Don’t panic: 5 things to do when you’re lost in the woods

March 30, 2018

If you’ve never been lost in the woods during a military surplus tent camping adventure, then you have no idea what true terror is. The fact of the matter is that it could happen to any of us. Patrick F. McManus, world renowned humorist and outdoorsman has developed a satirist method of dealing with being lost. He developed the theory of Modified Stationary Panic, or MSP.

According to the theory of MSP, if you are suddenly confronted with the fact that you are lost in the woods with no one else around, it is ridiculous to expect you to regard the situation with icy calm. Oh no! Immediately you will get this big surge of adrenaline dumped into your gut, and you have to do something with that, and you are going to panic like it or not. This is where the Modified Stationary Panic comes in. McManus recommends that you run in place for several minutes, stopping in between cycles to do jumping jacks and yell incoherently, followed by more instances of running in place. This is to take the place of the more common practice of running shrieking through the woods bouncing off of trees and rocks, and getting more lost as you go, until you have injured yourself or jumped off of a cliff. Though this is presented tongue in cheek, there is some wisdom to this train of thought. Here are some things you can do when you are lost.

• Stay put. The first reaction to being lost is to get unlost. The problem is that if you are lost you don’t know where you are, and usually end up getting more lost by trying to get unlost… kind of a vicious circle you see? Stay put, and you can plan your exit strategy from your PORTYAL which is an acronym for Point Of Realizing That Your Ass’s Lost.

• Gather resources. Being lost CAN be as much fun as going camping if you go into it with the right mindset. And you may as well plan to be there a while. Start by building a shelter and gathering wood for a fire. Water and food are necessary, but not right now.

• Build that fire. The fire does many things. It offers warmth and protection, a place to cook food, and a signal for any search parties that may be looking for you. But, more importantly, fire offers companionship. It is a living breathing entity, completely devoted to the whims of its maker and it can make a lonely night bearable and even cheerful.

• Plan an exit strategy. Hopefully you will have some knowledge of the general area that you are in. Meditate and try to remember the land layout and determine where the best avenues are of rescue are. Are there power or telephone lines? Plink those power lines. Being mindful of getting yourself electrocuted or starting a fire, determine if there is some way that you can disrupt those lines which cause servicemen to respond to the damage for repair. Any utility disruption should bring repair workers fairly quickly

• Never give up. Bear in mind that you only need four things to live, and that is shelter, water, fire, and food. Lots of other creatures live in the wilderness indefinitely without the benefit of a human mind or opposable thumbs. There’s no reason that you can’t too. Learning some survival skills is a great way to prepare for that day. So do it now so you don’t have to struggle if the time comes.

Please Wait... processing