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65 votes
Accepted

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

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 ...
41 votes

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

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. ...
  • 22.8k
30 votes

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

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 ...
16 votes
Accepted

What is the most methodical way to try to get yourself unlost? (Assume below timberline in a temperate climate)

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 ...
9 votes

How often are missing people found?

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. ...
8 votes

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

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,...
7 votes

How often are missing people found?

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 ...
  • 171
6 votes

What is the risk of getting lost while canoeing in a cypress swamp?

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 ...
5 votes
Accepted

What is the risk of getting lost while canoeing in a cypress swamp?

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 ...
5 votes

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

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 ...
5 votes

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

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, ...
  • 613
3 votes

What is the longest dead end road on US public land?

While the exact definition of a "dead-end road" is rather vague, here are a few contenders for the continental US. Based off my poking around, saying that a dirt road could dead end hundreds ...
  • 3,823
3 votes

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

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 ...
  • 7,785
3 votes

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

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 ...
3 votes

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

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 ...
3 votes

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

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 ...
2 votes

How often are missing people found?

Using less statistics, and more of personal experience, in my region, pacific southwest [northwest for all you Americans], generally if you are physically and mentally healthy, in good weather and ...

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