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Buffalo Hiking Club Message Board › Lost in the Woods and Help Me Make it Through the Night

Lost in the Woods and Help Me Make it Through the Night

Group Organizer
Buffalo, NY
Post #: 161
NYS DEC Forest Rangers rescue about 200 people every year. One would think that by now they would have some advice for people venturing into the woods. And they do, on the DEC website:

Lost in the woods – advice from the NYS DEC Forest Rangers

And this article, appearing in the April 2012 issue of the Conservationists, in which the author notes that the three most dangerous words uttered by outdoor adventurers are "I am just..."

…going for a day hike/ going to run ahead/ going to scout for deer sign/ going to do some fishing at the lake. These simple words can quickly lead to trouble, landing you in a dangerous situation where Mother Nature tests you and even threatens your life.

According to wilderness safety expert Peter Kummerfeldt, those three words "I am just…" are the most dangerous words uttered in the outdoors.

According to Kummerfeldt, "Survival is the ability and desire to stay alive, all alone, under adverse conditions, until rescued. Those who are prepared will usually survive an emergency, while those who are not, probably won't." Preparation and the ability to save yourself are two of the most important topics taught in Peter's class.

It may seem obvious, but Peter emphasizes that you have a much better chance of survival if you simply prepare beforehand. He explains how a few simple rules and essential pieces of survival gear can turn a life-threatening situation into a survivable (and even somewhat comfortable) night in the woods.

Rule number one is to carry a survival kit with you at all times. A survival kit does no good if it is in your vehicle at the trailhead or in your pack back at your campsite while you are exploring. You should also make sure your kit is lightweight and compact (see pg. 23 for survival kit contents.). If it is heavy and bulky, you are more likely to leave it behind. If you don't always carry a pack, buy or make a carry case for the survival kit to attach to your belt.

Another important tip is to always let someone know about your plans. No one is going to look for you unless they know you are missing, so leave a detailed trip plan with someone reliable every time you head out to hike, hunt, camp, fish, bike, etc. The trip plan should include detailed information on your planned route (give GPS coordinates if you know them), possible side trips you might take, date and time you will be returning, who is going with you, the make, color and plate number of your vehicle, the color of your tent, and your cell phone number. Ask that person to check that you got home safely when you said you would. And by all means, if you do get into trouble, stay put! Search and rescue becomes much more difficult if you stray from your planned itinerary.

Full Article can be read here: Help Me Make it Through the Night -- Surviving a wilderness emergency
A former member
Post #: 1
I have used a reliable 2 way radio while hiking with my husband. I also leave 1 unit in my car when hiking alone, carrying the 2nd unit with me.
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