Many of you out there love the outdoors, just like I do. So during the spring, summer, or autumn season we all strap on our hiking boots and grab our camping bags for a trip under the stars and mountains. For those of us who know our way around the earth and around nature we have no problem with getting ourselves out of a rough patch when we come to one. However, there are those who have no clue what they are doing and they are novices to the outdoors, which leads them to getting lost and confused about where they are at and then things start to turn bad.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to proceed into the great unknown that is Mother Earth, then there are things that you must know if you wish to go camping or hiking, even if it is just for a day or night. Please, read this, print this, take this with you; because I can guarantee you that you will need it when you encounter such situations.
1. Getting lost. This one is the major one that I will be talking about because novices always get lost and then things start to go awry. When you get lost and your map is not helping you at all, let me tell you this…please do not panic! That is the last thing you want to do. When you panic, you end up creating the worst scenarios in your brain, then when that happens you end up running around in circles screaming as if you were a chicken with its head cut off. So please do not panic. What you need to do is calm your ass down (sorry, but this is the only way I will get your attention), assess the situation and start to look around for signs. Trying to figure out where you are while being anxious is the worst thing in the world, so please for the love of god, calm down. If you are near a river or stream, assess it, grab a drink (with a filtered bottle), and then proceed north of the river or stream. This will lead you back to civilization.
2. Make shelter. This one correlates with the first one. If you are lost in the forest, mountains, any region where you cannot reach civilization, the first thing you need to do is create shelter before night falls. You can make a make-shift tent with branches, broken trees (skinny ones), twigs and tie them together with either rope or some other material that you have brought along with you. More often than not, you can always find earth based material throughout the forest to help tie the branches together. Once you have created shelter, then you can go about and gather logs for your fire for the night.
3. Find food. Now, on this one it might be tricky for a lot of you, especially if you’ve never fished, hunted or have never studied plants. Making a make-shift spear will be great for when you go fishing in the river or lake, because once you have locked onto a fish that you wish to capture, throw that spear into it. With much larger animals, what you need to do is be very quiet and try not to startle the animal (now, I’ve never hunted because I don’t like to, but I know how to fish and know my way around the plants).
4. Burn baby burn. Fire, the best thing in the world. Not only does it keep you warm throughout the night and heat up your clothes when they have become wet, but it is also an excellent source of communication. Smoke signals are the best thing that you can use to attract the rangers attention and that way they can find you at your location. Granted, it would be nice if you knew any of the smoke signal codes, but if you don’t it is okay, just the signal alone will alert the rangers to come your way.
5. Be prepared. Now with this, you can’t be prepared to get lost. No one ever thinks that they will get lost, but in the event if you do become lost there are a few things that you need to have on you at all times. Wallet – you must keep your wallet on you at all times. Keep in your backpack in one of the zipped pockets, so that the rangers or whoever can identify you if things have gone horribly wrong (not saying that they will, but there is a possibility). Medications –If you are one of those people who are medications and you need to take them everyday, please take it with you. Your asthma inhaler will help you when you are hyperventilating and having a hard time breathing. And if you are diabetic, please keep your insulin and glucose monitor with you at all times. You don’t want to go into some diabetic coma because you forgot your insulin. Snacks – Granola bars, nuts, perishable items that won’t go moldy within a couple of days will help you. Yes, they are the worst things in the world (i.e. chips, jerky, etc. ) but you will be thankful that you had them in the first place when you are starving and wishing you had some hamburger or big salad. Water filter bottle- You can obtain these at your local stores, more likely at a camping gear store. Having one of these will help you in the long run when you are needing something to drink and all you have is some water that is holding feces from fish and other animals, and whatever chemicals that mankind has dumped into it (sorry, but our corporations are ignorant and they don’t realize what the hell they are doing). So it is best that you keep this with you at all times. Compass – This magnificent object is and will always be your best friend. When you are trying to find North and trying to go upstream this little guy will help you out. Baby it’s cold outside- not really, but you get the point. You never know what the weather will be like. One minute it can be bright and sunny, then all of a sudden it is raining so hard that you have to take shelter in a cave. Bring a jacket, I don’t care if it adds more weight to your pack., you will be lucky that you had it once it started to rain or even snow.
6. Talking body love. Sorry about the title to this one, I really enjoy the song. But when you are about to go on a trip, to anywhere in the world, you need to communicate. Tell a friend, relative, coworker; whoever it may be, tell them where you are going and how long you will be there. Let them know that when you expect to be back, and if something were to go wrong, to send people out that way so that you could be found. Look, I am not the first person to admit this, but I love going on trips and camping on my own, but for most people they cringe at the sight because I am a single woman in my mid-20’s and they see the world as something completely dangerous. Hell, I have more of a chance to be killed in a city than I will be killed by a mountain lion. But nevertheless, I let a coworker, friend or a relative know where I am going that way they can do what they need to do in case of emergencies.
7. Aw, I want to pet the pretty bear. No! Do not go near any wild animals that are ten times bigger than you and that are clearly dangerous. If you see a bear, there are several different ways to approach this. Slowly retreat, do not run! If you think you can outrun a bear, then you are sadly mistaken, because even though bears looks big and fat, they have the ability to out run you and have you for dinner. So the best thing to do is just to slowly retreat without it even detecting you doing so. If you are able to, climb a tree. And if you do climb, climb up very high to the point where the bear cannot even reach you. Now with this next solution, I don’t like it because it can cause much damage to the bear, but if you happen to have a pepper spray can on you, let the bear get close enough to you to where you can use the pepper spray and while it is disoriented, then you can make your escape. If it is a grizzly bear that you have encountered, then you might want to be prepared and have your backpack on. Grizzly bears are the most defensive type of bears (black bears being more timid than most), you will want to be on the ground in the fetal position with the backpack facing up towards the bear. The grizzly bear will see you as non-threatening, but there will be a chance of the bear trying to jump up and down on you, so the backpack will give you some protection from that. After the attack, do not, I repeat do not get up so fast, wait a few minutes after the bear has left and then you can proceed to get out of the area before anything else occurs.
Now, all of you who have been doing this for some years now, you should know by now what to do and what not to do, so this doesn’t fully apply to you. But it is here for you to reread. For all of you novices, please read this and then reread it, getting lost is not the greatest thing in the world for anyone. But if you don’t know what you are doing then please don’t go hiking or camping, unless you bring a buddy with you.
Happy camping and hiking everyone, hope you all enjoy the spectacular views that mother earth has to offer.