Emergency Prep & Outdoor Survival
Getting lost in the backcountry is easier than you may think. Snowmobilers have even been known to get turned around on their own properties, and fair enough - when you’re feeling adventurous out there blazing trails and laying down tracks with your sled, it can be pretty thrilling and distracting. Before you know it, several hours will have gone by since you first left the trail. The point is, you could be riding with a group or be out all by yourself when you look up and realize that you’re lost. If this happens to you, just remember to ‘S.T.O.P.’:
STOP: Stop as soon as you realize that:
- You’re separated from your group.
- You’re lost.
- You’re in any kind of trouble.
THINK: Think things over carefully. How did you get to where you are? What landmarks did you notice passing? What time is it and how many hours do you have before full dark? Try to determine your location using your map and compass. Sit down to think it out and to help calm your nerves.
OBSERVE: Observe your location and do any inventory of your gear and supplies. Do you have something to signal for help and make noise with? Do you have food and water? Move to a location where you can see and be seen better but make sure you mark the spot where you first realized you were lost. From the marked spot, cautiously travel outwards, marking trees by breaking branches or by leaving brightly-colored tape so you can begin finding your way back. If you discover a trail or road, ALWAYS stay on it.
PLAN: Plan ahead and prepare a shelter. If night is creeping up and you’re still lost, or too far away to make it back to camp before dark, accept that you’ll be spending the night under the stars. Make a fire and a shelter that will help keep you warm and dry and don’t go wandering or driving in the dark.