Lost in the Wilderness

For my 501st blog post, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you that read and follow my blog.

It’s my hope you find my outdoor adventures entertaining. And, the narrative and photos provide an incentive for you to hit the trails in the Pacific Northwest too.

One question I am often asked is do I ever get lost. The answer is – – – yes, but usually not for long.

Sooner or later anyone that hikes in the wilderness will become lost. By becoming lost I mean not knowing exactly where the nearest known trail or road is.

A good lesson to remember is to assume you will get lost sometime, and to be prepared in case you do.

In my last blog I described bushwhacking off-trail for 4 1/2 hours on Mt. Hood.  You might ask – – – how was I prepared?

The following are the things I do to prepare:

  1. Someone always knows where I am hiking, where the trailhead is and roughly when I should return,
  2. I carry a satellite-location beacon,
  3. I carry the 10 hiking essentials plus topo maps of the area, a GPS (the trailhead is always put in as a waypoint) and a cellphone (assume it won’t pick up a signal in the wilderness),
  4. I carry survival gear, rain-gear, trail-mix, gloves, handgun and plenty of water in the daypack,
  5. I wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts (protect yourself from cold, sunburn, bugs and scrapes),
  6. I don’t panic when finding myself lost – – – I stay calm, put the waypoint of my current location in the GPS, make a plan, and move carefully and deliberately,
  7. I trust my instincts and try never to take unnecessary chances – – – if you become injured while lost, your survival probability goes way down.

I suspect many readers of my blog posts have their own methods and gear to deal with becoming lost. I would be very interested in your suggestions and thoughts too.

Happy trails!

Mt. Hood's Timberline Trail on Gnarl Ridge

Mt. Hood’s Timberline Trail on Gnarl Ridge

Categories: Oregon Cascades Hikes, Personal ReflectionsTags: , , , , ,


  1. Good advice John
    I would add, be aware of your surroundings, look for landmarks, check your direction of travel frequently.

  2. Good information, I will share with my hiking friends.
    God Bless

    Ed Lyon
    Community Director, FCA Ventura County
    P.O. Box 6033, Ventura, CA 93006

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    FCA UCLA Sports Camp

    For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Mathew 6:21
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