This answer may affect your outlook on the fears of being lost in the wilderness.
Yes, constantly being aware of your suroundings is the opposite of being lost.
Sounds obvious enough, but I had never given this any thought when I first started hiking.
Think about it….distractions on the trail, even on a well planned adventure, very easily cause us to lose our bearings.
When I first became a member of Search & Rescue, the first run of callouts that we had received for lost persons in the wilderness were mushroom hunters.
I thought we would only be looking for lost hikers, and lost backpackers, that somehow miscalculated their routes and became lost. I thought that’s really the only type of lost persons in the wilderness that SAR went out to look for.
So why were all these mushroom hunters getting lost?
It makes sense now. They get distracted.
They tend to lose awareness, since they are following these amazing patches of mushrooms for hours, until darkness falls and they suddenly realize they are no longer aware of where they are.
Even though we all may plan our adventures well, constant distraction can lead us to lose our bearings, which only gets worse as the minutes tick by.
So I add this concept of awareness to my evergrowing list of 10+ essentials, and I now actually consider this a wilderness skill.
There are amazing vistas, photo ops, caves, and interesting side trails that constantly distract us. They may lead us away from our planned route, and in some cases, allow us to lose track of where we are.
So next time you head out on an adventure, you may also want to consider adding awareness to your wilderness skills, if you don’t do this already.
Do this by periodically quizzing yourself of your current location on your map, especially when chasing that photo op or exploring an interesting side trail.