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Backpacker Magazine – October 2006

Lost: True Tales of Wilderness Treks Gone Desperately Wrong

From snowblindness to wrong turns, everyday wilderness adventures can turn ugly if you're not prepared for everything.

by: Jim Gorman


EXPERT ADVICE

1. Pack for anything
"There is no such thing as being over-prepared," says Davis. While Voll's supplies would have seen her through an unexpected night outdoors, she obviously didn't expect to get lost on a short nature trail; hence, no compass.

2. See the forest
"Her main navigation error was being oblivious to her surroundings," says Davis. "This is a common error that birdwatchers, mushroom pickers, and berry pickers make." Map your bird sightings or berry patches as you go, incorporating your hobby into sound navigation. 3. Plan your escape
"Before starting, Voll should have picked a safety bearing - a general direction that you'll travel if you become lost," says Hill. For any hike, it should be a direction that will lead you to a sure escape route.

4. Make an investment
"With a $6 topo, $125 GPS, and some simple skills, she could have pinpointed her location within a few yards," says Speik. Crack open the wallet if off-trail travel is in your future.

5. Don't trust luck
"Voll's decision to travel a particular–apparently arbitrary–direction is not the most effective strategy for becoming unlost," says Hill. "Fortunately, it worked."



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