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  1. #61

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    In the news feed, the medical examiner concluded that Inchworm got lost and subsequently died of exposure, lack of food and water. Those woods are dense. Carry a map and compass and know how to use them, people!

  2. #62
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    Carry a map and compass, yes. And study enough of the map in advance to know things like, "the river is southwest, and the highway is downstream." (Adjust the handrails to where you're hiking.) Maps do get lost, but you don't have to, even without one.

    All the big hiking clubs offer map and compass courses. If you haven't taken one, take one. If you know this stuff and have some extra time, consider teaching one! There's always a shortage of instructors.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHuth View Post
    I think the move versus stay put question depends on a large number of factors, but underlines the question of having a plan in the back of your mind "what if I get lost?"

    Health - can you travel safely?
    Terrain - how well do you know the terrain, is it safe to bushwhack across, or might it be a difficult environment (too hot, too cold, not enough water)
    Possibility of a search and rescue mission - and will they know to look in the right place?
    Gear - map and compass? Ability to sleep at night and not risk exposure?
    If I can travel safely, and know the terrain well enough to know that it's safe to bushwhack, and have my compass - then I'm not lost! I may be off my intended track, but I have the tools and knowledge to find it again - or at least find the car.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    If I can travel safely, and know the terrain well enough to know that it's safe to bushwhack, and have my compass - then I'm not lost! I may be off my intended track, but I have the tools and knowledge to find it again - or at least find the car.
    True 'nuff. There are two definitions of "lost" it seems to me - there's the 'softer' one which is more like "being turned around, but more or less know how to get out", and then there's the case where you don't have any means of reorienting yourself, which is the more severe one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHuth View Post
    True 'nuff. There are two definitions of "lost" it seems to me - there's the 'softer' one which is more like "being turned around, but more or less know how to get out", and then there's the case where you don't have any means of reorienting yourself, which is the more severe one.
    And then there is my warped definition. Those relying on a trail as their only means of navigation are lost the moment they step into the woods. That fact becomes apparent after the trail disappears. Not knowing where you are equals lost. "On a trail" is not sufficient. You might be on the wrong trail. You might not even be on a trail.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

  6. #66

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    A technique when you have no maps and do not know the area:

    1. Follow stream or creek bed DOWN until it merges with next stream.
    2. Follow that down until it merges with river.
    3. Follow river downstream. It will eventually lead to civilization.

  7. #67

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    Being lost won't kill you and given enough time, you will be found. The focus should be on surviving long enough to be found.

    In most survival situations, the most immediate danger is running out of water. If a person has water, they can survive several days awaiting rescue, but without water the time window narrows quickly. Those who advise that a lost person "stay put" without addressing whether or not the lost person has water are putting being found ahead of survival.

    In my opinion, the plan should be something like this:

    If you realize that you are lost, follow this check list:
    1. Do you have life threatening injuries? If so, use First Aid.
    2. Do you have signs of hypothermia? If so, take action to protect your body heat.
    3. Do you have enough water? If not, obtaining water is your priority.
    4. Only after your survival is assured should being found become a priority.

    Shutterbug

  8. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wet Foot View Post
    A technique when you have no maps and do not know the area:

    1. Follow stream or creek bed DOWN until it merges with next stream.
    2. Follow that down until it merges with river.
    3. Follow river downstream. It will eventually lead to civilization.
    That may be a good plan for Virginia, but wouldn't work at all in the mountains of Washington. Our streams run down slopes that are really steep, then turn into water falls where the stream goes over a cliff.
    Shutterbug

  9. #69

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    I said, "a technique." Of course it doesn't work in every situation. Still, if that technique took me to a waterfall on a cliff, I'd perhaps have a decent view to reorient or an opportunity to bypass around. You do realize that a) there are some modest mountains, cliffs, and waterfalls on the east coast, and b) not all terrain in Washington is necessarily complex?

  10. #70

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    The following creeks down stream trick can often lead you away from civilization - you need to know something of the watershed patterns.

    In the "news feed" section, people mentioned carrying a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon). I've done this on a remote trip to the Marshall Islands - if you're considering this option, it's important to know a few things about it.

    If you activate the PLB, the distress signal and latitude and longitude go to a central facility (in the US, it's Maryland), and then they have in their database a call list. In my case, it was my wife and also someone in the Marshall Islands. That person gets the call that the PLB went off, then it's their job to alert the authorities that might be able to conduct a search and rescue mission. Presumably, they transmit the coordinates to the authorities and any useful information (age, condition, intended route....).

    It's important to realize that in many kinds of terrain, the GPS signal can generate coordinates that may be substantially off the position of the lost person. Atmospheric conditions, signals bouncing off mountain sides etc can slow things up. One example of this is last February when a woman attempted a winter traverse of the Presidentials. Her PLB went off, but it presented five or six multiple locations to the SAR team - the weather was horrid and they only had the time to check out one of the possible locations on the first day of the search. They found her body on the second day.

    A PLB or SPOT is no guarantee that someone will find you in time, if you aren't able to hunker down and keep yourself alive. In the case of the woman in the Presidents, the weather was ghastly - the SAR team who were very experienced got beaten and it was a struggle for them.

  11. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wet Foot View Post
    I said, "a technique." Of course it doesn't work in every situation. Still, if that technique took me to a waterfall on a cliff, I'd perhaps have a decent view to reorient or an opportunity to bypass around. You do realize that a) there are some modest mountains, cliffs, and waterfalls on the east coast, and b) not all terrain in Washington is necessarily complex?
    Wet Foot, I am responding to your comment that "not all terrain in Washington is necessarily complex." That statement is absolutely correct; however, if you have not had the opportunity to hike in Washington, I encourage you to put it on our bucket list. I have hiked all over the country and can say with confidence that Washington ranks right near the top when it comes to hiking.

    The missing hiker cases from Washington don't get as much publicity as the Inchworm case got, but we have similar cases.

    Two years ago, Edwin Burch, was hiking on the Wonderland Trail. His story was very similar to the Inchworm story. Edwin and his son were doing a "key swap" hike. They were hiking a 19 mile section of the Wonderland. Edwin started at the south trailhead (Box Canyon) and his son started at the north trailhead (Fryingpan Creek). They passed each other near the middle of the section and exchanged keys. His son reached the south trailhead, but Edwin didn't show up. His remains were found after two years. Here is a link to the story: ~http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article29887330.html

    The Ozette Loop Trail is a 9 mile loop trail in Olympic National Park. A couple of years ago, a hiker named Bryan Lee Johnston, disappeared from the trail. As far as I know, he has never been found. Here is a link to his story --
    http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20130913/NEWS/309139971







    Shutterbug

  12. #72
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    Shutterbug good stuff but 'being lost won't kill' surely has been disproved. But has been said there is lost and lost.

    Not lost but seeking adventure in a hike from Inverness to Cape Wrath (extreme NW Scotland) a lady artist /writer was caught in bad weather in January 2002 at the Kearvaig Bothy. She was found in March at deaths door by two shepherds, she died very soon after in hospital. I learnt of the story at the Bothy. In reasonable weather, which I had, it is less than a days walk along a vehicle track to a small boat ferry and safety. Food would be her issue there is often driftwood close by for fire- if she had the means or experience. Evidently she had a hook and tried to catch fish.The area is not frequented, very likely she was snowed in till she was too weak to move on.
    Bit different now as the lighthouse has a café maybe not in the winter but a NATO firing range is adjacent and army food now was/is left in the bothy; not sure if all the time. Google has more of the story.

  13. #73
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    In June 1990, 38-year-old postal worker David Boomhower attempted a thru-hike of the Northville-Placid Trail. He was ill-prepared, having brought very little food and equipment. Beset by hunger and fatigue, he made the questionable decision to turn aside on the little-used Sucker Brook Trail to seek help. It would have been considerably shorter and easier to continue on trail to the ranger station at Wakely Dam. Boomhower lost the trail (which despite its name, follows Colvin Brook and not its namesake Sucker Brook for most of its length), and was unable to find it again.

    Four months after an extensive search had failed to locate him, because it was primarily conducted following the Northville-Placid Trail forward from his last known location at Cedar Lakes Dam, a hunter stumbled on his remains - close to the Sucker Brook trail and just a couple of miles from the Lewey Lake campground. He had hung red clothing from trees, built signal fires, and survived a month - all because he followed the conventional wisdom of, "when lost, stay put and signal for help." He died of starvation, less than a quarter-mile from the trail. Had he followed the brook where he had camped downstream through largely open forest, a 1-2 hour walk would have brought him to a campground and a state highway,.)

    Being lost can indeed kill - but as long as I'm in my right mind, I don't think I'll even be that lost. I always, without fail, study the map for a day's route before setting out, and know at least a general direction to head in to strike a handrail and the directions, following the handrail, that will get me to some 'unlost' point (a major trail, road, village, campground, or other civilization).I can switch to bushwhack navigation if I lose the trail entirely. (I also hike on trails that are remote enough that I fairly often decide to abandon the trail, because blowdown, washouts, rockslides, or beaver activity make a bushwhack look easier.) If I'm not in my right mind, I hope I will at least have enough of my wits about me to light my beacon.

    And my wife or daughter or a neighbour (usually all three) know what my plan is, what my preplanned evacuation routes are, and when I'm expected back, so a search would be initiated more promptly than it was for Boomhower.

    And for example, when I did the section where Boomhower was lost, I noted that the only real ways out were forward and back. There were side trails a few miles shorter that would get me to trailheads, equipped with registers and privies, at Sled Harbor and Jessup River. Nevertheless, they are remote and generally 4WD-only access, and sometimes closed for logging. (They're on International Paper property.) I noted them in my plan as low-probability potential escapes, so those at home would know to tell searchers that I might have diverted, but resolved to use them only if I were being assisted by someone else, or in a dire enough situation to warrant PLB use, lest I be stuck at an unused trailhead without a ride. I didn't even trouble to list Colvin Brook/Sucker Brook in my safety plan, since they were a longer evacuation than the trail itself.

    In fact, I did run into trouble, spraining a knee in the middle of the section. I made the decision - probably correct, since all's well that ends well - to hike on with an Ace bandage on the knee. The plan then was that if the knee wouldn't take the strain, I'd divert toward Jessup River and light my PLB. It took a day and a half to hobble the 15 miles, but I made it safely to Piseco village and my car. I was only slightly late, nowhere near my "if I don't report in by..." time.

    I'd have been much worse off if I hadn't had map, compass and the skills to use them. I'd have been tempted to do something stupid. As it was, I had what would have been a nice hike if several body parts hadn't hurt like heck. Solo in the Adirondacks with a hurt knee is as much trouble as I ever want to be in on the trail - but it was an inconvenience at the time and an adventure afterward, not a disaster. Because there was always a plan.

    Try hard to get the skills you need not to get lost, and to get unlost if you do. And never be where nobody knows where you are.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  14. #74
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    Get out your map and compass. Than triangulate your location. Run an azimuth to a known location, measure your pace count and walk to a safe identifiable known location. Do a few triangulations in route to insure one is one the right path. In Dark stay put and as dry and warm as able. I find the stars can not really be of much help. In real overcast weather knowing how to read map detail such as elevation vs the course of a stream or river is paramount. I feel blessed that my Ranger, Jungle School Instructor Daddy taught this stuff at a very young age. In a real pinch you can use two points instead of three for get a general location and can do so just using bends in the land and elevation lines. Quite frankly I've never even owned a GPS., but keep my maps dry.
    Last edited by lemon b; 11-07-2015 at 06:47.

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    [QUOTE=Another Kevin;2014824]Good for you. I used to make that a game with my daughter: "Make sure you notice landmarks, because you're on lead on the trip out!" It wasn't until her late teens that I made sure she knew it was serious business: "Make sure you know your way out, because God forbid anything should happen to me, you need to get home." I intentionally a couple of times took her through a confusing trail junction. (Harriman has a bunch of those. I let her lead through the junctions between the Ramapo-Dunderberg (red disk on white) and Tuxedo-Mount Ivy (red dash on white), and the White Bar (like an A-T blaze turned sideways) and Kakiat (white square). (I think there were one or two others that were similarly confusing.) I also let her recover when she got it wrong.

    This sounds like the place I got seriously lost many years ago, following the AT south from bear mtn state park.


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    Quote Originally Posted by lemon b View Post
    Get out your map and compass. Than triangulate your location. Run an azimuth to a known location, measure your pace count and walk to a safe identifiable known location. Do a few triangulations in route to insure one is one the right path. In Dark stay put and as dry and warm as able. I find the stars can not really be of much help. In real overcast weather knowing how to read map detail such as elevation vs the course of a stream or river is paramount. I feel blessed that my Ranger, Jungle School Instructor Daddy taught this stuff at a very young age. In a real pinch you can use two points instead of three for get a general location and can do so just using bends in the land and elevation lines. Quite frankly I've never even owned a GPS., but keep my maps dry.
    You must be a Western hiker, despite your MA location.

    Here in the wet East, when I can see well enough to triangulate on a landmark, that means I've made it to the overlook I was hiking to, and know exactly where I am. (Or I'm on a lake shore, and likewise know where I am.) Anywhere else that I'm hiking, I'm down in a tunnel of trees. Here in the East, handrails and backstops are the mainstays of navigation, and I'm using my altimeter a lot more often than I resect a sight. As long as I haven't forgotten what mountain I'm on, even altitude+aspect of slope give an approximate fix.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  17. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    You must be a Western hiker, despite your MA location.

    Here in the wet East, when I can see well enough to triangulate on a landmark, that means I've made it to the overlook I was hiking to, and know exactly where I am.
    I took off some of the quote. I find myself using the compass in different ways - typically I *can* see some distant feature that I can identify on a topographic map. If I can get a back-bearing off that feature, and know its altitude, I can use that information to get a position. Likewise, I can often estimate the distance to a peak or distant feature and again use that with a line-of-position to get my location. I do this more than triangulation, where I'd need to get two relatively clear sightings. Anyway, just what I do when bushwhacking. A lot of time this saves me the grief of wandering into a cliff.

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    I do three things when I hike in case I get lost. Carry a whistle. Carry a magnetic compass. And carry a GPS. Even if you just use the GPS at the end of the day to mark your location, if you get lost, you will have a reference point to return to. I know a GPS can be heavy for long hikes and require maintenance like batteries, but it's an item I always carry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHuth View Post
    I took off some of the quote. I find myself using the compass in different ways - typically I *can* see some distant feature that I can identify on a topographic map. If I can get a back-bearing off that feature, and know its altitude, I can use that information to get a position. Likewise, I can often estimate the distance to a peak or distant feature and again use that with a line-of-position to get my location. I do this more than triangulation, where I'd need to get two relatively clear sightings. Anyway, just what I do when bushwhacking. A lot of time this saves me the grief of wandering into a cliff.
    Yeah, I use what information I have available. A lot of my bushwhacking in recent years has been to trailless peaks in the Catskills, where the last half mile is usually a push through dense spruce, and altitude, aspect, and God help us, GPS are all you really have to go on because you can't see twenty feet in any direction. Fortunately, "3460 feet elevation and the slope falls of at about compass heading 290 degrees" is actually pretty close to a fix. In more open country I'd use sights a lot more.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  20. #80

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    You should look at your map and use your tools (skills in recognition
    of topographic features, compass, GPS, phone) to figure out where you are.

    If you can't do that for some reason, then:

    studies of lost person behavior show that you are going to choose one
    of these strategies:

    Trail Running
    Random Travelling
    Route Travelling
    Direction Travelling
    Route Sampling
    Direction Sampling
    View Enhacing
    Backtracking
    Using Folk wisdom (ie following a stream down)
    Staying Put.

    They have specific definitions of each of these, but you get the gist.

    Researchers of lost person behavior believe that Backtracking is
    probably the most successful strategy. SAR personnel recommend
    staying put, as that gives them the best chance to be most successful,
    especially if you are within the corridor of your plans. (You did leave
    plans, right?). However, research shows that lost persons rarely do
    that.

    If none of your strategies work, then it's denial, anger, bargaining,
    depression, acceptance.

    From some of the research:
    http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/~mscgis/12-...logyoflost.pdf

    Told as a fascinating story:
    http://www.smcmsar.org/downloads/Los...20Behavior.pdf

    TLDR:
    http://www.alpine-rescue.org/ikar-ci...n-Behavior.pdf

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