Exploring the wilderness can be one of the most relaxing, awe-inspiring, and fun things a person can do. At the same time, it can also be a scary experience if you don’t know what you’re doing, as an experienced hiker and captain Jako Hall explains.
A wrong move here and there, and you can quickly find yourself lost or out of sorts. While the wilderness is a great place to explore, it can also be extremely dangerous.
Here are some tips on how you can avoid getting lost when you’re exploring the wilderness.
Tip #1. Study the Trip
Preparation is a huge part of how to avoid getting lost exploring the wilderness. Before you ever depart, you should study maps, online guides, and anything else you can get your hands on so you can be as knowledgeable about the trip you’re about to take.
This goes for any trip you’re going on, whether it be a hike, a boating trip, or a hunting trip. The more knowledge you can gain before you venture out, the more prepared you’ll be when you’re actually out in nature.
Tip #2. Stick to a Path
If you wouldn’t consider yourself to be experienced navigating the great outdoors, then it’s always best to stick to an established path when you’re exploring the wilderness. There are many trails that others have created that you can follow and still enjoy nature at its finest.
If you do decide to venture off that trail, make sure to identify specific markers along your way that you can easily follow back. Make these markers something very unique — not just a tree that’s bigger than all the others around it.
Also, make sure to constantly assess your situation when you’re off-trail. Stop every so often to turn around and visibly identify your path back. This will keep you within a distance of the trail at all times.
Tip #3. Always Stay Calm
The wilderness is so vast that it can be very easy to lose your sense of direction. Much of the landscape can look the same, and if you’re not paying close attention at all times, you can easily find yourself a little lost.
If this happens to you, the most important thing is to always remain calm. When you panic, it can be very easy to start making incorrect decisions that can get you in worse trouble than you already think you are.
Jako Hall says the best thing to do is to follow the acronym S.T.O.P.
- Stop moving. Wandering around will get you even more lost than you are.
- Think objectively. This will allow you to assess your situation with a clear mind.
- Observe surroundings. See if there are immediate risks to your well-being and see if you can use resources.
- Plan. After you’ve scanned everything, come up with a plan for how you’re going to get back. This might include an unplanned overnight stay if it’s getting too dark.
About Jako Hall
Captain Jako Hall is an experienced mariner and a former naval officer known for his strong work ethic and ability to lead and motivate crews. He pursued Maritime Studies at the University of Technology in Cape Town and has received the highest level of training in Navigation and Seamanship during his years in the Navy. After 13 distinguished years in the Navy, Jako joined the superyacht industry, following his passion for creating unique and exclusive experiences for high-net-worth clients. He’s managed multi-million euro projects that required attention to detail and efficiency and has a proven track record of operating at sea in remote and unsupported areas.