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Tin Man
05-04-2009, 20:01
The recent SAR mission begs the question: How DOES one get lost? To qualify the question somewhat, have any of you normally sighted hikers really been lost in the lower 48 for more than a few minutes or perhaps longer than an hour? Seriously, it strikes me as odd that someone could lose the trail so bad they need more than a few minutes to find their way out of it again.

I am sure there will be some wisecracks, so join in - it's all good, but I would like to hear some serious replies.

Tin Man
05-04-2009, 20:04
Of course, just as I hit enter, I remembered this lady I heard yelling for help after dark up in the Daks about 10 years ago. She was on the trail, just kind of panicked that she ran out of daylight and had no idea where she was. My buddy and I brought her into our camp and walked her out in the morning. No big deal and I wouldn't say she was lost, lost, just late.

freefall
05-04-2009, 20:13
I am sure there will be some wisecracks, so join in - it's all good, but I would like to hear some serious replies.
Well I've been called a lost cause before, does that count?

But seriously, the closest I've come to being lost while hiking is one day I hiked about an hour in the wrong direction. So I wasn't really lost, I knew I was still on the trail, just not where I intended to be at that time.

What would be your definition of lost, beyond the Webster 5 a: unable to find the way b: no longer visible c: lacking assurance or self-confidence?

Desert Reprobate
05-04-2009, 20:19
I always know what state I'm in. Sometimes I'm fuzzy on the county though.

Egads
05-04-2009, 20:21
I started out on a hike at 3:30 one morning and missed a blaze marking the BMT/DRT trail which branched off to the side. I mistakenly kept following the more traveled trail right down to the Tocooa River. I new I was in the wrong place when the suspension bridge wasn't in sight.

I wasn't lost, I knew exactly where I was. But it took 2 hours to find the error of my ways and get back on track in the dark.

Chaco Taco
05-04-2009, 20:31
I have gotten lost, but after realizing that all trails lead somewhere, i just walked and walked , i found myself in Bryson City.
Tin Man you bring up a very valid topic. Id like to hear some of the issues in certain weather conditions.

fiddlehead
05-04-2009, 20:36
I got lost in the Smokies big time on my first thru-hike.
Went off trail to get some water and there were a few white blazes mistakenly (or old, relocated trail) painted on some trail going the wrong way.
Of course, we didn't know it was the wrong way at first.

ended up being lost for about 4 hours and finally got to the bottom of the ridge.
Had maps but since we thought we were on the trail, they didn't seem to make any sense.

Anyway, sh1 t happens of course.

Once i did some desert hiking and snow travel, i learned that getting lost is where the fun starts!

Alligator
05-04-2009, 20:37
I overshot a shelter once in the rain and later made camp in the ensuing fog close to the trail. I had crisscrossed the trail looking for a flat spot and the next morning I hiked the wrong direction (maybe 20-30 minutes if I remember correctly.)

The Weasel
05-04-2009, 20:38
The recent SAR mission begs the question: How DOES one get lost? To qualify the question somewhat, have any of you normally sighted hikers really been lost in the lower 48 for more than a few minutes or perhaps longer than an hour? Seriously, it strikes me as odd that someone could lose the trail so bad they need more than a few minutes to find their way out of it again.

I am sure there will be some wisecracks, so join in - it's all good, but I would like to hear some serious replies.

Yes. Relatively often, in the sense that I wasn't where I intended to be, including off-trail hiking. Sometimes it occurs on badly marked trails, especially in wilderness areas where signage/blazing is poor or non-existent. This can result in leaving "the trail" and following a game trail that is more heavily traversed than "the trail."

Keep in mind that the AT is more of a one-path highway than a "trail" in most of it's length: It is massively blazed (too much so, I think), and often accurately called "The Rut." Even so, you can get lost on it, especially during the winter and spring snows. Other trails aren't nearly as good.

In some cases, "lost" is also a state of mind. You more or less know where you want to end up, and you have a sense of where you are, and there is no established pathway to getting there, so you do your own navigation. That can end up being anywhere from mildly to seriously mis-located, even with a GPS since a GPS location is only as good as it was written down by the person who was there ("garbage in, garbage out") and mistakes happen there too.

Then there was "Wrong Way Corrigan." Dude lost an entire continent, not just a trail. Left New Jersey for California in his airplane and ended up in Ireland. Darn those clouds! Look it up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Corrigan#Transatlantic_flier

TW

Tin Man
05-04-2009, 20:39
I have missed trail markings and trails, but it was easy enough to figure out where I was. I guess if you can't be bothered with maps, it is hard to tell whether you are lost or not. :)

Weather and darkness can add to the feeling of being lost. Regardless of how you got 'lost', if you figure you're way out within a certain threshold of time, were you actually lost? I don't think so.

Kirby
05-04-2009, 20:41
I could have easily seen myself getting lost in PA in some spots if I was not paying careful attention.

Sometimes it's a combination of poor trail maintenance and poor blazing.

modiyooch
05-04-2009, 20:42
1. I got lost between my tent and my bear bag. honestly. It was my first backpacking trip, I was alone, SNP, terrified of losing my food. and the bears. I went far from my tent and failed to bring a flashlight or a long sleeve shirt. It was Oct. The sun went down while I was struggling with the hanging, and it got cold fast. lesson: always carry my light and shirt at dusk. I lecently read in the thread of backpacking tips to leave a light on in your tent to find your location.

2. Also, on the same trip, I started following county markers instead of trail blazes. I was coming out of SNP and just thought that the trail wasn't as well marked because it was outside of the park. Now, my major problem is it is getting dark, and some sobos has previously interrupted their hike to teach me about the trail. They were carrying some of my gear including my tent and my sleeping bag so that I could get 17 miles in. Again, it got cold quickly. This is when I climbed to the sounds of the skyline drive and rejoined the others and my tent. Lesson learned: Carry your own gear.
Please keep in mind, this was 1980, I was 21 years old, alone and female, and from the coast. The whole advnture was a life changing experience for me.

Crazy Larry #1
05-04-2009, 20:45
Well I got lost behind Watuga Lake Shelter back in Feb of '01. It was a cool overcast day and I weht in behind the shelter to collect some firewood and I got lost. And had it not been for two hikers talking I doubt I would have gotten out of it alive. I yelled and they talked me out.........

Tin Man
05-04-2009, 20:45
Certainly lost is a relative thing. Everyone gets side-tracked, but really lost for say for one day or more, has to be fairly rare, no?

modiyooch
05-04-2009, 20:50
I also got lost in my neighborhood woods. I couldn't figure out how to get out of the woods and had to come through someones backyard. I then asked where I was. I was within a mile from my property. It was embarrassing.

modiyooch
05-04-2009, 20:51
Certainly lost is a relative thing. Everyone gets side-tracked, but really lost for say for one day or more, has to be fairly rare, no?
my problems both times on the trail, is that I was separated from my survival gear.

bigcranky
05-04-2009, 20:59
How does one get lost? One simply follows the obvious trail -- the really obvious trail -- until one realizes that, "Hey! I haven't seen a blaze in a while!" Then one turns around and realizes that there is no trail, and no way to return to one's starting point.

When this happened to me several years ago, I used my map to figure out my vague general location, and an azimuth that would get me to a cross trail. I managed to hit the cross trail at a trail junction with a sign (how's that for luck?) But still, it's easy enough for a sighted hiker to get lost -- happens all the time.

coldspring
05-04-2009, 21:00
Adhering strongly to the BPL Bible. Not carrying any unnecessary ounces, like a map, a gps, a spot, an extra 16 oz of water...

sheepdog
05-04-2009, 21:01
Hiking in Georgia in the rain and fog in November.The days are short and a flash light doesn't do much good. There are leaves all over the ground it is easy to lose the trail. It could happen. But as long as I have my stuff with me it is part of the adventure.

skinewmexico
05-04-2009, 21:01
I used to work with a guy who had a shockingly bad sense of direction. He got lost in flatlands, driving cars, daytime, nightime. Some people are just that way.

Blissful
05-04-2009, 21:05
Paul Bunyan got lost for nearly two hours, hiking down a gravel road in Maine, following what he thought were white blazes on the trees (that were old paint markings). He had hiked several miles before realizing his error and managed to snag a ride back to the real trail.

I got lost for half an hour at the Sunfish Pond area in NJ.

It can happen.

WalkingStick75
05-04-2009, 21:06
I have been really confused before, but I always knew where "I" was.

superman
05-04-2009, 21:08
As men age our hormones change but not in the same way as women. We get grumpier and we lose our sense of direction. I'll bet you think I'm kidding.

sheepdog
05-04-2009, 21:09
As men age our hormones change but not in the same way as women. We get grumpier and we lose our sense of direction. I'll bet you think I'm kidding.
Shut up!!! I told you I'm not lost!!!! sheeeesh

kyhipo
05-04-2009, 21:15
The recent SAR mission begs the question: How DOES one get lost? To qualify the question somewhat, have any of you normally sighted hikers really been lost in the lower 48 for more than a few minutes or perhaps longer than an hour? Seriously, it strikes me as odd that someone could lose the trail so bad they need more than a few minutes to find their way out of it again.

I am sure there will be some wisecracks, so join in - it's all good, but I would like to hear some serious replies.well last time I was hiking in kings canyon and sequoia nat forest I kinda got lost and well loved it!but for most people wouldnt recomend.ky

Tin Man
05-04-2009, 21:19
so, maybe I am just anal about following my maps, can't say I ever got off track for very long. I did do a planned 4-mile bushwhack in the daks once - that was fun and I came out precisely where I planned to!

Phoenixdadeadhead
05-04-2009, 21:23
I am pretty careful when Hiking, but while I lived in montana I used to drive the logging trails in hopes of getting lost. I know I am weird, but I would take every turn I could find that looked wrong, and would even get stuck here and there, but as the day got late I would allow my instincts to lead me out of the woods. Funny thing was west of Helena on top of the mountain there was a road that lead off the Highway, and even though I would start from many different places, whenever I was west or North of town I would end up coming out of the woods on that road. Maybe more of the credit goes to the loggers, ranchers, hunters, and other offroad enthusiusts, than any sense of direction on my part since they made the trails and roads, but I like to think that my sense of direction is a finely tuned skill.

modiyooch
05-04-2009, 21:29
Other than atlas sections of the state, I don't carry maps on the at. it's a trail n to s with white blazes. I do carry the summary data book for the mileage, shelters, and road crossings. so, if I ever get lost on the at for a long period, I'll just shoot the direction of the closest main road and town.

Engine
05-04-2009, 21:32
In August of '99 we were doing a day hike in RMNP to Mount Chiquita (sp?) in the Mummy range. We got a later start than we should have (mistake #1) and didn't summit until 1:30 pm. The usual daily thunderstorm rapidly blew in about the same time my youngest daughter and I started to get altitude sickness. Visibility dropped to maybe 20 feet. We had driven from Florida 24 hours before and hiked directly to 13,000+ feet (mistake #2). I had a delibitating headache that felt like a nail driven between my eyes and in my hurry to get my family off the mountain in the lightning I followed what I thought would be the drop off that is typical of the east face of the front range to the south to gain the trail and get back to the road. I didn't listen to my wife who twice tried to tell me she thought I was wrong in my direction (mistake #3) and ended up taking my family down one of the few ridgelines that finger off the main face of the mountain. After getting lower and somehow not losing anyone to some very exposed nasty scrambling we ended up on the wrong side of the mountain in a glacial moraine. I decided to climb up and out over the glacier to regain the trail between Mount Chapin and Chiquita, crossing an ice field in the process (mistake #4). I was kicking in steps and had roped everyone at 10 foot intervals, but without crampons the footing on what was about a 60% grade was treacherous and one of my daughters fell, taking us all down with her for a 150+ foot fall to the moraine field below. Multiple severe injuries resulted including a skull fracture for my wife (who by now had probably decided to leave me, but just never followed through with it yet).

I patched everyone up and decided to head down the drainage between the mountains as the map showed about 3-4 miles of creek from glacier melt to get to the road. We hiked until the one headlamp we had with us in the emergency kit gave out and with no spare batteries (the hits just keep on coming don't they) and my son and I built a shelter from a mylar blanket and pine boughs for my wife and 2 daughters so they would hopefully not die of hypothermia resulting from blood loss and the rainy 38 degree weather. It was about 2am when we finished and he and I were too tired to do much for ourselves so we spooned on the cold ground and shivered until 5:30am when it started to get light and we got everyone up and eventually made the road at 10am exactly 24 hours after we started the "day hike" the day before. We quickly got a ride from some tourists back to our car 9 miles up the mountain and returned to Loveland and got some medical attention.

Was I ever truly lost? Not really, but it was a cascade of errors that built on each other and somehow as I write this everyone survived. I don't write this with anything other than deep embarrasment at my mistakes that day and I hope others can learn from them. I can assure you when we returned to the area after a yellowstone hike a few years ago, it got a little quiet when we drove through the mummy range. The next morning however, my son and I (the girls didn't want to go) had a great father and son day summiting Longs Peak. It was kind of healing...

BR360
05-04-2009, 21:35
As a former backcountry skills instructor, I am familiar with the ways people get lost. I've not observed as much behavior on the AT as I have in the National Forests of Pisgah, Nantahala, Cherokee, and Chattahoochee. Their abundance of poorly marked trails and old logging roads make getting lost (navigationally clueless) much more likely.

Three primary ways:
1. Failure in "situational awareness." a.k.a. not paying attention to surroundings. Comes from being wrapped up in thoughts, conversation, simple mindlessness.
2. Not paying attention to map and compass, either due to #1, above, #3, below; or, just plain ignorance about navigation in the deep woods of the South (no sight lines for triangulation due to heavy foliage).
3. Arrogance. Thinking you don't have to pay attention cuz yer a wilderness badass, or because you are a natural born Daniel Boone.

Reality is that once the leaves get on the trees in the Southern Appalachians, and you're off the AT, you better be able to read topo maps well and match terrain features to map features if you don;t want to get "lost" for a bit.

Sometimes i intentionally wander off trail without checking map or compass, just following terrain features, just to see what's out there and to give myself the challenge of "coming back."

Chaco Taco
05-04-2009, 21:57
I could have easily seen myself getting lost in PA in some spots if I was not paying careful attention.

Sometimes it's a combination of poor trail maintenance and poor blazing.

Some of those boulder fields were insane!!!!

Rasputen
05-04-2009, 21:59
Was hiking a 5 mile "loop" with my 6 yo son a few weeks ago. About 1/2 way around the loop we passed by a lady coming in the opposite direction. We said hello and walked on. A half hour later we came upon a group of young teenagers discussing how to get out of the woods before dark. I directed them down the trial to the trialhead. About that time the same lady we passed earlier overhearing my converstion walked up and stated," no it's not,it's this way." and she started hiking on. I politely spoke up," Mam, if you want to get out before dark you can follow us and we can get you to your car".

About that time my 6 year old says," follow me, I know which way to go". I stood silent to see the reation. She and the group said,"are you sure you know the way out"? He replied," ya,come on, follow me"! His little legs bolted down the trail and I followed awefully proud.......

A happy ending for all. Especially me.......

Chaco Taco
05-04-2009, 22:00
As a former backcountry skills instructor, I am familiar with the ways people get lost. I've not observed as much behavior on the AT as I have in the National Forests of Pisgah, Nantahala, Cherokee, and Chattahoochee. Their abundance of poorly marked trails and old logging roads make getting lost (navigationally clueless) much more likely.

Three primary ways:
1. Failure in "situational awareness." a.k.a. not paying attention to surroundings. Comes from being wrapped up in thoughts, conversation, simple mindlessness.
2. Not paying attention to map and compass, either due to #1, above, #3, below; or, just plain ignorance about navigation in the deep woods of the South (no sight lines for triangulation due to heavy foliage).
3. Arrogance. Thinking you don't have to pay attention cuz yer a wilderness badass, or because you are a natural born Daniel Boone.

Reality is that once the leaves get on the trees in the Southern Appalachians, and you're off the AT, you better be able to read topo maps well and match terrain features to map features if you don;t want to get "lost" for a bit.

Sometimes i intentionally wander off trail without checking map or compass, just following terrain features, just to see what's out there and to give myself the challenge of "coming back."

Great input. What kind of training did you have to do to become a backcountry skills instructor? What kinds of skills did you teach?

Colter
05-04-2009, 22:48
At least by this definition: confused: having lost your bearings

Here's on example: I was elk hunting in western Montana. I'd tracked a bull for hours and finally gotten him. It was later than normal when I started heading back to camp and a blizzard rolled in. This was before the days of GPS, and I can tell you it was a rather sinking feeling when I got to the edge of a steep bluff and in the swirling snow and falling darkness was clueless where I was. Of course I had a compass and I also had maps, but a map wasn't a whole lot of good because I couldn't figure my current position or see far enough to identify anything else. I did know I'd eventually hit a road if I walked north far enough. Luckily, after about an hour of slogging I saw a stump, and from that one clue knew beyond a reasonable doubt where I was and was soon at the end of a logging road that led to that main road I was shooting for. A similar thing happened in another blizzard in Montana. Luckily I found my tent in the "middle of nowhere," but my heart sank when I unzipped it and spindrift had covered my sleeping bag! The common thread is, of course, blizzard conditions which limited sight range and changed the way things looked.

Many times I've looked at a map and/or my surroundings and said to myself "this doesn't make sense." If a person is prepared and just stays calm and clears their mind it usually doesn't take long to figure things out. You don't necessarily have to know exactly where you are to get out, you just have to know how to get out: "there's a road west of me, the river is SE of me somewhere." Many times I've hit a road or river a mile from where I expected to (spend lots of time in the thick stuff in flat country.) Don't think I've ever been truly lost longer than two hours or so.

earlyriser26
05-04-2009, 22:54
Got lost in the whites when I turned left instead of right at the ossgood? tent site. I was so far downhill by the time I realized I was on the wrong trail I kept going until I could cross the river and hitch back to the trail.

George
05-04-2009, 22:54
hike at night with fresh snow covering the trail-very easy to get off the trail

Reid
05-04-2009, 23:04
I think that the toll roads that you have to cross sometimes, and then sometimes follow for a while are an easy way of getting lost. The way I look at it, if you go the wrong way for 2 hrs (which I've done). You've lost 2 hrs going, 2 hrs coming back, and then you take the 4 hrs you spent going the wrong way and that really becomes 8 hrs once you look at the "Oppurtunity" involved.

phillycheze
05-04-2009, 23:09
can't say i've ever been really lost (i couldn't find my hotel in france once and it sucked a little) but i know it's coming. just hope i'm prepared...

Hikerhead
05-04-2009, 23:15
In August of '99 we were doing a day hike in RMNP to Mount Chiquita (sp?) in the Mummy range. We got a later start than we should have (mistake #1) and didn't summit until 1:30 pm. The usual daily thunderstorm rapidly blew in about the same time my youngest daughter and I started to get altitude sickness. Visibility dropped to maybe 20 feet. We had driven from Florida 24 hours before and hiked directly to 13,000+ feet (mistake #2). I had a delibitating headache that felt like a nail driven between my eyes and in my hurry to get my family off the mountain in the lightning I followed what I thought would be the drop off that is typical of the east face of the front range to the south to gain the trail and get back to the road. I didn't listen to my wife who twice tried to tell me she thought I was wrong in my direction (mistake #3) and ended up taking my family down one of the few ridgelines that finger off the main face of the mountain. After getting lower and somehow not losing anyone to some very exposed nasty scrambling we ended up on the wrong side of the mountain in a glacial moraine. I decided to climb up and out over the glacier to regain the trail between Mount Chapin and Chiquita, crossing an ice field in the process (mistake #4). I was kicking in steps and had roped everyone at 10 foot intervals, but without crampons the footing on what was about a 60% grade was treacherous and one of my daughters fell, taking us all down with her for a 150+ foot fall to the moraine field below. Multiple severe injuries resulted including a skull fracture for my wife (who by now had probably decided to leave me, but just never followed through with it yet).

I patched everyone up and decided to head down the drainage between the mountains as the map showed about 3-4 miles of creek from glacier melt to get to the road. We hiked until the one headlamp we had with us in the emergency kit gave out and with no spare batteries (the hits just keep on coming don't they) and my son and I built a shelter from a mylar blanket and pine boughs for my wife and 2 daughters so they would hopefully not die of hypothermia resulting from blood loss and the rainy 38 degree weather. It was about 2am when we finished and he and I were too tired to do much for ourselves so we spooned on the cold ground and shivered until 5:30am when it started to get light and we got everyone up and eventually made the road at 10am exactly 24 hours after we started the "day hike" the day before. We quickly got a ride from some tourists back to our car 9 miles up the mountain and returned to Loveland and got some medical attention.

Was I ever truly lost? Not really, but it was a cascade of errors that built on each other and somehow as I write this everyone survived. I don't write this with anything other than deep embarrasment at my mistakes that day and I hope others can learn from them. I can assure you when we returned to the area after a yellowstone hike a few years ago, it got a little quiet when we drove through the mummy range. The next morning however, my son and I (the girls didn't want to go) had a great father and son day summiting Longs Peak. It was kind of healing...

That's a great story.

Hikerhead
05-04-2009, 23:27
I got lost on the BMT on the Slickrock Trail a few years ago. My buds were in front of me a ways and I was trying to go hard to catch up. Came to the river, crossed it, saw a sign that said that I was on Slickrock so I followed it....going up stream. That should have sent some bells off but it didn't... I just wasn't in my right frame of mind. Ended up 5 miles up stream where I ran into some campers, we pulled out the maps and he showed me where I was and where I was suppose to be. After a bit of cussing I took the trail up to a parking lot, Big Flat I think, hit a gravel road, took off jogging down it, it was starting to get dark, a car came down the road, I almost jumped out in front of it, they gave me a ride to 20 mile, left a note for HH and DebW that I OK and in a room at Fontana Village. It wasn't a good feeling knowing that they spent another night in the woods waiting on me.

freefall
05-04-2009, 23:37
What about just carrying a map? Would that help?

zoidfu
05-04-2009, 23:38
I've run into a few on here that are "lost." No point of reference to speak of....

phillycheze
05-04-2009, 23:43
goes to show u that if in a group. stop at intersections, etc...

Chaco Taco
05-04-2009, 23:59
I've run into a few on here that are "lost." No point of reference to speak of....
Anyway..........:rolleyes:

So what are some of the skills that can help young people learn more about navigating in the woods? Learn topos, compass.

Alaskanhkr23
05-05-2009, 00:02
Im assuming going the wrong direction? did anyone here about the legally blind guy that got rescued on the AT ?

Hikerhead
05-05-2009, 00:03
Im assuming going the wrong direction? did anyone here about the legally blind guy that got rescued on the AT ?

Really, what happened?

Chaco Taco
05-05-2009, 00:05
Im assuming going the wrong direction? did anyone here about the legally blind guy that got rescued on the AT ?

Never heard of em:p

Alaskanhkr23
05-05-2009, 00:06
dont know i cought it on the news channel at the end,im not sure really all i heaqrd was he was on the at and legally blind i was like no freakin way,i was just explaining people get lost to it was on Channel 8 in CT

Alaskanhkr23
05-05-2009, 00:11
Snowden, VA (AHN) - A legally blind hiker who was lost on the Appalachian Trail for six days was found alive and healthy Saturday afternoon.
He was found after he lit a signal fire, his colleague at Backpacking Light and a member of the search party, Ryan Jordan, told the Ann Arbor News. The fire, which burned out of control and turned into a two-acre brush fire, prompted firefighters and other rescuers to go to his location near Snowden, Virginia.
Kenneth Knight, 41, who works for the outdoors magazine Backpacking Light, missed a planned rendezvous with fellow hikers last Tuesday and missed his flight back home on Wednesday night. He had been last seen Sunday morning, around 9 a.m. His friends reported him missing Wednesday.
The search party for Knight included about 130 people from several organizations.
Jordan said Knight can see shapes about 10 to 15 feet in the distance. Knight was taken to the Lynchburg General Hospital Saturday night, but his friends say he is in good condition.

Chaco Taco
05-05-2009, 00:13
Snowden, VA (AHN) - A legally blind hiker who was lost on the Appalachian Trail for six days was found alive and healthy Saturday afternoon.
He was found after he lit a signal fire, his colleague at Backpacking Light and a member of the search party, Ryan Jordan, told the Ann Arbor News. The fire, which burned out of control and turned into a two-acre brush fire, prompted firefighters and other rescuers to go to his location near Snowden, Virginia.
Kenneth Knight, 41, who works for the outdoors magazine Backpacking Light, missed a planned rendezvous with fellow hikers last Tuesday and missed his flight back home on Wednesday night. He had been last seen Sunday morning, around 9 a.m. His friends reported him missing Wednesday.
The search party for Knight included about 130 people from several organizations.
Jordan said Knight can see shapes about 10 to 15 feet in the distance. Knight was taken to the Lynchburg General Hospital Saturday night, but his friends say he is in good condition.

Here we go again.
There is most def 2 other thread covering this story. One of them being closed. Check out the one in Straight Forward concerning the Ken Knight story.

Chaco Taco
05-05-2009, 00:15
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=49834

Alaskanhkr23
05-05-2009, 00:15
oh my bad, i was just wondering i dnt pay attention to this stuff

Alaskanhkr23
05-05-2009, 00:15
Way to shoot my convo down Chaco LMFAO! nah its cool

Chaco Taco
05-05-2009, 00:17
And this one
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=49721
This is where the discussion about the incident is taking place

Chaco Taco
05-05-2009, 00:18
Way to shoot my convo down Chaco LMFAO! nah its cool

Sorry the conversation is about getting lost and the things around that not the Ken Knight story which has been discussed at great length.

Alaskanhkr23
05-05-2009, 00:20
well i mean getting lost is unfortunate but isnt able to be fully stopped thats why it called being lost u can control it though by not panicking and thinking clearly and not cont in which you make it worse

Chaco Taco
05-05-2009, 00:22
well i mean getting lost is unfortunate but isnt able to be fully stopped thats why it called being lost u can control it though by not panicking and thinking clearly and not cont in which you make it worse

wow... I got nuthin

Alaskanhkr23
05-05-2009, 00:23
Whats wrong with my massage ? is it stupid or suttin ?

Chaco Taco
05-05-2009, 00:26
Whats wrong with my massage ? is it stupid or suttin ?

WOW.....still got nothin

Chaco Taco
05-05-2009, 00:26
Whats wrong with my massage ? is it stupid or suttin ?
Am not wanting any massage

zoidfu
05-05-2009, 00:27
And this one
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=49721
This is where the discussion about the incident is taking place

And make sure you guys look at the last couple of pages so you can see the homoerotic circus that the thread devolved into.

Alaskanhkr23
05-05-2009, 00:30
WOW- this is pointless...

Chaco Taco
05-05-2009, 00:32
No it isnt pointless, just hard to grasp what you are saying sometimes. Aint trying to be mean, but it is just hard to get what you are saying when you type. Sorry, just trying to help:cool:

zoidfu
05-05-2009, 00:39
So what are some of the skills that can help young people learn more about navigating in the woods? Learn topos, compass.

Don't fall asleep on your feet, go with friends, and if you're serious about it- the military will burn nav into your brain.

Alaskanhkr23
05-05-2009, 00:45
I've always had problems reading a map and compass together, or just reading mileage on the map,im horrible at math.Im not to bright.

zoidfu
05-05-2009, 00:49
I'd probably recommend some practice and an abacus or just a GPS.

Alaskanhkr23
05-05-2009, 00:53
yeah i would like a gps, but i would feel silly with it,I've never had a problem finding my way even without a map,ive always reached my destination on time

zoidfu
05-05-2009, 00:55
You could always try geocaching if you're worried about not using it

Alaskanhkr23
05-05-2009, 00:58
Whats that? GEOCACHING?

zoidfu
05-05-2009, 01:04
Where people hide items like a coin or a keychain or just something random and then post the coordinates on this geocache website(can't remember the name). People then look online for the coordinates and then use their GPS to go find what other people hid.

zoidfu
05-05-2009, 01:08
There's thousands and thousands of hidden items in NP's, SP's, cities, towns... basically anywhere

Nearly Normal
05-05-2009, 02:22
There plenty hidden right here on this site in plain view. Most just don't see it.:rolleyes:

Engine
05-05-2009, 02:37
That's a great story.

It was a crappy day, but one I'm better off not forgetting. The funny thing is, at the time my trail name was Navigator because I always had good spacial awareness and never had to look at a map since I had a good sense of my position in relation to area landmarks. After that day, I wouldn't let anyone call me that anymore...Engine made more sense since I had apparently little control over my destiny and just followed that tracks so to speak.

freefall
05-05-2009, 03:10
In August of '99 we were doing a day hike in RMNP to Mount Chiquita (sp?) in the Mummy range. We got a later start than we should have (mistake #1) and didn't summit until 1:30 pm. The usual daily thunderstorm rapidly blew in about the same time my youngest daughter and I started to get altitude sickness. Visibility dropped to maybe 20 feet. We had driven from Florida 24 hours before and hiked directly to 13,000+ feet (mistake #2). I had a delibitating headache that felt like a nail driven between my eyes and in my hurry to get my family off the mountain in the lightning I followed what I thought would be the drop off that is typical of the east face of the front range to the south to gain the trail and get back to the road. I didn't listen to my wife who twice tried to tell me she thought I was wrong in my direction (mistake #3) and ended up taking my family down one of the few ridgelines that finger off the main face of the mountain. After getting lower and somehow not losing anyone to some very exposed nasty scrambling we ended up on the wrong side of the mountain in a glacial moraine. I decided to climb up and out over the glacier to regain the trail between Mount Chapin and Chiquita, crossing an ice field in the process (mistake #4). I was kicking in steps and had roped everyone at 10 foot intervals, but without crampons the footing on what was about a 60% grade was treacherous and one of my daughters fell, taking us all down with her for a 150+ foot fall to the moraine field below. Multiple severe injuries resulted including a skull fracture for my wife (who by now had probably decided to leave me, but just never followed through with it yet).

I patched everyone up and decided to head down the drainage between the mountains as the map showed about 3-4 miles of creek from glacier melt to get to the road. We hiked until the one headlamp we had with us in the emergency kit gave out and with no spare batteries (the hits just keep on coming don't they) and my son and I built a shelter from a mylar blanket and pine boughs for my wife and 2 daughters so they would hopefully not die of hypothermia resulting from blood loss and the rainy 38 degree weather. It was about 2am when we finished and he and I were too tired to do much for ourselves so we spooned on the cold ground and shivered until 5:30am when it started to get light and we got everyone up and eventually made the road at 10am exactly 24 hours after we started the "day hike" the day before. We quickly got a ride from some tourists back to our car 9 miles up the mountain and returned to Loveland and got some medical attention.

Was I ever truly lost? Not really, but it was a cascade of errors that built on each other and somehow as I write this everyone survived. I don't write this with anything other than deep embarrasment at my mistakes that day and I hope others can learn from them. I can assure you when we returned to the area after a yellowstone hike a few years ago, it got a little quiet when we drove through the mummy range. The next morning however, my son and I (the girls didn't want to go) had a great father and son day summiting Longs Peak. It was kind of healing...

Glad you made it out ok!

That is what I was leading to earlier, most areas back east are fairly close to roads, etc....

What constitutes lost? And where?

Bronk
05-05-2009, 03:15
The recent SAR mission begs the question: How DOES one get lost? To qualify the question somewhat, have any of you normally sighted hikers really been lost in the lower 48 for more than a few minutes or perhaps longer than an hour? Seriously, it strikes me as odd that someone could lose the trail so bad they need more than a few minutes to find their way out of it again.

I am sure there will be some wisecracks, so join in - it's all good, but I would like to hear some serious replies.


My first solo camping trip was a car camping adventure in the Allegheny National Forest. I parked my car and carried my gear into the woods and set up camp near the water (Kinzua Dam creates a large reservoir). The next day I drove my car up to an area called Jake's Rocks...its a large area on top of a mountain that has a lot of boulders and rock formations.

There is a clearly defined trail there, but I'd see a neat rock formation and leave the trail to check it out...in this way I went from one rock to another until I realized I was pretty far off the trail and couldn't remember how to get back. After wandering aimlessly through the rocks for almost an hour I realized I wasn't going to find the trail again, so I decided that rather than walking in circles I'd be better off trying to figure a way back to my car at the trail head.

What I decided was that the easiest way to do that without a map or compass was to go all the way down the mountain to the reservoir and follow the shoreline until I reached either the dam or the road. Once on the road I could walk the road back up to my car.

So I found a spring and started following it, knowing that the water would eventually flow into the reservoir. Eventually the spring merged with other springs and formed a small creek, and flowed to a steep area and turned into a cascading waterfall. A short distance later the water flowed into a culvert under the road and I found myself in a gravel parking lot by the road across from the reservoir.

Then all that was left to do was walk the road back to my car at the top of the mountain.

Had this happened later in the day I probably would have ended up spending the night on the side of that mountain, but fortunately I had all day to complete this impromptu hike and made it back to my campsite before dark.

Lesson learned: always be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to where you are going. When lost, don't panic...reason your way through the situation.

freefall
05-05-2009, 03:17
yeah i would like a gps, but i would feel silly with it,I've never had a problem finding my way even without a map,ive always reached my destination on time

I agree. The only reason I could justify a GPS is if I decided to track a trail. Out hiking to hike, I see no reason unless I were in a location that were say, tundra, ice plateau, etc..

I can look at a map and figure out where I am, no need for a GPS. And unless I go with a fairly high end GPS. it will only tell me which direction to head, not if there is a crevasse in route....

I'll stick to maps for now.

freefall
05-05-2009, 03:23
WOW- this is pointless...

Said the map to the compass on the North Pole.

Give it some time, stories lead the way....

freefall
05-05-2009, 03:26
No it isnt pointless, just hard to grasp what you are saying sometimes. Aint trying to be mean, but it is just hard to get what you are saying when you type. Sorry, just trying to help:cool:

I'll try...

Has anyone felt they were on the verge of calling for help or needed to call for help when they were hiking?

If so, why, and if not, why not? If you have not had this experience, then there is no reason to reply. Thank you.

Proceed :)

freefall
05-05-2009, 03:37
My first solo camping trip ....reason your way through the situation.

Great story, and great that you made it out ok!

Pikes Peak here in CO is beginnig to charge for "minor" rescues where the hiker f*ed up in planning their hike.

Basically, you go up w/o the 10 essentials and you will be fined if you have to be rescuesd.The fine relates to anyone calling for transport after sundown.

There are signs at the trail head saying what to expect and what is expected.

harley 10000
05-05-2009, 04:06
Great story, and great that you made it out ok!

Pikes Peak here in CO....
There are signs at the trail head saying what to expect and what is expected.
If you don't make it down and have to call for help they will charge you.

zoidfu
05-05-2009, 04:09
Great story, and great that you made it out ok!

Pikes Peak here in CO is beginnig to charge for "minor" rescues where the hiker f*ed up in planning their hike.

Basically, you go up w/o the 10 essentials and you will be fined if you have to be rescuesd.The fine relates to anyone calling for transport after sundown.

There are signs at the trail head saying what to expect and what is expected.

What are their ten required items?

Bronk
05-05-2009, 04:10
The recent SAR mission begs the question: How DOES one get lost? To qualify the question somewhat, have any of you normally sighted hikers really been lost in the lower 48 for more than a few minutes or perhaps longer than an hour? Seriously, it strikes me as odd that someone could lose the trail so bad they need more than a few minutes to find their way out of it again.

I am sure there will be some wisecracks, so join in - it's all good, but I would like to hear some serious replies.


My first solo camping trip was a car camping adventure in the Allegheny National Forest. I parked my car and carried my gear into the woods and set up camp near the water (Kinzua Dam creates a large reservoir). The next day I drove my car up to an area called Jake's Rocks...its a large area on top of a mountain that has a lot of boulders and rock formations.

There is a clearly defined trail there, but I'd see a neat rock formation and leave the trail to check it out...in this way I went from one rock to another until I realized I was pretty far off the trail and couldn't remember how to get back. After wandering aimlessly through the rocks for almost an hour I realized I wasn't going to find the trail again, so I decided that rather than walking in circles I'd be better off trying to figure a way back to my car at the trail head.

What I decided was that the easiest way to do that without a map or compass was to go all the way down the mountain to the reservoir and follow the shoreline until I reached either the dam or the road. Once on the road I could walk the road back up to my car.

So I found a spring and started following it, knowing that the water would eventually flow into the reservoir. Eventually the spring merged with other springs and formed a small creek, and flowed to a steep area and turned into a cascading waterfall. A short distance later the water flowed into a culvert under the road and I found myself in a gravel parking lot by the road across from the reservoir.

Then all that was left to do was walk the road back to my car at the top of the mountain.

Had this happened later in the day I probably would have ended up spending the night on the side of that mountain, but fortunately I had all day to complete this impromptu hike and made it back to my campsite before dark.

Lesson learned: always be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to where you are going. When lost, don't panic...reason your way through the situation.

CowHead
05-05-2009, 06:43
I got lost in Cabela's store in Wheeling WV it was ok though plenty of trail snacks lying around. Really the only true way to get lost is one trailblazing in unknown territory and two hiking in dense fog both will cause you to lost sight of your direction

bigcranky
05-05-2009, 07:55
I was kicking in steps and had roped everyone at 10 foot intervals, but without crampons the footing on what was about a 60% grade was treacherous and one of my daughters fell, taking us all down with her for a 150+ foot fall to the moraine field below. Multiple severe injuries resulted including a skull fracture for my wife (who by now had probably decided to leave me, but just never followed through with it yet).

Wow, you roped up on a 60% slope without crampons and (presumably) ice axes? That'll definitely keep your climbing party together when one of you falls -- just not in a good way. I'm just glad everybody made it out okay.

zoidfu
05-05-2009, 08:11
Roping yourselves together is probably the biggest mistake unless the guy at the front of the line has superhuman strength... It's simple physics in action...

Tin Man
05-05-2009, 08:17
Roping yourselves together is probably the biggest mistake unless the guy at the front of the line has superhuman strength... It's simple physics in action...

that must be why all the experts do it :rolleyes:

zoidfu
05-05-2009, 08:20
that must be why all the experts do it :rolleyes:

No, they don't. They go singularly(unless anchors are involved) and they know how to self arrest. Never took a physics class, huh? With a group of four the person at the front is looking at something like 10,000 lbs of force when the other three start moving at a brisk clip.

Read Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzalez- It has a good portion of a chapter dedicated to people who rope themselves together, it's a classic mistake.

Rockhound
05-05-2009, 08:20
Just a guess but I'd be willing to bet that the hikers with the GPSs, SPOTs, Satelite phones, complete sets of maps, compasses, emergency whistles etc..... tend to get lost on the AT, (or at least misplaced) far more often than those who don't.

Tin Man
05-05-2009, 08:27
No, they don't. They go singularly(unless anchors are involved) and they know how to self arrest. Never took a physics class, huh? With a group of four the person at the front is looking at something like 10,000 lbs of force when the other three start moving at a brisk clip.

Read Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzalez- It has a good portion of a chapter dedicated to people who rope themselves together, it's a classic mistake.

i must not be up on my hiking across ice fields reading

zoidfu
05-05-2009, 08:28
It happens. I always suspected as much but never actually accepted it 'til I read it-

Here's a link to the relevant pages in google books(I think.. I had it for a second and now my comp is struggling to load the pages)-

http://books.google.com/books?id=PHa3GVgsx1gC&pg=PA94&lpg=PA94&dq=laurence+gonzalez+roping+together&source=bl&ots=B1dE5VJtu8&sig=vmBDaZTlwSXWtDlMqnbDHIAxE-c&hl=en&ei=FjAASufZHISltge6z_CUBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#PPA95,M1

I also recommend reading all of it. It's an in depth exploration of not only the psychological aspects of survival but also the mental mistakes that a person makes which get's them into a situation.

Unrelated, but the story of what his father survived is pretty wild.

modiyooch
05-05-2009, 08:29
yeah i would like a gps, but i would feel silly with it,I've never had a problem finding my way even without a map,ive always reached my destination on timeare you going to find you way onto the trail by Friday, or have you scrapped that plan as well? r u packed?

D'Artagnan
05-05-2009, 08:56
I was doing a loop from Massie Gap to The Scales and back through the Grayson Highlands. After passing through The Scales the trail goes through the woods. It was Autumn and the trail was completely covered in fallen leaves. The white blazes weren't spaced close enough to be seen without walking some distance.

For about 5 minutes, I thought I had missed the trail. The funny (read "disconcerting") thing was, after just a minute or two, everything looked exactly the same and a slight case of panic set in. I backtracked and found a white blaze and determined that I was still on the trail, but for those couple of minutes, it was not a good feeling. Pretty minor in hindsight, but I can empathize with those truly lost and the gamut of emotions they must go through.

Chaco Taco
05-05-2009, 09:16
Great story, and great that you made it out ok!

Pikes Peak here in CO is beginnig to charge for "minor" rescues where the hiker f*ed up in planning their hike.

Basically, you go up w/o the 10 essentials and you will be fined if you have to be rescuesd.The fine relates to anyone calling for transport after sundown.

There are signs at the trail head saying what to expect and what is expected.

Friggin sweet, nice way to turn the thread around!:D

DAJA
05-05-2009, 09:27
Most of my hiking is done bushwhacking, following no trail... So I usually have no fixed destination... Just pure exploring... Without a destination it is almost impossible to get lost.. If you don't know where your going, how could you ever be lost?

tlbj6142
05-05-2009, 09:32
My brother and I were "lost" (though never worried) for half a day while hiking the Oly NP a couple summers back. Lingering snow (in late July) combined with way too many game paths made it such that finding the "exit path" on the other side of the snow patch difficult (we had to be the first to use the trail that year so we didn't have footprints to follow). We picked the wrong path. Eventually, we decided we were never going to find the trail doing what we were doing (we are still not sure when we actually lost the trail so back tracking wasn't an option). So, we sat down pulled out the compass and map (gasp!) and realized we were about 500-600 very steep feet below the trail. Ugh! To make maters worst, it was stupid hot that day, we were in full sun and low on water (we expected to reach a stream within a few minutes, but then we lost the trail).

I did learn that I need to consult the map (and confirm my location, not just look at it) sooner rather than later and that you can make any ridge look like any other ridge in your mind (one of the reasons we were "lost" for so long was due to me thinking Ridge A was Ridge B on the map). And it doesn't help that on many maps the location of the "trail" is more of an approximation rather than a exact location.


Trip Photos (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=17792)

ki0eh
05-05-2009, 09:33
It's definitely easy to get non-oriented on the PA rocks where both footway and blazable objects are lacking. Usually the A.T. and the other PA rocks trails follow a ridgeline. Sometimes it's hard to find a side trail just starting to get off a ridgeline.

I think the highest potential for getting lost is when you're in true headwaters country when each hollow falls off a different way. I remember one time in Ramsey's Draft in VA when I didn't realize the USFS map sold for a while was wrong (that was in the days before Internet forums) - I had my old GPS 12 running and noticed my track didn't seem going in the right direction so I backtracked. When I got back to the US 250 trailhead I saw the kiosk with the corrected map (that I had passed by in my haste to get on the trail the night before) - had I figured on the "downhill is out" and kept going, I would have been going out the Shenandoah instead of the James!

JAK
05-05-2009, 09:36
I have gotten myself lost off the Fundy Footpaths several times, even without deliberately bushwacking off the trail. Usually it begins by not being able to find a white blaze, then trying to take a shortcut back to find the trail rather than retracing, but even retracing a hundred feet or so might be in the wrong direction. Usually just a few minutes, like you say, but with the right shortcuts it might take hours, or even days. ;)

ki0eh
05-05-2009, 09:39
I did learn that I need to consult the map (and confirm my location, not just look at it) sooner rather than later and that you can make any ridge look like any other ridge in your mind (one of the reasons we were "lost" for so long was due to me thinking Ridge A was Ridge B on the map).

I set out once on a bright shadowless day to Big Schloss. I came up a side trail and turned what I thought was left - but left was much further left than the left I went. I toodled along the ridge for a while and came on a view trail, went out it and thought, "This is on the wrong side of the trail and doesn't quite look the pictures." Now I was advanced enough to have a GPS with a map - confirming I had really gone the wrong way, and in fact wasn't in the same state I thought I was.

But I wasn't lost, I just did a different hike. :D

vamelungeon
05-05-2009, 09:50
I got lost in Alabama once. Flat land, swampy area with a lot of creeks and bogs, dead ends and no landmarks for a hillbilly like me. I was squirrel hunting and paying more attention to looking for them than where I was at. A few hours later I walk out on a little point with water on 3 sides and realize I have no idea how to get back to where I was parked, and all those creeks were like a maze. It took a while but I did walk out to the road my car was parked on and guessed correctly which direction it was in.
I'm a LOT more careful now.

leeki pole
05-05-2009, 09:55
Never been lost, just misplaced. Does remind me of a story, though, a buddy of mine who considered himself a master woodsman was out deer hunting on our farm, pretty thick brush. Got dark, I'm waiting by the truck. Got darker. I'm thinking, where is he? Two hours pass, he's got no flashlight. I crank the truck, turn on the lights and honk the horn every two minutes or so. Finally he emerges from the woods, bleeding from multiple briar encounters. Says he, "I was never lost, just misplaced."

JAK
05-05-2009, 10:09
Even the natives and old timers talk about getting lost and 'turned around in their heads' and talk about what to do when lost. Personally, I don't think you really get the full outdoors experience, or the wisdom and learning and self-awareness that goes along with it, unless you have gotten good and lost a few times. It can and should be done safely. It doesn't have to be deliberate either. People shouldn't fuss so much about getting lost. Like getting wet, or sweating, or a little thirsty, it is not the end of the world. People need to lighten up and live a little. Get lost.

leeki pole
05-05-2009, 10:12
Addendum to above story about misplaced hunter; you may wonder why we waited two hours to begin SAR. There was a cooler in the back of said pickup.:D

Gray Blazer
05-05-2009, 10:59
Good thread, TinMan. I appreciate the fact that you always got my back.

I was reminded of the first time my brother and I were going to hike alone on the AT.

My Dad took us to Amicalola and dropped us off at what we thought was the trailhead. We followed these blazes through the woods. It was pretty easy at first.

Then the blazes went off in the brush and down the mountain. Well we thought we were pretty tough boyscouts so we bushwhacked following those blazes. They came to a highway and dissapeared into the thick underbrush on the other side of the highway. By this time we knew we were lost.

We hitched a ride back to the park and found out we had been following the National Forest boundariy blazes. What a coupla Daniel Boobs.

Spirit Walker
05-05-2009, 11:17
I have gotten lost many times. I've never really gotten LOST - though I've come close. The difference being, I've misplaced the trail, or myself off the trail, but I was never so confused I didn't know where I was generally or been unable to find my way out.

Getting lost for me has been because of: a) unmarked trails; (Many western trails have no regular markings - no blazes and only an occasional cairn, if that. Some are mixed up with cow trails, horse trails and ATV trails; it's really easy to head off on the wrong tread. Some have no tread to follow. b) talking to a companion so I stop paying attention to where I am and we miss a critical junction; c) weather (i.e. fog hiding blazes or snow covering the tread); d) too many trails and only a vague description in the guidebook- i.e. on the CDT in Wyoming we were told to follow an old ski trail - blue diamonds in the trees. The trail split - with blue diamonds heading off in two directions. We followed the wrong one. It was heading the right general direction (SE) but ended up on a parallel ridge to the one we were supposed to be on. We knew we were on the wrong trail when we found a couple of good water sources that weren't in the guidebook - but we were heading south, so we just kept on going until we reconnected with the right trail - the next day. e) inadequate maps - on the CDT we frequently used National Forest maps which aren't topographic. Many maps don't show a lot of the side trails/roads or show ones that aren't there any more. Some lie outright. On the GDT the topo maps we used in the national forest sections dated from the early '70s - before they logged the area, so there were new roads and new trail that didn't show on the maps at all.

That said, being lost isn't usually a very big deal. Keeping a cool head is paramount. Being able to read a map so that you can find your way back to where you need to be is also essential. On the CDT we frequently said, "As long as we keep heading south, we're not lost. We'll reach Mexico sooner or later." I always knew that I would be able to find a way out - it just might take longer than I wanted.

When I was just starting hiking, I lived in Tucson. One day a friend and I went on a hike in the desert using a handdrawn map from a local hiking club that showed trails but not topography. The area had a lot of unmarked use trails. We were following a horse/cow trail along a dry stream and missed a turn (probably talking too much). We continued down the stream and I stepped on a rock that rolled under my foot so I fell back and hit my head, hard, on a boulder. I bled all over the place and was somewhat concussed. Slowly we tried to follow the stream down to the main wash. Darkness fell. The stream cliffed out - and we couldn't go forward so we didn't want to go back. So we followed deer paths, heading generally west, in the dark until the flashlight failed. Now the smart thing to do would have been to stay put and wait for daylight, but I knew my mother would be freaking out, and I didn't want her to call SAR, so we kept going. We wandered in the desert until about 1:00 a.m., when we finally found a trail that led us back to the road. So, what did I learn from that little adventure? Get good maps. Pay attention to your surroundings, even while involved in a good conversation. Turn back if you lose the trail until you find the last place that you saw the trail. If darkness falls, wait for light if you possibly can. Everything looks different in the dark. Tell the folks back home when they should start worrying about your non-return - i.e. I needed to tell my mother not to call SAR unless I had been missing a full day - not just overnight.

medicjimr
05-05-2009, 11:20
If not already mentioned those who like to get off the trail and explore and then don't know how to get back to the trail. I got disorented for a while when I was young deer hunting in an area I never hunted. and learned my lesson.

CowHead
05-05-2009, 12:57
Someone ask what are the 10 essentials and I go buy this list others may have their own

According to the Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills,[3] the ten essentials are:

1. Map
2. Compass (optionally supplemented with a GPS receiver)
3. Sunglasses and sunscreen
4. Extra food and water
5. Extra clothes
6. Headlamp/flashlight
7. First aid kit
8. Fire starter
9. Matches
10. Knife

leeki pole
05-05-2009, 14:28
Don't forget shelter. Most important in survival mode. You can live for 3 days without water, 2 weeks without food but you can die overnight without shelter.

shwn354
05-06-2009, 19:44
Rambo (2008) got sick of the trail one day around standing indian last march. said he didn't want to see another white blaze. so he took a left and walked down the side of the mountain. after being in the middle of the woods for several hours, he finally appeared on a road, talked to a guy cutting his lawn, and discovered he had walked BACK to georgia.

Chaco Taco
05-06-2009, 21:23
Rambo (2008) got sick of the trail one day around standing indian last march. said he didn't want to see another white blaze. so he took a left and walked down the side of the mountain. after being in the middle of the woods for several hours, he finally appeared on a road, talked to a guy cutting his lawn, and discovered he had walked BACK to georgia.

HAHAHAHAHA I remember Rambo. Met him at Fontana. He was not happy about walking but was an interesting character. Sounds like he def hiked his own hike. :D

Kanati
05-06-2009, 22:40
Last year I saw "lost" on a guys face in NJ just after leaving Deleware Water Gap. I was walking and talking with a young Marine from southern NJ who was out on a day-hike for exercise. We had gone past the glacial lake when when ran into this guy, about 35'ish and his son who appeared to be about 14. This guy was running back and forth down different trails yelling for his wife. The sun had already set and dark was coming on. We got him still long enough to tell us that his wife was lost and he was trying to find her. We decided to split up and look for her. The Marine went back south as he was ready to end his day any way and I continued north as I was looking for a place to stealth. I took the guys cell phone number and programmed it into my phone and told him I would call if/when I found her. He didn't even reply but yelled her name real loud and took off running down a side trail. His son trying to stay up. He had no idea where he was and was about to panic. I mean really panic. He looked like a person tied on a railroad watching an approaching train.

I went on and about 1/2 mile I ran into her coming south on the AT. She was with 2 guys who were showing her how to get back to the lake. I told her I had seen her husband and he say that "you had got seperated and was lost". With this statement her eyes grew large, her brows drew together in the middle and she said, "me lost?....He's the one who seperated from us and is lost"!!!!! She was pi****. So I called him on the phone and asked were he was and he said near the lake where he last saw us. I told him to stay there as a couple of guys was bringing his wife down and which should be about 20 minutes, and also, he better pad his britches, cause he's got a wooping coming.

Wise Old Owl
05-06-2009, 22:43
I have been confused once or twice, but when I am lost-women were clearly involved.

What? this isn't the humor section? Damn. While I hike backwards now.......

10-K
05-07-2009, 21:36
No, they don't. They go singularly(unless anchors are involved) and they know how to self arrest. Never took a physics class, huh? With a group of four the person at the front is looking at something like 10,000 lbs of force when the other three start moving at a brisk clip.

Read Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzalez- It has a good portion of a chapter dedicated to people who rope themselves together, it's a classic mistake.

Great book - I got the audio version off itunes last year.

jaywalke
05-08-2009, 09:30
As a former backcountry skills instructor, I am familiar with the ways people get lost.
Three primary ways:
1. Failure in "situational awareness." a.k.a. not paying attention to surroundings. Comes from being wrapped up in thoughts, conversation, simple mindlessness.
2. Not paying attention to map and compass, either due to #1, above, #3, below; or, just plain ignorance about navigation in the deep woods of the South (no sight lines for triangulation due to heavy foliage).
3. Arrogance. Thinking you don't have to pay attention cuz yer a wilderness badass, or because you are a natural born Daniel Boone.


I think there is a corollary to #2 - not believing the map and compass. The one time I took a trail the wrong direction for a mile, in the Cranberry Wilderness, I had topo and compass in hand the whole time but just kept thinking, "well, the map's probably outdated," or "this trail is bound to swing farther east."

jaywalke
05-08-2009, 09:41
Someone ask what are the 10 essentials and I go by this list others may have their own

According to the Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills,[3] the ten essentials are:

1. Map
2. Compass (optionally supplemented with a GPS receiver)
3. Sunglasses and sunscreen
4. Extra food and water
5. Extra clothes
6. Headlamp/flashlight
7. First aid kit
8. Fire starter
9. Matches
10. Knife

This is still a great starting point. I replace #3 with Signalling (a whistle), which is much more important that sun protection unless you are above treeline.

The way I remember the list (which I think is also in _Freedom . . ._) is:
Mom's
Cafe
Serves
Everyone
Extra
Helpings of
French
Fries
Mustard and
Ketchup.

ShoelessWanderer
06-18-2009, 22:13
The recent SAR mission begs the question: How DOES one get lost? To qualify the question somewhat, have any of you normally sighted hikers really been lost in the lower 48 for more than a few minutes or perhaps longer than an hour? Seriously, it strikes me as odd that someone could lose the trail so bad they need more than a few minutes to find their way out of it again.

I am sure there will be some wisecracks, so join in - it's all good, but I would like to hear some serious replies.

Lost as in having no idea where I was? Never. Lost as in being on the wrong trail, or headed in the wrong direction, yeah, a lot of times. But always figure it out. As long as you stay on trails, you'll always figure it out. If you stray away from trails, that's when you get in trouble.

Panzer1
06-18-2009, 22:28
Your "lost" when you feel "lost". Its a state of mind.

Panzer

kayak karl
06-18-2009, 22:32
went to Atlantic City last week, i lost:D

Panzer1
06-18-2009, 22:34
went to Atlantic City last week, i lost:D

But did you "feel" like a looser? :D

Panze

kayak karl
06-18-2009, 22:43
But did you "feel" like a looser? :D

Panze
no, everything was comped:D

sarbar
06-19-2009, 11:07
It is easy out here to get lost - and every year multiple do it. All it takes is clouds to roll in, or snow or a blown out trail.

Stand in one of the bazillion river valleys and everything looks the same. Often you cannot see peaks or anything that could show which way to go.

Worse is this: In the Olympic Mountains one of the worst things you can do is follow a creek or river. You are told to NOT do that if lost as the water often has lots of cliffs, etc on the way down. Short waterways in the sense of miles, but hard to follow.

For true wilderness the North Cascades are where to go. Not a lot of trail maintenance, not a lot of signs, the farther north you are the less likely the trails are shown on maps (if you are near the border that is). Quite easy to walk out there and never come back if you don't pay attention.

JJMcK
06-20-2009, 13:58
Lost? No I've never been lost, but I was once mighty confused for a couple of months.
Jim Bridger

mudhead
06-20-2009, 17:30
Something that can help, when you do get a bit confused, is to just sit down for a couple minutes. Clear your head.

Dogwood
06-20-2009, 18:33
Did you ever notice that when you get unlost or find out where you went awry that it seems so simple where and why you got lost? - you see what a simple easy mistake you made? You wonder how you got lost in the first place! These are the times from which to learn how to avoid getting lost in the future! STOP! Slow down! Think clearly! Calm down! Don't proceed without a plan based on as as much knowledge as you can acccumulate about where you are! Only then go on! I think being lost is sometimes challenging and yet enjoyable at the same time. It teaches good skills for the future.