All good things start with a plan and most importantly a map, but anything can happen in the great outdoors, including losing your way.
“So you'd be surprised,” Steve Bossert, co-founder of Undr-Group, said. “It actually happens fairly frequently about a month ago, north of our location where we are today. There were a pair of hikers that got lost and I believe they sent a helicopter with thermal imaging to find them.”
New York state has more than 18 million acres of forest and wildlands. Last year, DEC forest rangers conducted 359 search and rescue missions for lost and injured hikers.
“We're here a few weeks ago,” Bossert said. “There was a trail bike rider and three runners with them and they got lost and we knew where we were. So we were able to help them figure out how to get back to where they parked the car. So it does happen, though. It's a very well maintained and well-marked trail. It's easy for people to get lost no matter where.”
Bossert is the co-founder of Ulster & Northern Dutchess Readiness Group, which helps travelers adventure safely.
“Throw ropes up into the trees to hoist up some antennas and connect those to our radios. And with that we can talk across the United States, Canada and even as far as Australia,” he said.
For your backpack, you want to load it up with batteries, flashlights, and more.
“If you do get lost, something that I like to carry with me is trail marker tape,” he said. “Go someplace and you get lost. You can type some of this off on a tree just so you have a point of reference, but always carry some length of rope with you. This is a hundred foot. You never know when this could come in handy.”
A compass, even an inexpensive multi-tool, is helpful, and a rope. IN fact, the DEC recommends for a daypack that you take at least 500 feet of cord with you.
“You never know when it's going to come in handy,” he said. So you need to make a temporary shelter or lift a branch or something out of the way for where you are. Maybe if you fall down a steep incline, this is a way that you can help get yourself out.”
Now here’s what to do if you need to call for help and you’re unable to reach 911 or DEC dispatch. That is when having a radio is key.
Bossert says to opt for an amateur radio versus a traditional walkie talkie.
Also, whether you’re hiking along or with a furry friend, Bossert says the most important tip is always let someone know where you’re going before you walk out the door.