VIDEO: Lost!

8:13 p.m. on January 18, 2012 (EST)
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I got lost on a day hike.   The trail I was following ran out and I realized I had gotten onto a game trail.  It was a minor setback to an otherwise lovely walk.

No matter your skill level, when you find yourself in the woods alone and you don't know where you are....... it helps you find out what your made of real fast.

8:55 p.m. on January 18, 2012 (EST)
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Good video.

I actually got a chuckle out of this one. Ya know, its sometimes "mystifying" how easily it is for one to get off track even in areas that are somewhat familiar. 

All of the trees look the same, the animal trails can look like footpaths, etc.

I have found myself in this very situation on more than one occasion when I decide to go off trail to make up time. 

The shortest distance from point A to point B is a straight line or "as the crow flies" right? 

...not always. 

Keeping ones wits(calm) is very sound advice. Making a decision based on impulse can lead to making a bad situation worse. 

Good stuff as always Arson. 

Thanks for sharing. 

7:47 a.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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that was fun, thanks ....somewhat of a "Survivorman” feel to it. What kind of camera did you use?

8:25 a.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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Patman said:


that was fun, thanks ....somewhat of a "Survivorman” feel to it. What kind of camera did you use?

 It' a Sony Handycam SX63.  I like it because for $200 you get a good camera without HD.  My computer converts my videos to HD, so I can save money on a camera by not getting one with HD.  Good audio, and I can flip the viewfinder around to make sure I'm in frame.

10:00 a.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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Great video, Arson. I really like the point where you are priming the alch stove and pause when first heard the deer, I know that exact reaction :) 

11:37 a.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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gonzan said:

Great video, Arson. I really like the point where you are priming the alch stove and pause when first heard the deer, I know that exact reaction :) 

 You nailed it....

3:25 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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Great Video Arson and the reminder anyone can get turned around on a hike .I also liked how you went thru the extra items you brought with you because of the weather and stayed calm.. Great job..

6:14 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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Nice video, and beside where's the adventure in an event-less trip?

Maybe your friend mapped the game trail too, and you were actually right on course, haha.

Two questions if you don't mind:

What kind / type of alchy stove did you have with you & which video editing software do you use?

Thanks, Mike G.

8:22 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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I had a fancy feast stove that I made, and I use apple imovie 09 for all of my editing and music.

8:09 a.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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Since we were talking about my cook kit I thought I'd show you a change I just made to my GSI Minimalist.

2:28 p.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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Speaking of getting lost. While out this weekend i learned its easy to get lost while "following your feet". My buddy was leading and the trail turned leaving him to follow a dried up water run off trail. Luckily i was far enough behind that i was able to catch it lol

3:29 p.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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Yeah, staring at your feet can have other negative effects as well. If you don't pay much visual attention as you go along, both in front and behind, you are not likely to recognize your route later, or if you get turned around. 

8:24 a.m. on February 2, 2012 (EST)
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Good points about staying aware of your surroundings.  I won't make the same mistakes anytime soon.

12:46 p.m. on February 3, 2012 (EST)
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A couple years ago I was on the Tellico River but way down near where it crosses Ballplay road in Monroe cty TN.  I hiked in and spent the night in a vast area of river cane and low water sandy flood plains full of brush and cane.  In the morning I meandered to the bank overlooking the river and started my hike out on a dogleg right turn away from the water.

30 minutes later after hiking what I thought was a straight line out I ended up exactly where I started at the river's edge.  Very weird.  I walked in a big circle.  So I don't belong in the lowlands where everything looks the same and it's too level---give me the mountains!

2:36 a.m. on February 5, 2012 (EST)
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Great role-play, and fabulous archive for the site!  At least once in my life, I not only got lost but got "panicy" where I was seeing paths where there were none, sweating, tensing, and adding up piles of stupid decisions in my mind--learned a lot about "preparation" on that trip!  I like your idea of "stop to make tea," keep a visual on some anchor spot in the distance (the water), don't wait till too late in the day to turn around, and pack well; but, to take it a step further, what would you (or others) suggest to do when it gets so bad you're starting to panic and the sun's about to go down?

Thanks, again, ahead of time, Arson, for the courtesy of a good educational moment!

9:27 a.m. on February 5, 2012 (EST)
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Bunion said:

..what would you (or others) suggest to do when it gets so bad you're starting to panic and the sun's about to go down?..

Find a place out of the wind before it gets dark.  Gather wood, make a fire, and build a “nest”.  Keep busy, activity lessens the urge to panic.  STAY PUT, at least until next day light.  Wandering around lost in the dark is exhausting, psychologically terrorizing, dangerous, and usually results in getting more lost.  When day light permits the time, you may seek a high point, from which you may see a possible route back to civilization.  Other than that, do not attempt to evacuate unless you have sufficient day light, and recognize landmarks to guide the way.  If you suspect a search and recuse is under way, remain quiet; you will hear a search party before they hear you.  Walk towards any human noises you hear, they are probably not lost!  Lastly always carry gear sufficient to gut out an evening in the open.  If you know the worst outcome is limited to others worrying and you getting a bit chilled, you are less likely to panic and do stupid things.


12:10 p.m. on February 5, 2012 (EST)
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In some circumstances, panic can take you from a less-than-ideal situation to downright dire one. I do some caving from time to time, and if you do not constantly visually catalogue your route, always looking back as you progress, it is VERY easy to get lost. On your return trip a visually catalogued map becomes very important, especially when make a wrong turn, as you invariably will at some point. The urge to panic when you realize you went the wrong direction can be quite strong, resulting in rushing back out of desperation. When acting out of panic it is almost impossible to pay attention to where you are or where you're going, causing you to not even recognize the correct route when you do find it again. 

It is imperative to remain calm, take a deep breath (or twenty), and work your way back systematically to a recognized and known point. Take you time and confirm your decisions before committing to a direction. If you just can't figure it out, making camp, resting, and regrouping later is your best bet. 

It has been a long time since I had a panic inducing experience, and I am glad there were cooler heads present to take the lead and who i was able to learn from. 

1:31 p.m. on February 6, 2012 (EST)
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Long ago, I started a Long Trail thru hike.  Not 2 miles in, I stepped off the trail to visit a tree.  Finished, I looked up, and had no idea where the trail was.  I had no pack, no poles, just bandana and some TP I was packing out. I wandered around in widening circles for an eternity (3 minutes?) before realizing that I was back ON the LT.  Phew.

8:15 a.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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I suppose everyone that has hiked enough has been lost at some point or another.

One that stand out for me was very strange in that I was day hiking in a wildlife management area very close to the city. The place was only 331 acres but full of crisscrossing trails and I lost track of my turns. I became completely disoriented and somehow kept making the perfect wrong turn decisions that prevented me from getting to any outlet.

The whole place had cell coverage but I would have been mortified to call any one…and as the sun started to go down I began looking for somewhere to huddle for the night while trying to decide what I would tell my wife (for some reason the embarrassment bothered me the most). Eventually I ran into another hiker and walked out with him. Later I realized I had come within a tenth of a mile of the parking lot but hadn’t known it.

8:24 a.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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I have made navigation mistakes such as heading over the wrong pass and end up in a dead end hanging valley, instead of being able to reach the intended objective, the valley further below, but these misadventures were normally the result of limited visibility, traveling in the clouds or in a snow storm.  When we realized we were off route, we quickly determined our actual location.

My problem is city streets!  I live in Los Angeles.  As a dyslexic I sometimes screw up translating map book directions to the real world, and head north instead of south, left instead of right.  On bad days I can’t seem to do this right at all, ironic because I am very good with maps in general.  One time I got disoriented coming out of the mountains above Altadena, California.  I stopped, determined my location on the map, then set out again on a corrected route, only to end up lost again.  After four or five attempts, I stopped at two streets:Colorado and Colorado!  The sign did not note which was Colorado Street or Colorado Boulevard.  I knew at this point I was in Pasadena, some distance from where I initially got disoriented, but in the darkness had no idea of compass direction.  Route choice would be random, and in frustration decided to just drive until things looked familiar.  I ended up in Griffith Park– quite a distance – before I realized where I was.  Strange thing is I never have this problem with topo maps.


9:44 a.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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One of my most infuriating "lost" moments was last fall in the Tetons. The problem was that I knew exactly where I was, but the trail just evaporated. I was hiking by moonlight, and was just south of Fox Creek Pass, when all certain evidence of the trail just disappeared. It was perfectly clear with no deviation one moment, and fifty feet further up it just petered out to nothing. First I assumed it must just have  faded a bit, and would reappear if I followed the projected course on the terrain. I quickly came to a small gully, with glacial snow/ice following it down to the west. There were no tracks across the  ice, and no apparent track along the edges. "Well crap.." I thought, and slowly worked my way back looking for evidence of the trail, getting a flashlight out to assist my search. I arrived back a the location where the trail faded without finding any signs of the trail. 

I decided to check uphill to the east, to see if the trail followed higher along the slope, but quickly determined it did not.  At this point I decided I must have followed an errant side trail, so I worked my way back to the last known trail junction a 1/4 mile back, carefully looking for the turnout of the correct trail. I arrived back at the trail crossing without finding any hint of another track. Now I was really starting to get frustrated.

After carefully studying the map and terrain, I conclude that the fading trail was indeed following the correct route exactly (before disappearing), and must be obscured by the ice in the ravine. I once again carefully follow the route, looking for any indication of deviation, but none is found and I reach the fade out again. So I continue, watching carefully as ever, on towards the ice. First I search up the flow, and find no evidence of a crossing, then back down for a couple hundred yards, with no evidence of any crossing.

At this time I weighed my options: do I make camp here and have an extra 2 miles to go tomorrow? Do I keep looking for the trail here? Do I following the terrain, looking for the trail where it has to be further on? I elected to follow, for a ways, where  according to the map the trail should have been. If I didn't find the trail withing half a mile, I would make camp and resume the search in the morning. I followed the ravine and ice flow down, looking for a break in the far side where I could cross and get out the other side.  After going about 250 yards, I see a passable cleft in further down on the far side, and work my way towards it before crossing. Low and behold! The trail re-materializes right in front of me, follows downward, crosses the ice, and continues up through the cleft on the other side.  It was then clear the track must get destroyed every year by the ice creeping down the ravine, and change exact route through the summer as the edge of the ice recedes. 

So in this case, i new I wasn't "lost," but it was quite frustrating to spend an hour looking for the trail, knowing it HAD to be in the vicinity. 

1:18 a.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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As a bit of an aside, I used to work with a soundman who was quite directionally challenged. After a shoot day near Ilwaco on the Washington coast, we decided to head to Long Beach to the north for dinner. In our separate vehicles, the soundman and producer turned south toward Astoria. I thought, "OK, they've decided to drive to Astoria for dinner." Minutes later, I got a call from the producer asking me to tell the soundman, which coast we were on! The ocean is on our right, so we are heading SOUTH not NORTH!

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