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Mother Natures Son
11-08-2016, 07:46
Recently we went on a hike with some friends on the trail. Our "all-knowing"leader took us on a new side trail north of Duncannon, PA. We had to see this, a breath taking view of the river. Well, we got to the side route and it turned out to be a Deer trail. No matter, it promised to have great views. One trail lead to another and soon we were not only lost but off the map and no one knew where we where. What should've been a simple four mile hike turned into a ten mile hike. We got back to the car at sunset. Has anyone got this lost before?

jjozgrunt
11-08-2016, 08:34
When I was in the army we went to the jungle training centre in Canungra. For the exercise they decided to use an area that had not been used for over 40 years, there was a reason! This is pre gps time.

So after day 2 till the exercise was over, no one knew where we were including the DS and enemy. Nothing gelled with the map and compass, things seemed to run in the opposite direction to the way they should have, it was a blessing to get out. Later a memo was found detailing the fact there was a hill of almost pure magnetic rock in that area and no matter where you were your compass always pointed to it. Lost for 16 days we were.

Only time I can honestly say that I was geographically embarrassed (lost).

nsherry61
11-08-2016, 08:43
. . . Has anyone got this lost before?
Every chance I get. I love exploring new, off-map areas. You never know what you might run into as far as unexpected "route alternatives".

nsherry61
11-08-2016, 08:45
For what it's worth, my family hates it when I do this type of thing. I don't understand why someone would not want to explore an interesting off-trail area just because there is not trail or map.

winger
11-08-2016, 11:40
No compass I presume?

Praha4
11-08-2016, 11:43
did your 'all knowing' leader treat all of you to dinner to make up for it? :)

yes been lost off the trail before, and it's aggravating
usually I always turn around and look the opposite way for blazes on the AT ... if I think I got off the trail

but those 'side trails' can end up being a rabbit hole

glad you all got back safely

tscoffey
11-08-2016, 12:00
Your training did not include using the stars for direction finding? Would have been fairly easy to determine which way was north.

Bronk
11-08-2016, 12:52
One time I was hiking in Allegheny National Forest near a place called Jake's Rocks...its basically a bunch of giant rock formations on top of a mountain. I stepped off the trail to explore and climb on some of the rocks, each time seeing another group of rocks further away...after an hour of hopping from group to group I realized I hadn't kept track of where I was going and didn't know which direction it was back to the trail. But I was on top of a mountain and could see the reservoir below where I was camped. So I stumbled upon a spring and reasoned that if I followed the water it would lead to the lake. As I went down the mountain my spring merged with several others and eventually turned into a creek...by the time I got to the bottom it was a cascading waterfall. It flowed out to a dirt parking lot near where I was camped. Only problem being I had driven to the top of the mountain and then had to roadwalk back to my car. Sometimes its fun to get lost off the beaten path...especially when you have a good idea where you are and that you're going to make it back.

Tipi Walter
11-08-2016, 14:36
A guy named Mike Gourley got lost in the GSMNP on a dayhike and here's his interesting story---

http://gosmokies.knoxnews.com/profiles/blogs/bewildered-and-misplaced

I wrote a review on one of my backpacking trips---
http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=520518

There's getting lost with a day pack and getting lost with a full trip pack on your back. Getting lost usually results in significant bushwacking and doing so with a 60 lb pack is a whole different beast than stumbling around lost with a daypack.

I got lost once in Pisgah NF back in 1984 and of course panicked and did super-human things like hit a river and swim across with my big pack and literally ran up a thousand foot mountain on the other side of the river gorge and sat exhausted on the top in a quandary. Panic produces tremendous energy and stupidity.

illabelle
11-08-2016, 17:48
A guy named Mike Gourley got lost in the GSMNP on a dayhike and here's his interesting story---

http://gosmokies.knoxnews.com/profiles/blogs/bewildered-and-misplaced

I wrote a review on one of my backpacking trips---
http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=520518

There's getting lost with a day pack and getting lost with a full trip pack on your back. Getting lost usually results in significant bushwacking and doing so with a 60 lb pack is a whole different beast than stumbling around lost with a daypack.

I got lost once in Pisgah NF back in 1984 and of course panicked and did super-human things like hit a river and swim across with my big pack and literally run up a thousand foot mountain on the other side of the river gorge and sat exhausted on the top in a quandary. Panic produces tremendous energy and stupidity.

I've met Mike Gourley. That story is pretty serious in person as well! If I remember right, he got lost in February. Not a good time to try and survive outdoors without equipment. Mike does a lot of off-trail exploration in the Smokies, going to old homesites, cemeteries, logging operations, etc - with a GPS of course. He took us exploring inside the southwest border of the Park, around Maynard Creek, where my son-in-law's great-great-great-grandfather once lived. Very cool trip!

TNhiker
11-08-2016, 18:38
Two years ago, in the snowbird somewhat wilderness area----I got lost on the upper part of snowbird creek trail near Mitchell lick...

lost enough that I spent an extra night out and missed a day of work.....and my work called various sheriffs departments looking for my car (of course they didn't find it because I didn't let anyone know where I was going)....

i had food---I had water---I had tent and gear...

sadly I didn't have any spare reading material as I had already read what I had...

i also had map and compass but in the area I was in---there were many unmapped dirt roads and it was confusing the hell outta me....

i knew I was going in wrong direction but couldn't figure it out and once daylight ran out---I set up tent...

next morning---i figured roughly where I was at and made the trip out...

Got to my car and my phone had a ton of messages from people trying to figure out where I was at...


I still haven't been back to the "scene of the crime" to sort out where the "real" trail I was looking for is at....

Malto
11-08-2016, 19:17
I know this area pretty well. How exactly did you get lost on a ridgetop where the AT runs the length of the ridge?

as to your question.... I have had the trail get lost many times. The furthest off the path was in Harriman where I learned that a white blaze with a red dot looks an awful lot like a white blaze when hiking at night and not understanding the local trail marking. After sunrise and the realization that the AT is rarely a bushwhack, I figured out I was on another trail, no big deal, I ended up doing a nice long loop instead of an out and back.

Tipi Walter
11-08-2016, 19:33
Everyone should study the plight of Geraldine Largay---

THE SAGA OF GERALDINE LARGAY
** 66 year old retired Air Force nurse from Tennessee.
** Disappeared on the AT in western Maine on July 23, 2013.
** Body not found until October 2015. Wow.
** Authorities think she went off trail for a bathroom break and couldn't get back to the trail. Is this even possible? I mean, I leave my pack and go 10 feet off the trail with my pack still visible.

** Texted her husband several times to no avail.
** Last phone attempt was August 6, 2013.
** Last journal entry was August 18.
** Survived at least 26 days.
** Set up a final camp on a knoll (ironically on land owned by US Navy and used as a SERE training center).
** Dwindling food supply---clif bars, tuna fish, gatorade powder.

** She died 10 minute walk from a dirt trail that becomes a road.
** Maine Ranger Deb Palman said, "This is some of the worst country in Maine. It's hard to understand how logistically difficult this area was on any given day, by the time a searcher would get close to where Largay was found, they'd have to turn around to make it back to their vehicles by nightfall."
** What!!?? Can rescues never happen at night? Can a searcher not bring a pack and camp out for a week? Very odd.
** Apparently she was hiking the AT north as a modified slackpack due to a back injury requiring her husband to meet her along the way with supplies.
** Her last camp was "only" 2 miles from the AT but 2 miles off trail on a bushwack might as well be 50.
** Took medication for anxiety attacks.

More info here---
https://www.google.com/#q=largay+remains

Leo L.
11-09-2016, 04:03
Great stories!
Our country is too small to really get lost, I think. We hardly can walk more than 2-3hrs straight without meeting civilisation.

It happened to me and a friend once that we, having started late, didn't find the shelter and had to bivouac in a snow storm for the night.
This teached me to always start early to have lots of time to correct errors, and to have a headlamp in the pack.

Hikingjim
11-09-2016, 04:22
Only time I got seriously lost:
I took the chairlift up to the top of a mountain in British Columbia with my sister & her baby. I noticed there were some backcountry trails up there (in addition to the short groomed trails), so I decided to go for a little hike.
The trail ended up being poorly marked and I went further than I should have. I only realized I was lost when I started coming back down and found myself on the wrong side of the mountain with no reasonable way to go the direction I wanted to travel to get back.
I tried several options and there were a lot of cliffs, crevices and serious bush blocking the way. I ending up doing a good chunk of bushwhacking and then following a stream for a good distance. I hit a waterfall that was probably about 80 ft high and had to scale it on an intense angle and hold on to whatever I could
But eventually I got back. Bloodied from the bushwhacking and with a new appreciation of how easy it is to get lost when you're outdoors and not in "this is a serious hike" mode

Slosteppin
11-09-2016, 20:59
I have never been lost, there have been a few times I lost the trail and a few times I went straight when the trail turned (actually several of each in the last 40 years).
Our first backpacking trip my son and I lost the trail for three days. We were hiking in northern Michigan on what later became part of the North Country Trail. The trail had fallen over the cliff and into Lake Superior. We were not lost. We knew the lake was north of us and we wanted to go east. We bushwhacked and sometimes followed old logging roads. Each morning and afternoon we would go north until we were above the lake. Late the third day we found remnants of the trail we could follow again.
Getting lost on a day hike is generally more serious because you would not have much food or equipment.

RangerZ
11-09-2016, 21:11
Never lost - temporarily misoriented at times:banana

Like some else says - I know where I am, I'm right here.

rocketsocks
11-09-2016, 23:31
I long for the day I become lost again, in true panic mode, only then will one truly know themselve. The last time it happened me mum was only a couple isles away...a true adventure full of all kinds of mind endinding nasties, albeit short lived. Yup, can't wait!

rocketsocks
11-09-2016, 23:34
Great stories!
Our country is too small to really get lost, I think. We hardly can walk more than 2-3hrs straight without meeting civilisation.

It happened to me and a friend once that we, having started late, didn't find the shelter and had to bivouac in a snow storm for the night.
This teached me to always start early to have lots of time to correct errors, and to have a headlamp in the pack.when you say 'our country' you mean Austria, correct?

rocketsocks
11-09-2016, 23:38
Everyone should study the plight of Geraldine Largay---

THE SAGA OF GERALDINE LARGAY
** 66 year old retired Air Force nurse from Tennessee.
** Disappeared on the AT in western Maine on July 23, 2013.
** Body not found until October 2015. Wow.
** Authorities think she went off trail for a bathroom break and couldn't get back to the trail. Is this even possible? I mean, I leave my pack and go 10 feet off the trail with my pack still visible.

** Texted her husband several times to no avail.
** Last phone attempt was August 6, 2013.
** Last journal entry was August 18.
** Survived at least 26 days.
** Set up a final camp on a knoll (ironically on land owned by US Navy and used as a SERE training center).
** Dwindling food supply---clif bars, tuna fish, gatorade powder.

** She died 10 minute walk from a dirt trail that becomes a road.
** Maine Ranger Deb Palman said, "This is some of the worst country in Maine. It's hard to understand how logistically difficult this area was on any given day, by the time a searcher would get close to where Largay was found, they'd have to turn around to make it back to their vehicles by nightfall."
** What!!?? Can rescues never happen at night? Can a searcher not bring a pack and camp out for a week? Very odd.
** Apparently she was hiking the AT north as a modified slackpack due to a back injury requiring her husband to meet her along the way with supplies.
** Her last camp was "only" 2 miles from the AT but 2 miles off trail on a bushwack might as well be 50.
** Took medication for anxiety attacks.

More info here---
https://www.google.com/#q=largay+remainslike
many, this story will forever amaze and at the same time cause tremendous internal confusion to the point of brain crash...it just never made any sense to me whatsoever!

Leo L.
11-10-2016, 04:07
when you say 'our country' you mean Austria, correct?

Exactly.
We have no kangaroos because they would bounce cross border with the next leap <G>

But still a lot of people get lost here, mostly because they lose the path and get stuck in steep slopes or cliffs.
We have a highly developed rescue system, all ground people volunteers (add in some helicopters from police and road emergency), and usually its free and health insurance will pay the copter.
In addition to the fact that cell reception covers most of Austria (including most mountain ranges) rescuers are pretty busy all year round. Read: All too often tired/scared hikers/climbers misuse the rescue system.

There has been one famous "lost" story here in the mid-80ties when an American Germany-based military member named Kenneth T. Cichowicz took a multi-day hike over several mountain ranges in an off-season time.
He fell and broke his hand, leg and cracked some ribs and got stuck in a very odd place down a glacier high up the mountain near here. Nobody knew about his going, and only when he didn't come back from his leave ~2 weeks later he was missed - but still nobody had any idea where he really was, so they were looking in a 200km distant range, and skipped the futil search after many days.
Aside of the off-season there still were some people, snow machines, helicopters and the like around his place at times, but nobody would notice his tent in this very odd place, and he had no ways to make note of himself.
Only after 19 days of suffering, already half-dead, he was found and got rescued.
His case became pretty famous at times because he had done most everything perfectly right as far as it comes to survival (he did some not-so-perfect things that led to the accident though).

http://www.nachrichten.at/nachrichten/150jahre/ooenachrichten/19-Tage-18-Naechte-gefangen-im-Eis;art171762,1973202

ADVStrom14
11-10-2016, 13:11
We own several acres of wooded land that has a stream that runs through it. The stream is joined by another stream at the southwest corner of the land and I have gone back in there and found a great camp site where I have built a fire ring and cleared a few small trees to make a little compound. After Matthew dumped 16" of rain in 24 hours and flooded the surrounding area, I went back to the camp site to see the damage. I worked some and cleaned up a little and noticed how the run overflowing had completely shifted the landscape. When I came out of the camp site I started following the run to head out, as I have done a thousand times before, I got so turned around that I was heading in the complete opposite direction of where I wanted to head. I noticed I had left the stand of hardwood trees that I should have been walking through and I was now deep into a stand of eastern white pines that are nowhere near where I was supposed to be. It's one thing to be lost in a place you have never been. Its an entirely different thing to be lost in an area where you have traversed many many times!

bigcranky
11-10-2016, 13:38
** Authorities think she went off trail for a bathroom break and couldn't get back to the trail. Is this even possible? I mean, I leave my pack and go 10 feet off the trail with my pack still visible.

** Texted her husband several times to no avail.



Sure it's possible, certainly if one goes further than ten feet. I think many/most people go farther than that. It's easy enough to get turned around and confused about the way back to the trail, especially with thick underbrush, then head back the way you think you remember except you're heading the wrong way. After that you're probably toast, especially in the north woods, especially with anxiety/panic issues.

None of her texts were actually sent - no service.

There was a lot of armchair quarterbacking about this at the time, but I think the real takeaway should be just how easy it is to be lulled into a false complacency and stop paying careful attention to things around you -- and not just on the trail. We would all love to think we'd never be so dumb as to step off the trail to pee and be lost forever, but I'm willing to bet we are all in situations where this is a possibility.

ADVStrom14
11-10-2016, 13:47
We would all love to think we'd never be so dumb as to step off the trail to pee and be lost forever, but I'm willing to bet we are all in situations where this is a possibility.

I'm fixing to hike the BMT and this is my biggest fear.

rocketsocks
11-10-2016, 14:16
I'm fixing to hike the BMT and this is my biggest fear.well then you should understand how to determine the cardinal directions, night or day, and familiarize yourself with the major roads that boarder the area where you'll be hiking (think Macro not Micro)...in a pinch ya bail to one of those. Staying found will keep you from getting lost.

pickNgrin
11-10-2016, 17:22
I like this guy's style. It is a story about how he got lost and then unlost.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEg34FSkMg4

jefals
11-11-2016, 03:13
I've gotten lost many times for various reasons, most if not all having to do with inexperience. When I go off trail and can't find my way back, it's generally because I wasn't paying attention. one time going north, I walked a few feet off the trail to admire the view, then I turned around, came back to the trail, and started walking south! Well, when you're lucky enough to live thru your mistakes, you learn from them, and I don't get list so much anymore. 😊

jjozgrunt
11-11-2016, 05:22
Because it is easy to get turned around when you wander off the track is the reason to take your pack with you everywhere. Saw advice on here to leave your pack on the trail, that way people will know someone is missing. Won't help you at all while you freeze, starve, dehydrate or suffer from exposure.

Tipi Walter
11-11-2016, 10:57
Because it is easy to get turned around when you wander off the track is the reason to take your pack with you everywhere. Saw advice on here to leave your pack on the trail, that way people will know someone is missing. Won't help you at all while you freeze, starve, dehydrate or suffer from exposure.

Leaving you pack---reminds me of a story of a trip back in January 2012 when Little Mitten dropped me off on Huckleberry Mt at 5,600 feet in the mountains of NC in terrible conditions---cold, high winds, thick fog. It was my first trip to old Huck and I wanted to camp on top of the highest mountain in the Unicoi Mt range.

Little Mitten didn't stand around long in the cold wind so she took off and drove off the mountain from the trailhead and I started my 18 day winter backpacking trip excited to camp on top of the Huck. I started up the trailhead and crossed over Oak Bald and then came Huckleberry Knob where I found the white metal cross of two long-ago hikers who died up here on a winter romp.

I reached the top of the Huck which is an open bald but it was too foggy to see much so I descended a short distance and found a treeline circling the entire mountain right below the bald and I hiked around the circle until I found the continuation of the trail to Little Huck Knob. I returned to the top of the Huck but didn't want to set up in the direct blasts of the wind so I retreated back down to the trail to Little Huck and about 200 feet into the trees found a decent level place for my tent but I wasn't sure so I dumped my pack at this spot and went on a bushwack exploration of more possible sites.

Well, I lost the faint trail and I also lost my pack as I stumbled around the side of Huckleberry Knob in a thick fog frenzy. The only thing I could do was keep climbing and eventually I'd reach the very top of the Huck and then start over and circle it to find the Little Huck trailhead again and possibly find my pack stuck off the trail in the middle of nowhere. It was a crappy first day start to a trip. Cold wind, very windy, thick fog.

After many minutes of panic I finally located my giant pack and hugged it close to me. The trip could continue!!!!

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2012/Tipi-Walter-in-Snowbirds/i-cvzcmP5/0/L/TRIP%20129%20003-L.jpg
Little Mitten at the Huckleberry Knob trailhead at around 5,600 feet. Cold, windy, fog.


https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2012/Tipi-Walter-in-Snowbirds/i-GznjDF2/0/L/TRIP%20129%20006-L.jpg
I reach the top of Huck Knob and wonder, "Is this cross for me???". It belongs to two hikers who died up here many years ago.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2012/Tipi-Walter-in-Snowbirds/i-kHhczdQ/0/L/TRIP%20129%20011-L.jpg
This is the level place I found off the knob and where I dumped my pack to check out other sites and got lost. Eventually found it again and found my pack and set up camp.

MORAL OF THE STORY---
Never dump your pack when exploring a new trail or exploring around a trail on a bushwack. Keep your pack with you always.

Tipi Walter
11-11-2016, 10:58
Because it is easy to get turned around when you wander off the track is the reason to take your pack with you everywhere. Saw advice on here to leave your pack on the trail, that way people will know someone is missing. Won't help you at all while you freeze, starve, dehydrate or suffer from exposure.

You posted this just as I was writing up my report. Agree totally.

Brian Doyle
12-12-2016, 13:15
After absorbing the Largay report I think what happened was she turned up the woods road going up the side of Orbeton Stream thinking it was the AT. By the time she noticed she wasn't on the trail she surmised her position and cut rightward into the woods under the logic that she would transect the trail. When she didn't cut back across the At she panicked and went to high ground seeking a cell phone signal.

The reason I think this is because if you look at the analysis of her cell phone record and diary she gave two different reasons for getting off the trail. One was having to go to the bathroom and the other was "taking a wrong turn right after the stream". I believe the latter was the real reason and the reason she said she got lost after having to go to the bathroom was because she didn't want to admit to her husband that she didn't have the wherewithall to follow the trail because he might pull her off the trail seeing how Maine was dangerous.

I've seen people say she probably had a mild stroke or alzheimers. I don't think so because her actions show cogent awareness of the seriousness of her situation and staying in one place. I think she thought her cell might be tracked even if it were out of range of sending. Her diary entries are too well thought out for any mental compromise.

You can find her precise location coordinates in the Washington Post comments section for their article. It was only a painful 3000 feet from the trail as well as 3000 feet from the Orbeton Stream railroad bed woods road. The reason I offer this speculation is because Gerry Largay didn't do the logical thing and backtrack downhill to the woods road. It makes sense to me that the reason she didn't do that is because that is the area she had come from so she considered that the 'lost' direction.

Something similar happened to me on Cube Mt when I decided, after taking a false trail, that I could intersect the AT by bushwacking. I was lucky to find the trail and had actually walked across it without noticing and only found it because I went back to double check.

This is gross but very smart: She should have smeared her poop on trees around her tent to increase her scent plume.

ldsailor
12-18-2016, 17:40
I got off the AT this year to go down to a meadow and check out some horses. Instead of climbing back up to the known trail, I saw another trail that seemed to parallel the AT. With no basis in fact, I assumed this trail would rejoin the AT. WRONG! As dark approached, I became concerned. Fortunately, I had Guthook on my phone and used it to navigate (and bushwack) back to the White blaze trail.

In this day of smartphones and cheap apps, it's a good idea to make use of them so you don't end up like that poor woman in Maine.

dervari
12-18-2016, 19:42
Her fatal mistake was leaving her SPOT locator at the hotel. I can't fathom why she had one, yet opted to hit the trail without it.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-T337A using Tapatalk

SkeeterPee
12-18-2016, 20:47
Recently we went on a hike with some friends on the trail. Our "all-knowing"leader took us on a new side trail north of Duncannon, PA. We had to see this, a breath taking view of the river. Well, we got to the side route and it turned out to be a Deer trail. No matter, it promised to have great views. One trail lead to another and soon we were not only lost but off the map and no one knew where we where. What should've been a simple four mile hike turned into a ten mile hike. We got back to the car at sunset. Has anyone got this lost before?

From a trail point of view, was this near hawk rock on the AT south of Duncannon? There is a nice view by going down the opposite side than the AT takes down the hill. They both end up at the same place at the bottom. Maybe the problem was lookin on the wrong side of Duncannon.

Getting a little lost is not a big problem and gives you something to talk about.

MuddyWaters
12-19-2016, 06:19
Theres lots of places on trails where unmarked but well trodden paths to interesting areas, rock formations, overlooks, etc lead but ultimately peter out. Sometimes with numerous intersecting variants that cover the area. If you take these, its not that difficult to lose way back to main trail for a while.

When something stops looking like major trail...it usually isnt. Although I can recall a few spots where I questioned if AT was still AT or a deer trail. Generally its obvious if you stop and think. I agree...never leave your pack for any reason.

garlic08
12-19-2016, 10:27
...When something stops looking like major trail...it usually isnt. Although I can recall a few spots where I questioned if AT was still AT or a deer trail. Generally its obvious if you stop and think. I agree...never leave your pack for any reason.

I've witnessed experienced hikers walk right off the AT at a water bar drain, then look confused as it peters out.

There seems to be a serious aversion to walking back up hill when you've made a mistake. I think that alone causes a lot of problems.

Mountaineer Gerry Roach has a quote I like to remember, "Never leave your lunch behind."

I saw another great quote, "Adventure is what happens when some idiot loses the map."

jj dont play
12-19-2016, 10:39
On my thru hike I maybe veered off 3-4 times, correcting myself quickly every time but once. On the Long trail portion there's a few old logging roads well I hit one of these and some branches were laid across the trail ahead and I saw foot steps down the old road so I followed that thinking the trail was not the AT and someone blocked it like typical with little off shoots. After a while of no blazes I wasn't sure if there just weren't many blazes there, which happens or if I went the wrong way. I decided to back track and take the trail that was blocked. After a few steps I finally saw a blaze.
I probably veered .25 off then backtracked so really only added about a half mile. Some branches just fell on the trail and being zoned Out and focused I just figured it was done intentionally and blindly followed footsteps.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

ScareBear
12-19-2016, 10:52
Her fatal mistake was leaving her SPOT locator at the hotel. I can't fathom why she had one, yet opted to hit the trail without it.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-T337A using Tapatalk

RIP. She had issues beyond physical health. She was easily disoriented, easily confused, when frustrated would not reason but argue, and was on numerous meds. She had memory issues. Her hiking "aid" has repeatedly told of how she couldn't find her way on the trail without assistance. Its a sad tale. She should have never been hiking alone, with or without her SPOT.

MuddyWaters
12-19-2016, 11:17
I followed trail right to creek I knew a trail crossed once. Only it seemed to cross several parallel branches at this spot instead of one as shown on map (first clue) Crossing was a bit more difficult than I expected, but there were other footprints in sandy areas between rocks. After boulder hopping and searching for trail on other side, retracing and trying different routes for over an hour it was getting dark. I backtracked 1/4 mile or so to what I was 100% sure was main trail and camped for night.

Next morning gave it a new attempt. It was clear where I went wrong. I stepped over a limb blocking that side trail without seeing it, did not even notice bend in main trail that was plain as day. Missed it when retraced steps too.

Most times Ive run into such situations Ive been moderately dehydrated cranking out miles. Ive learned that whenever the map doesnt agree , STOP. Map is usually right.

Actual crossing was about another half mile up trail .

PennyPincher
12-19-2016, 12:11
I got off the AT this year to go down to a meadow and check out some horses. Instead of climbing back up to the known trail, I saw another trail that seemed to parallel the AT. With no basis in fact, I assumed this trail would rejoin the AT. WRONG! As dark approached, I became concerned. Fortunately, I had Guthook on my phone and used it to navigate (and bushwack) back to the White blaze trail.

In this day of smartphones and cheap apps, it's a good idea to make use of them so you don't end up like that poor woman in Maine.

She had no signal. The app wouldn't have helped.

colorado_rob
12-19-2016, 12:13
She had no signal. The app wouldn't have helped.No signal required, phone GPS's work fine w/o carrier signal.

Dogwood
12-19-2016, 16:01
Recently we went on a hike with some friends on the trail. Our "all-knowing"leader took us on a new side trail north of Duncannon, PA. We had to see this, a breath taking view of the river. Well, we got to the side route and it turned out to be a Deer trail. No matter, it promised to have great views. One trail lead to another and soon we were not only lost but off the map and no one knew where we where. What should've been a simple four mile hike turned into a ten mile hike. We got back to the car at sunset. Has anyone got this lost before?

RU serious?

Hiking and backpacking are so often approached from such a narrow perspective of needing utmost familiarity - needing the beaten path to follow mindset. It's in abundant evidence particularly on forums such as WB. Backpacking, adventuring, and exploring and the unfamiliar are all from the same vein as far as I'm concerned. Connecting to the Creator, Nature, and myself by being disconnected from a map, GPS, guidebook, is how I like to roll at times. I crave it like nSherry said.

The Solemates
12-19-2016, 17:13
I'm prone to throwing some water in a pocket and going for a hike in my backyard. Granted, my backyard is hundreds of acres of nothing but forest. I went out one Sunday afternoon in a snowstorm. There was about 8 inches on the ground and snowing so hard that within an hour the tracks I was making were not discernible. I naively didnt want to follow them anyways, and attempted a large 4 mile (or so) loop, thinking I could meet up where I started. I saw a bunch of deer and followed them for a ways. I followed a stream which led to a river and followed it for a ways. Well, the clouds moved in somethin fierce and everything just turned white. I had absolutely no idea which way was which and started to panic. I was able to keep calm though, and despite my pride telling me not to resorted to pulling out my phone and following my gps to a road. I texted my wife, who was beside herself, that I was just fine and would be back in a few hours. I ended up having to hoof it through 2 foot snowdrifts on blacktop to get back home two hours after dark with a story to tell.

GoldenBear
12-19-2016, 20:12
First of all, this is NOT a "blame the victim" post. That's because I don't want to assign "blame" for this.

http://www.pressherald.com/2016/05/26/hiker-who-died-on-appalachian-trail-didnt-know-how-to-use-a-compass/

I just want to make it clear that the AT in Maine is a dangerous place, and all of us MUST be prepared to handle the situation that Inchworm found herself in.
Preparation can include having a companion who can help you when you lose the trail; or, at the very least, an emergency locator beacon.
Inchworm had both for hundreds of miles but, sadly, lacked both just as she entered the area where she most needed them.
Because of that, her lack of directional skills resulted in her getting lost, and ultimately to her death.

People, we need to make sure that everyone gets the word: the dangers inherent in walking A.T. in Maine are different than those even on the rest of The Trail. Not necessarily WORSE, but different. The skills needed to survive August heat, or climbing the Whites, or mice in shelters; won't be enough for Maine.
To quote Hill Street Blues: "Let's be careful out there!"

fiddlehead
12-19-2016, 22:46
Here in Phuket, Thailand, where I live part of the year, there is one "official" hiking trail. (Bang Pae waterfall to Ton Sai waterfall for those who have been here) (both are National parks)

I have hiked it many times and even though I have the GPS track, I still get lost almost every time.
Problems are:
blowdowns do NOT get maintained and new trails emerge in many different directions
There is a nearby gibbon rehabilitation center and many trails go up into the jungle where they can feed them
Many paths also go to where someone needed a toilet.

In other words: It is a maze of trails

Tourists get lost and rescued up there very often.
It is understandable and you'd think someone would maintain this trail and mark it.
Doesn't happen though.

Does it keep me out of the mountains here?
No way!

I was just lost the other day for an hour on a trail near my house where I've hiked at least 30 times.
Rainy season just finished and it is totally grown shut.
I have to go up there with my machete and open things up again.

Enjoy the woods folks.
Adventure is fun.

dervari
12-20-2016, 00:35
She had no signal. The app wouldn't have helped.
Most mapping apps don't need a signal, only a view of the sky.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-T337A using Tapatalk

Traveler
12-20-2016, 06:53
Smartphones do have some nice features, GPS being one of them. They are exceptionally handy for finding yourself if there is a map in the application, tracking distances, and other common uses.

However, I am not sure I want to solely trust an electronic device to help me when I most need it. GPS devices, including phone apps are prone to an assortment of failures that can leave the user in deep kimchi when Mr. Murphy pays a visit. Just being under a heavy canopy will defeat GPS for example. Said here a lot, a compass is perhaps the best tool in the pack, when coupled with a map its them most reliable system one can have. That said, shoving an area map and compass into the pack along with the cell phone makes a lot of sense, presuming one knows how to use all three.

Lyle
12-20-2016, 11:34
As Daniel Boone is reported to have replied when asked if he ever gets lost:

"I've never been lost, I've been a might CONFUSED a few times."

booney_1
12-20-2016, 12:08
The story this week of the lost Adirondack hikers has a lot of lessons for everybody. A young couple out for a day hike in the high peaks region of the Adirondacks climbed Mount Algonguin. After reaching the summit it sounds like there was either a fog or a snow whiteout with high winds and they went off (ie fell) off the wrong (non-trail) side of the summit. There was 2 to 3 feet of very loose snow and this area has very thick underbrush (small pines).

I hiked here in the summers in the 70s and when I heard that two hikers were missing in winter, I thought they were gone for sure. This is a very isolated area where bushwacking is almost impossible.

The weather was even too bad for aerial search.

Incredibly they were found. There are lessons on what they did right. First, somebody knew where they were going and when they were due back. Second, they immediately sought shelter and did not move after going off the summit. Third, they had some supplies with them. (although, I think winter sleeping bags/bivy should be carried in this area even on "day" hikes). The rescuers had set up a base camp near the summit, and the kids heard a supply helicopter coming it...when they yelled...they were heard.

Amazing they were found almost unhurt. Reports suggest they might have some frostbite on their toes.

Later a couple of the rangers needed rescue after getting stranded in deep snow. The snow on the ground was very light and fluffy, so snowshoes and/or skis could not be used.

It's probably not a good idea to ever go into a region like this in advance of a heavy winter storm coming in...even if you EXPECT to be out before it hits.

Anyways, I'm glad they made it.

booney_1
12-20-2016, 13:47
Good fist person account of what happened...

https://dailygazette.com/article/2016/12/13/hiker-recounts-harrowing-tale-of-survival

(as a boy scout in NY...we always had our knives and match case attached with cord...cause if you drop it in snow you lose it...)

Brian Doyle
12-20-2016, 14:50
RIP. She had issues beyond physical health. She was easily disoriented, easily confused, when frustrated would not reason but argue, and was on numerous meds. She had memory issues. Her hiking "aid" has repeatedly told of how she couldn't find her way on the trail without assistance. Its a sad tale. She should have never been hiking alone, with or without her SPOT.


While this might be partly true, what hiking partner doesn't do that? Largay made it from Vermont to Maine all right without that partner.

MATC might be well-off placing a visible "AT" post at the Orbeton Stream woods road.


The tragedy of this is all Largay had to do was follow water downhill 3000 feet to get back to the Orbeton Stream road and back-track to the AT.

Brian Doyle
12-20-2016, 14:53
Funny thing but I got so acclimated to the Trail that I could close my eyes and "feel" the trailbed with my feet. You obtain weird senses out there. I got to where I could time my arrival at camp to within minutes from miles away.

dervari
12-20-2016, 19:41
Good fist person account of what happened...

https://dailygazette.com/article/2016/12/13/hiker-recounts-harrowing-tale-of-survival

(as a boy scout in NY...we always had our knives and match case attached with cord...cause if you drop it in snow you lose it...)
Page not found

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-T337A using Tapatalk

egilbe
12-20-2016, 20:20
I hiked that section of the AT this Summer. Crossing Orberton stream and heading straight up the trail isn't that difficult. The woods road there is obviously not the trail, just a woods road. The woods are pretty open just past the stream so if someone wanted to et some privacy when using the bathroom, one would have to walk quite a ways from the trail. I can see how someone could get turned around in that instance and getting farther and farther from the path. Sad story and a tragic end.

ldsailor
12-21-2016, 12:14
She had no signal. The app wouldn't have helped.

I used Guthook. You don't need a signal from a cell tower. As a matter of fact, I always put my phone in airplane mode to extend the battery life. As long as your phone's GPS is working, Guthook works.

Brian Doyle
12-22-2016, 15:34
I hiked that section of the AT this Summer. Crossing Orberton stream and heading straight up the trail isn't that difficult.


I haven't been there since my '85 southbound flop. In the article I read the investigators said there were two entered reasons for her getting lost in her diary and text message records. One said "I made a wrong turn right after Orbeton Stream" (paraphrase). The other said she got lost after going off trail for a bathroom break. A good detective wouldn't miss the fact one statement has more weight than the other in my opinion.