Wednesday, May 24, 2023
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What to Do if You Get Lost in an Isolated Area

Apartment Prepper

Family Preparedness in a Small Space

by Kyt Lyn Walken

“They made up their minds
And they started packing
They left before the sun came up that day
An exit to eternal summer slacking
But where were they going without ever knowing the way?”

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Back in the ’90, there was a popular song that hit the radio. The song was “The Way”, by the band, Fastball. The song’s lyrics are focused on the misadventure of an older married couple. The two of them, in fact, packed their belongings and left home with a car, without informing their children about their plans. During the trip, the car broke down and the couple was forced to keep on walking. Apparently, the frontman of the band took inspiration after reading some news reporting the disappearance of Lela and Raymond Howard from Salado, Texas, in June 1997. Back at that time, Lela was suffering from Alzheimer and Raymond was recovering from brain surgery.
Their bodies were eventually found only a couple of weeks later in a ravine close to Hot Springs, Arkansas.
They were hundreds of miles off their intended route.

On April 5th, 2022, the Washington Examiner reported the news of a couple from Indiana who vanished in thin air in Nevada while on vacation with their RV. Such news appears to be very frequent in times like this. People planned a vacation to eventually get into some mishaps which can easily turn into tragedies. In this article, we will look at tips on what to do if you get lost in an isolated area.

Even for the shortest period related to a brief vacation, planning a route should gain all our attention. This includes several aspects:

If you find yourself lost in an isolated area while on foot as happened to the protagonists of the above-mentioned story, the most important thing to do is to remain calm and stay put.

Panic can lead to poor decision-making and can make it more difficult for rescue teams to find you. Here are some steps (or general guidelines) you can take to increase your chances of being found:

Backtracking can be related to reading your tracks back and reconstructing your trail until the starting point.
Nonetheless, it is also a process of reevaluating and rethinking previous decisions or actions to correct course or achieve a desired outcome.

Starting from this topic, here are some steps you can take to backtrack yourself:

Remember, backtracking is a normal and necessary part of life. By taking the time to backtrack yourself, you can learn from your mistakes and make positive changes that will help you achieve your goals.

Following human footprints can be a useful skill in certain situations, such as tracking a lost hiker or identifying the direction of a group’s movement. Or, like in the case of getting lost by yourself, you can apply the knowledge that you have to backtrack yourself from the beginning spot of your travel.

Here are some steps you can follow to track human footprints, also yours:

Remember that tracking human footprints is a skill that takes practice and patience. It is also important to respect the privacy and rights of others and to avoid trespassing or intruding on private property.

Surviving in the wilderness can be a challenging task, but with the right skills, preparation, and mindset, it is possible. Here are some tips to help you survive in the wilderness:

Your first priority in the wilderness is to find or create a shelter to protect yourself from the elements. Look for natural shelters like caves, overhangs, or fallen trees, or create your own shelter using branches, leaves, or other natural materials.

Water is essential for survival, so you should prioritize finding a source of water. Look for streams, rivers, or lakes, or collect rainwater if it’s raining. You can also create a solar still to extract water from plants or the ground.

Fire can provide warmth, light, and a way to cook food, so it’s essential to learn how to start a fire. Gather dry wood, kindling, and tinder, and use a firestarter such as matches or a lighter to get your fire going.

In the wilderness, food may be scarce, so you’ll need to be resourceful to find food. Look for edible plants, berries, nuts, and insects. You can also try fishing, hunting, or trapping for food.

The wilderness can be dangerous, so it’s important to stay safe. Avoid dangerous animals like bears, snakes, or spiders, and learn how to protect yourself from them. Carry a first aid kit and know basic first aid skills.

If you’re lost or injured, it’s essential to signal for help. Use a whistle, mirror, or signal fire to attract attention from search parties or passing planes.

Remember that surviving in the wilderness requires preparation, knowledge, and resilience. Make sure you have the right gear, know basic survival skills, and stay calm and focused in any situation. Being stuck on foot in an isolated area requires indeed cold blood, a sharp mind, and a good level of preparation. Deprivation of sleep and lack of calories and proteins can affect your performance, especially in the phase of backtracking yourself. That said, accustom yourself to pay attention to your way of walking and get used to remembering the design of your footprint – also take a picture of it! This will help you in discriminating your footsteps from others, especially when it comes to the necessity to instantly recognize it. Then work with common sense, always staying stuck to the ground and to your own stride. Turn the terrain into your best ally also in such a tough situation.

Kyt Lyn Walken is Official Representative and Instructor for Hull’s Tracking School (Virginia) and Antipoaching Certified Ranger for Conservation Rangers Operations Worldwide Inc. (Colorado).

She’s a long time Prepper and Survivalist and she wrote several articles and essays on this topic.   

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Photos by Kyt Lyn Walken

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