Safety. Navigation. Don't Get Lost ...
Preparation is the key. You can become distracted for a short time, and before you know it, you haven't a clue where you are!
While you're immersed in the beautiful scenery and features, you may neglect to keep an eye on exactly where you are going, and this can lead to problems. If you are on a well trodden trail, this may not be to much of a worry. But even on established tracks you can still become disoriented and end up in trouble.. You might stray of the trail to get a closer look at some wildlife, or think you have found a short cut.
Keeping aware of your surroundings is the best course to take. Plan before your trek and keep track of where you are, where you are headed to and where you have just come from.. Where are you placed with regard to your surroundings? Keep an eye out for landmarks. Where is South? What position is the sun in?
Tale some time to examine a planned trail, where it starts, where it will take you, and know where the trail diversifies and the general route you will be led upon.
Keep aware as you are walking along, watch out for sidetracks and turn offs. If you are coming back the way you came it can be confusing unless you take note of these features.
Keep aware. When you are lost, just following a trail isn't necessarily going to take you back to civilization! They weren't designed for that. This can be the worst course of action, just tramping along hoping the trail will lead you where you want to go.
There is always that nagging insecure feeling when you are about to lose your way. This is just the time to stop and work out where you are before it gets worse. Don't carry on regardless hoping for the best, stop and revue your situation before you get into real trouble.
Run through in your mind the route you have taken, look around for landmarks and the position of the sun. It's difficult to turn around and go back the way you came, but this is just the thing to do until you recognize a feature and know where you are again. But only if you are sure of the route back, if you're not so sure, it's better to stay where you are and put your thinking cap on. Take the time to revue the trail lyouhave followed up to this point. Work out how many miles and what length each trail was. Refresh your mind of any landmarks you past and what time. While it's fresh in your mind, this is the time to do it.
Based on everything you remember, make the best estimate of the way back. Keep note of your current position and mark it. Set of on your way and mark it as you go with anything at hand, rocks or small branches. If then you don't reach a point that you recognize, then try a different direction.
A simple pencil and paper could be the difference between getting lost and hiking with confidence. Note taking is a bit more dependable than our memories sometimes. Keep notes of features, mountains, rivers, turn offs, and the position of the sun. Keep a record of how long it takes you to reach certain points.
While a compass is obviously the best tool, you need to use it with care. It's only of any use if you already have a good idea of where you are already and the point you need to get to. There are a few things that can render the compass useless. Electric cables, iron-ore outcrops, even a buckle on your belt, let alone cars and trucks. A quality compass will be of more use to you than a budget one.
A topographical map is the best kind to bring. This will show the layout of the area in great detail including landmarks. You can most probably obtain a map in a store in the park, if it is a National Park.
As long as you use it along the way, GPS is a great help, but even that is no use if you don't use it before you get lost. Note landmarks as you go along, including where you started. In this way you'll have an electronic route back to the place you started. You can't trust GPS 100%. The batteries could run out of juice, and signals can be to weak or obscured. Staying aware and keeping track yourself is still necessary.
Avoiding getting lost is simply a matter of knowing where you started from, and where you intend to end up. With a little foresight and awareness, you won't end up in that frightening situation where you ‘re lost in a completely strange and remote area.