one find more water as streams get bigger the farther downhill you want to go. The other ...


11

A neat little (recursive) acronym i learned in my survival education in the army is STOP (freely translated from Swedish): Stop - Don't panic, Think - Consider your situation, and do not deny the fact that you are lost, Orientate - Look at and get familiar with your surroundings, Plan - Make a plan on how to solve your problem. This is, of course, not a ...


9

Yes, first stop to not make things worse, take a deep breath, and collect your thoughts. After that it depends a lot on the situation. I don't like most of the other answers because they assumed certain situations without stating their assumptions. What you should do next depends on a lot of things, so much so that giving any simple answer is impossible. ...


8

From this article which is pulling statistics from *"Dead Men Walking: Search and Rescue in U.S. National Parks", Wilderness & Environmental Medicine (Volume 20, Number 3), 2009. Estimated number of SAR missions in US each year: 50,000 Percent of SAR operations aiding lost individuals: 36% Percent of SAR operations in national parks to find ...


8

Obviously, this is a scenario that could be avoided with proper planning and better practices. The best solutions would have been preemptive. Regardless, this scenario is where my question is to be asked from. (...) Assuming a normal load out (normal clothing, some water, a knife, etc.), what do you do to survive and make it back to a safe place? I'd ...


8

There are some good answers about trails that I am not going to expand on. For roads that are not heavily used like logging roads These may extend many miles into the forest, with multiple branches, all ending in dead ends. There can be 10's or 100s of miles (or kilometers) of roads. Often there will be a locked gate at the entrance to these areas, ...


6

The best thing to do when lost is to climb a mountain (well probably not all the way to the peak but you want a ridge) to acquire your location. Generally speaking anyway. This won't apply everywhere, but most places on attaining a high ridge you can visually reacquire your location enough to determine which direction civilization is. Once having done so, ...


6

I was always told to make a cup of tea. Doing so gives you time to think, and involves finding firewood and many of the materials you'll need if things go bad. On the other hand, i'm British so given enough time to tie a shoe lace we've usually got a brew on.


6

It sounds obvious, but check that you haven't got anything like a sighting compass on you or anything else with a mirror - I once heard of someone who was rescued but the process was more difficult because of his lack of a mirror. Later investigation found he was carrying such a sighting compass the whole time! If you really haven't, then find the shiniest ...


6

Orient yourself to the situation. Admit that you're injured and lost, but stay calm. Don't fool yourself into feeling invincible, but recognize that you are in fact strong enough to survive. If your current location and situation is a source of danger, immediately move to a safe location. It's better to be alive and lost than dead and not lost. Stabilize ...


6

I would say that the risks would be fairly significant, due to how things are going to be fairly flat and the banks wills have lots of vegetation, both of which will limit the amount of distance you can see. Also, in any areas like that, things will start to look the same after a while. The tricks I would recommend for avoiding getting lost are, Stop and ...


6

It's impossible to give a clear answer to this. There are a few factors to consider: Who is "lost"? You may be able to find data on the number of people who are called in as missing, and where some sort of search mission is sent out to rescue them. However, not all of those people were ever at any danger of disappearing. Some may have wandered a bit off ...


5

You have a leg up as far as canoeing experience is concerned, but there's a definite risk of getting lost, especially the first time you're doing swamp canoeing. The terrain is different from other types of waters you've traveled, but according to my friends who have done swamp canoeing, there are things that you can do, both before you go, and during your ...


5

It's next to impossible to answer your question in a classic "if this/then this" kind of format. There are so many variables and factors that would contribute to choosing what a priority is in any situation like this one. Many will try to "armchair" a situation like this, but really, it's better to have a "toolbox" full of useful skills and techniques that ...


5

I think someone may have mentioned a knife being an emergency kit essential item. Well, here is one great reason: A knife can be used as an improvised signal mirror. From today's news: Three Lost in Oregon Use Knife as Signal. I try never to go out into the woods without a good knife. I now have one more reason to never leave it back at home.


4

I've heard said that if you are lost in the woods, the best solution is to stay where you are until help arrives. The same logic may apply even if you find a path since you don't know which direction to go. https://www.fs.fed.us/visit/know-before-you-go/if-you-get-lost (also "follow a drainage or stream downhill", but it could be dangerous) https://www....


3

Two things come to mind above all else Keep your mind & wits about you Water With these two you can survive a ton of scenarios. Stay alert, don't let panic set-in, maintain a positive mindset and stay hydrated as much as you can. If you can do those above all else then good things will happen.


3

If you pick a direction at random and the go back and forth covering twice as big a distance every time before you turn around, you will walk about 4 times as much to your destination compared to a case where you picked the right direction from the start. If you pick a direction and stick to it, you'll only have to cover the distance once, but there is a 50% ...


3

There is no fixed answer to this question. The solution depends on what type of a geography we are referring to. Most answers say that going downhill is a good solution. But the reality is, in a forested area, if you blindly go downhill on a trail, you might not reach anywhere. For all you know, it might be going downhill for a while and then climbing up ...


2

Follow the ducks with ducklings. If there are no ducks travel downhill towards water until you find ducks with ducklings. Follow them downhill to water. Otherwise: If you have water and food and can light a fire, stay with the plane. They WILL be searching for you. Be in a position to signal them with a smoky fire. Do your utter utmost not to set the ...


2

From personal experience: Note some visible and audible features of the point where you found the trail. Pick a direction. Count your paces to 100 and count the number of times you reach 100. Check behind you every 100 paces, more often on curves and turns that block your view short of 100 paces. Make note of any convergent trails behind you and keep track ...


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