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Thread: Got Lost In The Woods!

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    Got Lost In The Woods!

    Last week I took my wife for a hike in the woods to teach her the skills she would need if civilization ends and we had to leave our home without any survival equipment. Things didn't go as I'd hoped, and I had to admit I'd gotten us really, really lost. I did remember that the trail we came in on was sort of south, but there was no moss on the trees and it was an overcast day, so those methods didn't work. After wandering aimlessly for over an hour, I spotted an old log cabin in the distance. I studied the cabin carefully, then announced “we go this way”. Within minutes we were back on the trail and on our way home.

    My wife was duly impressed! “How did you know which way to go?” she asked.

    “Easy” I told her. “I just looked at the old cabin. In this part of the country satellite dishes point south.”

    Bada Bing!

    John W in SC

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    Quote Originally Posted by John W in SC View Post
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    Last week I took my wife for a hike in the woods to teach her the skills she would need if civilization ends and we had to leave our home without any survival equipment. Things didn't go as I'd hoped, and ...
    Makes a person appreciate the utility of a simple "go bag" in the arsenal. A little state map, a compass, paper/pencil, fire-starting gear, water purification tabs, a noise-maker (loud whistle), a light-maker (a small mirror), flashlight, a mini first-aid kit.

    It's been a few years since I went into the back country and went through the orienteering/survival routine.

    As you showed, little indicators can be "gold" out there.


    Used to head to a mountainous spot about 80mi from home, frequently. To see the stars, hike up the forest trails, etc. Getting lost a mile from the interstate highway is one thing. Getting lost out there, a completely different problem. Never did stay out more than a couple of days.
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    When I first moved to Northwest Oregon, I thought it was the North Pole. I was taught to look for moss on the trees to tell the north direction. There is moss all around the trees here.

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    If you can see the sun and know whether morning or afternoon general direction works like this. Morning, sun is on right side your facing north. Morning sun on left side your facing south. Afternoon sun on right your facing south. Afternoon sun on left your facing south.

    The wind can sometimes help as well. Areas tend to have typical wind directions. There are exceptions though such as mountains in dawn hours and late evening hours.

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    Y'all make it too complicated. If you're lost, just walk backwards until you come back to where you started.
    Official Forum Curmudgeon Nonsense, I have not yet begun to defile myself.
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    Reminds me of when I was flying and could not locate the airport while in CA.

    I flew low near a bldg and yelled out the window, "Where am I?"

    The person yelled back up as a slowly flew over him.

    Instantly I turned NE and found the airport and landed.

    My friend asked me how I knew which way to go?

    I responded, "The person answered with 100% accurate info that is 100% useless. I knew that had
    to be the Microsoft bldg and the airport is NE of Microsoft"

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    Compass. They are cheap. Or, one of those Trackback deals that traces your path digitally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hackberry View Post
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    Compass. They are cheap. Or, one of those Trackback deals that traces your path digitally.
    ^ This.

    Easy to pack in the "go" bag, for outings. Easy to clip to any daypack, backpack or fanny pack. Easy to carry one in the "keys" compartment of running shorts. Should always be at least a backup unit, on a person, when heading off the trail or into the back country.

    Of course, in this one lady's instance, she was a mile up the hills along a path she knew well, one that was relatively well-marked and known. Am assuming she just got turned around along a ridge, at some point, and from then on simply chose the incorrect directions time and again (until the injuries occurred).

    Hard to tell if a compass would have worked, at that spot. But, being along the northern slopes of the Haleakala crater and surrounding hills, it's hard to imagine that heading north would have failed to get her out of that spot. Assuming she was uninjured. Looks heavily vegetated, along those two creeks, southward from the "major" road. But, so long as a compass works in that volcanic rock zone (of Haleakala), I'm assuming it could have helped in her case.
    Cardinal principle: Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    My sense of direction is not good. That's why I don't go into the woods. Of course there are no woods in the Texas Panhandle. Still-----.
    We must all hang together amigos, or we will all hang separately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldnfat View Post
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    My sense of direction is not good. That's why I don't go into the woods. Of course there are no woods in the Texas Panhandle. Still-----.
    There is one tree in the panhandle. I saw it in Amarillo.

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    Have hiked the Na Pali coastline, some years back. Clearly, heading westward takes you toward wilderness and away from the trailhead, whereas heading eastward brings you back to the trailhead, your car, water, help. No other way to go, except straight up, or into the ocean. Even there, if one gets injured and is alone, it's a terrible problem to cope with. The trail is so very rough and steep in some spots that, often, you need both hands to scramble up and around some tree root, through some overgrown vines, etc. If injured, I can't imagine doing well unless someone else came along the trail.

    I've not been on the path she apparently was on, up along those two creeks, but I've been on the slopes of Haleakala. It's a bear of a place, if it gets wet, or if it gets dark, or if you get on the wrong side of a ridgeline where the footing is sketchy. Can't imagine her area of the woods was nearly that steep (as nearer the crater itself can be), but still. Twisted ankle, broken bone, or similar, and even a mile could be a torturous problem to cope with.

    I hope she recovers well. And finds a way to add some preparations and precautions to her future excursions. It'd be a shame to live in such a place of great natural beauty and end up afraid to be part of it. (I'm sure she'll do fine.)


    Not on Maui, but ...

    The Kalalau Trail, along the Na Pali coastline of northwest Kauai (from Mark Johnson Photography):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The Kalalau Trail @ LiveWildAndFree.wordpress.com:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by ccw9mm; May 29th, 2019 at 12:47 PM. Reason: added pics
    Cardinal principle: Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Philosophy: Why the Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos)
    On the RKBA: Most of what you think you know about our Constitution is wrong -- Michael Badnarik

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    Lionround, that was an artificial tree.
    We must all hang together amigos, or we will all hang separately.

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