Getting Lost Hiking

Lost HikingI think that most hikers have a sense of bravado and really don’t worry about getting lost.  But, the simple fact of the matter is that it can be very easy to get lost.  People go hiking in areas where they have never been before and thus do not know the terrain, weather or landmarks.  I know that I love to go to places that I have never been before, that is one of the joys of hiking.  You are exploring new and exciting areas, seeing plants, animals and scenery that you have not encountered before.

Greg Hansward, our guest writer of the week has some helpful hints for you, so that you never get lost.Hiking in the Outdoors – Don’t Get Lost

 

Hiking in the Outdoors – Don’t Get Lost

By Greg K. Hansward

Hiking is a fairly safe activity especially compared to extreme sports but there are still some dangers that you need to be prepared for. Among them, getting lost is probably the number one problem for beginning hikers. Inexperienced hikers get a false sense of security especially if they have taken a handful of hikes without incident. Don’t fall victim to this. Here are some things that will help you not get lost and what to do in case you do get lost.

Getting lost is easier than most hikers think. Stepping off the trail only a few hundred yards into unmarked thick vegetation can easily disorient you. You may think you know how to get back and mistakenly go in the wrong direction which will make it worse. Or you may misread a map and think you’re going in one direction but in reality you’re going in another.

First off, become familiar with your map and know where you’re going and what landmarks you should see along the way. In this way you’ll know approximately how long your hike should last and when you should be seeing the landmarks. Also hike with a buddy and if possible, someone who is an experienced hiker. Two heads are better than one so if you start going in the wrong direction you have someone to compare notes with.

Stay on well marked trails until you gain some experience. Make sure you bring some basic navigational equipment; a map and compass is essential. A GPS unit is also beneficial but they don’t always work if there’s no signal so make sure you have a compass as a backup. Know how to use your navigational equipment before you set off on your hike. Also know the general direction of your starting point; if you get lost you can find your way using your compass or the sun or stars.

While you’re hiking make mental notes of landmarks such as outcroppings and streams. If you get lost stay calm and try to retrace your steps by remembering the landmarks you’ve seen. If you’re still having trouble then try to find a stream. Most trails start at the bottom of a hill or mountain so if you follow the downward flow of the stream it should end at the bottom of the hill or mountain. You can also climb a tree or hike to a clearing to get a view of your area that can help you get a sense of direction.

Lastly, make sure you’ve left your itinerary and when you should be back with a friend or relative. In case you get lost, they will know the area to look for you.

The author Greg Hansward is interested in information relating to malaga spain and costa del sol and malaga. Recording his experience in detailed publications like http://www.alicante-spain.com the columnist established his deep knowledge on areas associated with malaga.

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Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security.  Take precautions on your next hike.  Remember to take a map and a compass.  Always memorize or at least familiarize yourself with landmarks.  Take the time to get your map out and practice identifying where you are.  If you are with a group of people, have everybody pinpoint your location on a map.  If you have one, verify your location with a GPS, but after you have already tried to locate yourself with the map.

Taking a few precautions when hiking or backpacking can keep you headed in the right direction.

 

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