Trouble can come at any time during a hike and expert hikers know this all too well. Someone from the department of the county sheriff who lived through plenty of California mountain wild nights said that anyone today interested in reading survival stories should start with those from the 19th century. Errors like accidentally going astray can be prevented by exercising good judgment while on the trail he said.
Proper arrangements have to be made if a trek into the woods and wild is to be successful. Apart from a flashlight plus a fire starter and a pocket knife hikes require taking along a map and compass on top of a pair of sunglasses and a first aid kit together with additional food and clothing as well as waterproof matches.
The situation might turn ugly so be ready for it. People who make unscheduled overnight stops in the woods should also arm themselves with a whistle as well as a space blanket and some signal mirrors for a source of light flashes from the sun advise search and rescue personnel.
Hiker status is communicated in a timely fashion using speed of light. Lost hikers have frequently had success alerting others of their location by flashing the flashbulbs on their cameras. While helpful with summoning assistance the sound of whistles may not be loud enough to be heard beyond the trees and water.
When problems crop up during a hike do not rely too much on a cellular phone to get you out as there is a good chance placing calls will be impossible especially in areas outside of the front country. Straying from the established trails or taking alternate routes is usually how hikers lose their way and is a leading cause of a search.
Territorial maps are not the easiest to read so if you do not know a lot about them sticking with the trails might be best. It would be a mistake to wander off when you are already lost and search and rescue staff say you increase your chances of being found by staying put in one spot. You may find the way back yourself but if you really want to be rescued quickly you will remain in your position so searchers can locate you easier.
Consider the acronym STOP say some experienced pros. When feeling lost and panicky just STOP. Focus and start THINKING of the last location wherein you did not feel lost.
Observe details that might provide clues to where you should be. Plan your next course of action. If you got lost in the evening then an overnight stay in the place might be in order.
Here the main goal is to stay dry and keep warm. You can bring out the space blanket for this situation but if you forgot yours the tree branches and leaves also provide comfort.
When possible eat something to avoid elevated core body temperature. The best advice for kids when lost is to not leave their spot and just put their arms around a tree while awaiting rescuers according to search and rescue pros.