My reading glasses. Now I only carry the cheap Walmart type.
I lost two bandannas during my thru-hike. One I lost along the trail somewhere between Damascus and the first shelter heading north. The second I left sitting on the table next to the computer in the hostel in Vernon, NJ when I left there on the 5th of July, 2009.
Other than that, I can't remember ever losing anything on the trail.
Most of what was once a rather large collection of gear accumulated over decades of backpacking -- including my much-beloved Svea 123 -- was disposed of when I downsized and moved from a house with a basement and a garage and a storage shed to a condo with almost no storage.
During my 2001 thru I lost my Swiss Army knife at Rusty's. I posted in a couple of shelter registers that I had lost it. About a week later a hiker approached me and handed it back to me. I never thought that i would see it again.
That reminds me - back in 1980, I realized I had left my camera at a shelter in Vermont. Don't remember the exact circumstances but I left a note somewhere and a month later, received the camera in the mail. The benefactor's name was Arnold. Sent him a small reward.
I lost my pack cover in some darned pseudo-rock maze south of Boiling Springs. Dang.
A fair hiker, but a little unbalanced.
Springer to Fontana Dam
Atkins, VA to Troutville
Manassas Gap, VA to Port Clinton, PA
N Adams, MA to Danby, VT
Never, ever lost anything. Nor will I. OCD max. I comb the fringe on my scatter rugs.
That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I left a FINE Germam , [ Either Zeis or Leica ] 35 mm camera in the bathroom on the top of Mt. Washington .
Had dashed half - way down to Lake Of The Clouds , and went to take a picture ! RAN back up the Mt.,
but it was gone !! Bummer
Nothing to do with the trail , but I " lost " the replacement camera for IT ! Had flown up to Orange Sport
Parachute Center , in Mass . Air Force , Beechcraft T - 34 . Parked way out along - side an un - used
runway . Camera was in the bagage - compartment . No lock ; just a " twist " " L " shaped rod - handle .
Someone walked all the way out there , opened the baggage compartment , and stole my " new " FINE
German replacement !! Bummer # 2 .
Again , not on the trail . At the Annapolis MD , " In The Water " Sailboat Show . Had to remove boat -
shoes to enter a REAL FANCY Sailboat . One slipped , and as I reached for it , further and further ,
I fell in the Bay ! Mom's camera in my pocket . Dried it out , but it never worked again ! Bummer # 3 .
lost my way! sorry i can't help it!
I dream of hiking into my old age. ~Marlyn Doan
I found a nice brimmed OR hat in the smokies with that mesh material and a neck lanyard....I gave it to another hiker who was super excited about it. at the next shelter, I found another hat - I call it my "manly black trucker hat" - I packed it to carry it out [as I felt it was trash] and not 2 miles down the trail - it started raining. Turns out although I hate wearing hats in the warm sun, in the driving rain they make my eyes very happy as I don't squint so much. I still have that hat. I think the powers that be were trying to prepare me for that driving rain...and when I gave away the first hat - they gave me a 2nd! Kind of like that story the kid in the movie Pursuit of Happiness:
a man was out in a boat and capsized. while out there, another boat came by and asked if he needed help and the drowning man said "no thank you, God will save me". later another boat came by and offered to help, and again he said "no thank you, God will save me". and a 3rd man and boat did the same. when he got to heaven, the drowned man said "God why didn't you help me?" and God said "I sent you 3 boats, you dummy".
God left me 2 hats.
…speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee… –JOB 12:8
After half way up the Long Trail, I would keep my guide book, w/notes, dates, peoples names,recipes, all sorts of data, wedged between my Sleeping Bag and pack frame. We cut the trip to Pico peak short, came down the main road, and ditched our packs. It had been pouring rain for 2 days! We jogged to Rt. 4 got our car, drove back to get the packs and cruised down I-91 back to Connecticut. At home putting away all my gear I was frantic that my VT LT guide book and about 5-6 years of walks was now part of the litter on Killington Road.
Now I make copies of the map, stick it in my pocket and keep the book in my pack....if I haven't already memorized every word in it about the walk.
I had a particularly bad day on the trail. My hiking partner "No Showed" late in the day...leaving me hiking up a stiff incline during a particularly hot and humid afternoon. Pollen count must have been up too. Trying to still make it to the shelter...I went way too fast...too far....and did not drink enough water.
Suddenly I felt light headed...started having some difficulty catching my breath (I have asthma...but it is usually well controlled) and decided I needed to stop and setup camp. Problem was, I was on a fairly narrow section of trail and the only way to go was down the side of the mountain. My big brain (which, sometime later I figured was malfunctioning something awful) interpreted a drainage area running off the side of the mountain...as an "easy to traverse" game trail. By the time I came to grips with the fact that I was: suffering from heat stroke, dehydration, and a very slowly evolving asthma attack, I was 400' down the side of the mountain...without enough energy or strength to go back up.
Reaching a small canyon big enough to setup my hammock, I setup camp and immediately went to bed and slept. In my sleep I dreamed that I was getting ready to go swimming (I was sweating like a hog and a summer thunderstorm was sweeping rain sideways into my hammock), so I did what I always do...I took my hearing aid out of my ear and put it down next to me.
Hours later, I woke up...exited out of the bottom exit of my hammock....and promptly lost the +$3,000 hearing aid that had been rolling around the bottom of the hammock into about two feet of fallen/decomposing leaves.
I learned lots of lessons from that little misadventure...but the one I implemented first was sewing the bottom Velcro exit of my hammock shut.
I went back 3-4 times and searched the dead leaves by hand and with a couple of different rakes...but it was not to be found!
You May Be S l o w...But You Are Ahead Of Me!
I left a shelter at 5 am to catch the sunrise on Clingmans Dome and did my dummy check by headlamp trying not to disturb the other hikers in the shelter. Many miles later when I arrived at camp I removed my boots and reached for my crocks... someone got a gift of a new, as in only a few days old, pair of crocks that day. I guess the gear of the other hikers strewn around the shelter hid my crocks. At camp I asked everyone if they had found them we walked much further than most that day.
Fast forward to Hot Springs, a friend who shared a hotel room with us packed up and left before sunrise and forgot his phone charger. I carried it for 6 days and handed it off to another hiker who might catch him. It was returned to the rightful owner in Damascus.
While walking into Erwin I found a nice mtn hardware beanie and picked it up. A few hrs later I passed 2 hikers looking thru their packs. I asked if they were missing a hat. One of them called it out by color and brand.
Lost a webbing strap for my hammock somewhere. Last February, went back to hang on a pair of trees I'd hung on 2 years earlier and found it at the base of one of the trees. Condition:unharmed.
Recently, I lost a pair of cheesy red sunglasses in the vicinity of Hogback Shelter that I'd found on Max Patch about a week earlier. Condition: Marginal.
No reward offered per se, but if you left them at MRO for me I'd appreciate it.
Was getting a blackberry shake at Elkwallow Wayside in the Shenandoahs and somehow lost my headband/sweatband that I had been using for weeks and weeks. I looked everywhere and could not find the thing, with it being hot, and me sweaty and realizing the sweat would roll into my eyes....it pissed me off...its funny how a small normally inconsequential $1.50 item got me riled. I then remembered something, got my trusty bandana and used it, but it was not my headband and I "lost" my towel!
My catalogue of things lost on trails over the years? My innocence - don't ask. (My virginity, I lost elsewhere. A good thing, losing that on the trail would be pretty brutal.) A piece of my right ACL (on Smarts Mtn in NH). A Rolleiflex camera. (I have a very good idea whom I lost that to, but can't prove it.) Four left gloves and one right. My balance. A map of the northeastern Catskills. My field notes -- AUGH! I had to redo two days of data collection. I think I lost my marbles along with that one. I lost my way innumerable times, and my perspective more than a few. Lost my lunch a time or two. Lost my temper (I apologise to my companions for that), a couple of tent stakes, several games of hearts, many preconceived notions, and one hat.
I've tried never to lose my sense of humour, which is what got me through losing so much of the rest.
Here's how I avoid losing things on the trail. I have a place for every item in my pack, and always put them back in the same place. When breaking camp, I always search the campsite for items that I may have left. I then put my pack on and do another look around. Finally I walk about twenty yards up the trail, turn around, walk back and look around the campsite one more time. Only thing I've ever lost while hiking was a spork and it was on its last leg anyway. At home is a different story, I'm always misplacing things. They're probably hidden somewhere with half of my socks.
I have left items while taking a break and had to turn back and get them. This usually happens about 15-20 miles into the day, and I'll realize I left them a couple miles down the trail adding 3-4 miles onto an already long day.
I lost a really nice montbell windbreaker, headlamp, and my aqua mira at the same time on my PCT thru.
At the time I wasn't really hard up for cash and there was a really cool hiker that gave up a lot to be able to afford his thru-hike. He was admiring the montbell the day before--I kind of hope he found and kept the stuff.
I also lost a really unique knife on the trail somewhere on the southern half of the AT in my 07 Springer to Wayensboro, VA section. I think someone on whiteblaze said they found that same knife. Again, I like to think it found a good home.