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SURVIVE THIS! by josh pi v en OD


Separation Anxiety? When you’ve lost your way on the trail, stay calm and act quickly.


POTENTIAL EMERGENCY:


You’re hiking in the wilderness, and three hours into the journey you’ve become hopelessly lost. Then you realize you’ve dropped your map somewhere along the way. What do you do?


SOLUTION: You did at least remember to drop bread crumbs along the trail, right?


IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, much of wilder- ness survival is about what you’ve done before becoming lost—not what you do after the fact. So, before you laced up the hiking boots you, of course, remembered: fNot to hike alone. fTo tell someone where you’re hiking, when you’re leaving, and what time you’ll be back.


fTo stay on marked trails. fTo pack plenty of water and warm clothes.


fTo bring a compass. fTo bring lots of matches (in a waterproof bag) or two lighters.


fTo bring a whistle (sound from a whistle travels farther than a human voice).


fTo carry a map (well, at least you were carrying one). If you’ve followed all those tips,


you’ll likely be found. So stay put and wait for rescue. In other words, as The Boy Scout Handbook puts it, STOP: Stay calm, Think, Observe, and Plan. But what if you’ve made mistakes?


You followed a false trail and can’t find your way back. Your canteen had


64 SCOUTING ¿ SEPTEMBER•OCTOBER 2010


a slow leak. You packed a meat ther- mometer instead of a compass. Well, now it’s time to signal for rescue. And that means moving.


FIRST, DETERMINE YOUR GENERAL direction of travel. Though the meth- od’s not perfect and can be difficult depending on weather conditions, use the movement of the sun across the sky to determine compass posi- tions. Don’t bother with the tired “moss only grows on the north sides of trees” technique; this won’t work. Begin traveling in the general


direction you’ve come from. As you walk, turn over leaves and branches, or use cairns (stacks of rocks) to mark


your trail, so that you don’t double back. Don’t split up from your buddy or your group; stay together. Next, move to higher ground. This


will allow you to view the surround- ing terrain and help you spot critical landmarks: roads, bridges, rivers, shop- ping malls. Further, you’ll need to build a signal fire, and smoke coming from a hilltop won’t dissipate as much as smoke from a valley before it’s spotted. Find a small clearing and carefully build a fire—the smokier the better. Use dry wood first to get the


flames going. Then slowly add damp leaves or grass to create smoke. Keep the fire going all the time. If a spotter


FRANK STOCKTON


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