Posted by: jakinnan | January 8, 2012


>> Conquer fear.
Don’t let the onset of darkness cause you to panic. Hysteria drives lost hikers to keep moving (getting more lost) and boosts heart rate and muscle tension. Both responses compound stress. Try belly breathing to relax: Lie down on your back and place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Inhale through your nose, expanding your belly, and hold it for seven seconds before exhaling through your mouth. Repeat for up to 10 breaths.

>> Prioritize water. Dehydration undermines decision-making and endurance, and three days is your survival limit without fluids. If your supply is scant, look for a water source. If it’s plen- tiful but you have no way to purify it, collect the clearest water you can find. It’s better to stay hydrated than hold out for purification; most water-borne illness won’t strike for weeks, and by then, odds are you’ll be close to medical care.

>> Build a shelter. Settle on a suitable location—near water, but high enough to avoid potential flooding and cold-air inversions that settle into depressions. Fashion a modified lean-to (see Illustration above): Gather materials (body-length sticks, saplings, and bits of bark, moss, or leaves) anidentify a fallen log or upturned root ball that will act as your shel- ter’s support. Pile dry boughs to create an insulating bed beside the log and lean 5- to 8-foot branches against it, above the bed and approximately one foot apart. Interlace them with saplings to form a slanted roof, and cover the frame- work with leaves or bark to form a water-resistant surface. The structure should be just big enough for you to wiggle into without knocking it down.

-Backpacker Magazine

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