What to do if you get Lost in the Woods
The following list comes from the americanforests.org blog and I think it's a pretty reliable list:
- Stay Calm
It's important to keep your sense and wits about you. Panicking will only make you do irrational things and cloud your train of thought.
- Stay in One Place
If you don't have a compass, a GPS tracking device, or anything else to help guide your way back to civilization, it's best to stay put. Otherwise, trying to find your way back might get you more lost.
Searches will usually involve some kind of aerial coverage, so it's always good to be in a less dense part (if possible) and to make a sign that can help alert rescuers to your location.
If you're able to keep a fire going that can create smoke, that helps too.
- Find Shelter
There's no telling what the weather will do and it's good to stay warm and dry. Make a shelter (if you can't find a natural one) in your vicinity out of surrounding branches and foliage with a thick, near-rainproof roof is always a good idea.
- Build a Fire
Fires are essential for keeping warm, dry, purifying water for drinking, and cooking food.
There are many ways to start a fire and keeping it going and this is something that any hiker should know how to do, as it's one of the most important survival skills you can have.
- Find Sources of Food & Water
Another important survival skill is to find food and water. The body can go around three weeks without food but only three days without water. So, we'll cover water first. If you didn't bring enough water then you can collect rainwater if it's raining, melt snow or find a local freshwater source. It's always good (especially if you're getting water from a river or stream) to boil any water you collect before drinking it.
With food, walnuts, acorns, wild onion, garlic and pine needles are a good source for food. Especially if hunting and preparing a wild animal isn't something you feel you'd need to do unless you absolutely had to.
It is advisable that you stay away from berries or mushrooms, as many are poisonous and the safe ones can be confused for the very toxic ones.
Overall, if you don't know whether you should eat it, don't.
Have you ever been lost in the woods or known someone who has? How did you or they get out/found?