Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lost so staying the night? Set your priorities

If you are lost or a member of your party suffers a serious injury, you may be forced to stay the night in the wilds.

When that occurs, you must go into survival mode. But there’s no need to panic. In fact, if you keep a calm head, you’ll likely get out of it just fine, albeit a little tired and famished. After all, if you prepared properly, you’ve left plenty of clues about where you are, so a rescue crew will be there in a day or two at worse.

What you should do first when forced to stay the night depends on the situation. Shelter is primary if the weather is rainy or windy. If the day is clear and darkness is setting in, building a fire takes precedence. If a number of you are in the party, you can split duties. As some begin building a shelter, others can gather lots of dry fuel, such as tinder, bark and small branches, for starting a campfire.

Once done with this, begin conserving your energy. In addition, take care not to get wet and stay out of the wind so you do not get chilled.

Read more about day hiking with children in the guidebook Hikes with Tykes.