Did you know that around 1.6 billion people live in forests across the world? While some – for camping and outdoor adventures – these people can encounter unforeseen circumstances such as getting lost in the woods or other untamed areas.
Survival skills are something that many of us wish we had. These can be empowering, giving us comfort that things could be less difficult during difficult times.
Not everyone has the chance to be completely immersed in nature and learn these skills. When we find ourselves outdoors, it can give us a chance to look into these.
Getting lost in the woods can scare most of us. The fear of the unknown and not knowing what to do is nerve-wracking. Let’s take a look at what to do if you get lost in the woods.
Table of Contents
Signaling For Help
Searching for help is an important factor to consider when lost in nature. If you want to signal for help, try to climb to higher ground and then think about what you might have available to you to help send out a signal. Consider anything such as a bright-colored fabric, a mirror or foil, a whistle, and a flashlight.
Bright clothing or objects can be used to catch the attention of people in the area. Flashing a mirror or using a flashlight in SOS signals is another way for people can be alerted. Using your voice and making loud noises, such as whistles, to alert people of your presence is also a good option.
Marking Your Presence
It’s important to mark your presence if you get lost in the woods. Try to find a large tree that stands out from the rest and carve your initials into the bark. This way, people searching for you will be able to spot your name more easily. Use rocks or branches to build a pile in the shape of the letter ‘X’.
You can count down the steps between you and your marker if you need to make your way back. Once you’ve made a marker, the best thing you can do is stay put.
Managing Your Resources
Managing your resources is of utmost importance. If you have a phone, use it to call for help or contact someone to let them know you’re lost. If no cell service is available, stay put and build a shelter where you can find warmth and protection from the elements.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and making use of natural resources like berries or any nearby streams of fresh water. As you move around, do so slowly and cautiously and pay attention to your surroundings in order to create a mental map of the space. Set up a landmark so you can find your way back to your original spot.
Make sure to gather your resources and plan your journey with Running Wild Explorers. It can help you make the most of your wilderness time by providing guidance on safety and survival techniques like how to build an emergency shelter, find and purify water, as well as find edible plants and animals.
Assessing Your Surroundings
The most important step if you are getting lost is to assess your surroundings. Begin by looking around and noting the general landscape, including any rivers, ponds, hills, and other features. Make sure to note any roads or large landmarks, such as houses or bodies of water.
Also, note which direction the sun is in relation to you so you have a general idea of where you should be heading. Take a few minutes to focus on the area around you and be sure to take notes on what you’ve seen and heard.
Planning Your Movement
An important step is to always take a moment to assess your situation and take deep breaths to think clearly. Stay in the spot you find yourself in – don’t wander around in random directions and make your situation harder to recover from. When navigating in the woods, it is best to move in the direction of rising ground like a hill or ridge and look for nearby clearings with open sky, as these are easier to locate.
If all else fails, create an easily recognizable shelter and wait for help. This area should be your immediate focus as it can help make you more visible to those searching for you. With a bit of careful planning, insight, and luck, you should be able to find your way home safely.
Sticking To The Trail
Staying on the trail is the safest and most logical thing to do if you get lost in the woods. Make sure to remember basic survival skills to help you stay safe. Keep in mind that even if you are following a trail, it can become overgrown or muddled in certain areas.
Noting where the trail starts and finishes is a good idea, so you have a reference point. Be aware of any landmarks or trail features like creeks or ridges. It is important to also note the direction the trail takes and any distinct curves or inclines. Pay close attention to the terrain and consider bringing a compass and map.
It is also helpful to avoid distractions as much as possible and stay focused on the trail. Most importantly, do not wander off the trail under any circumstances. It can be easy to become disoriented when in the woods, and the trail will provide the best guidance.
Survival: What to Do If You Get Lost in the Woods
The overall takeaway from this guide is to know what to do if you get lost in the woods. Be prepared and stay calm. With the right essentials and knowledge of the environment, you will increase your chances of being found.
To ensure you will not get lost, plan ahead and bring a map, compass, or GPS with you. This way, you can safely explore and enjoy nature’s scenery.
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