Don’t Get Lost

I read a story about a man getting lost in California while he was on a fishing trip and it reminded me about a couple I encountered the other day. I was out picking blueberries with friends in a very popular location.  We were talking and picking and then we heard someone yell, “HELLO!”.  We yelled back and in response we heard a man say, “Thank God, we were lost.”

We couldn’t see the man and didn’t see him until about twenty to thirty minutes later.  During this time we kept yelling to him so he could use our voices to figure out which way the road was. We were done picking but waited for him and his wife to get out to the road before we left. They emerged from the woods grateful, sweaty and disheveled.  He said he wouldn’t have known what to do if we hadn’t been there.

When they saw our buckets of blueberries they asked in astonishment, “Did you pick those right here by the road?” We answered, “Yes.” and then he said to both us and his wife, “Well, now we’ll know we don’t have to go in so far tomorrow.” To this his wife replied, “I won’t be going blueberry picking tomorrow.”

Thankfully this story had a happy ending.  It’s easy to get turned around in the woods especially since all of the trees and brush are about 10-12 feet tall. It’s very thick in places with tall grass hiding rocks, holes, downed timber and burned stumps. In one of the places I went picking I took flagging ribbon around to mark my path so I couldn’t get lost.

This reminded me of another story. A long time ago when Mike’s cousin Sheri was very young we went out hiking. I put her in charge of tying the flagging ribbon onto the trees while I attempted to locate/make my own trail to a destination I wanted to reach. The instructions I gave her were simple, “Just make sure you can see the last ribbon from where you tie the next ribbon.”

After awhile of bushwhacking I finally gave up and decided it was time to turn back the way we came. When I looked for the flagging I couldn’t see any in sight. I asked Sheri where the ribbon was and she said, “I ran out a long time ago.”

I think about that now and think it is so funny. On that particular day however I didn’t think it was funny. I was responsible for her and an employee I brought along on the expedition and I had no clue where to go. We eventually made it back to civilization exhausted and me soaking wet from a swim I had to do to in order to get someone to go back to get them with a boat.

Both of these stories had a happy ending but could just as easily not have been.  Try to keep the odds in your favor when you’re out in the woods and bring along a compass, map, whistle, flagging ribbon, gps, cell phone, sun dial or whatever else will help you from staying lost.

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Posted in personal stories, skills

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