I have heard people tell others to, "Get lost!" in a joking manner. But when I saw a news release from the Minnesota DNR that was about how not to get lost it made me start to think. What if I want to get lost in the woods? Should I just do the opposite of what this list says?
A recent news story about a missing kayaker on Lake Superior makes me think he maybe wanted to get lost. I do not mean any disrespect to the family of this missing person but I do wonder about the circumstances around his disappearance. A kayak was found on October 20 in between Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls. The serial number led to a store in Milwaukee, WI but not to the person who purchased the kayak. A day or so later a life jacket with a prescription pill bottle in the pocket was found. This helped determine who the life vest belonged to.
In the meantime an abandoned vehicle with the keys left in it was found at Cove Point Lodge. The vehicle was determined to be owned by Doug Winter, a school teacher and avid kayaker from Milwaukee, WI. He checked into the Cove Point Lodge on the evening of Sunday, October 18th but has not been seen since. The last anyone had heard from him was on Monday, October 19th, when he called a friend to say he was on Lake Superior, 2-3 miles out, couldn’t see land and the waves were getting bigger.
An experienced kayaker would not have been on Lake Superior after days of a Northeast wind according to a comment in a Fox 21 article. "Most are baffled that Winter, who was no stranger to Lake Superior, would have been on the water at that time. That’s because, for the last 11 days, the wind on the lake has blown in from the northeast. That’s commonly known as the most dangerous kind of wind on Lake Superior." Experienced or not most kayakers wouldn’t think about paddling so far away from shore while solo kayaking in October on Lake Superior. I’m curious if a cell phone would even work from that location and wondering if maybe this individual wanted to get lost.
One of the many mysteries of Lake Superior that may never be solved. So, if you want to get lost or if you don’t want to get lost then follow the guidelines by the MN DNR.
DNR offers survival tips for lost hunters
(Released November 2, 2009)
Even experience hunters can get lost, so people should be prepared for that possibility before heading out for their hunt, according to Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Education Program coordinator.
“Survival is an attitude, but you need to be able to think clearly for that to happen,” Hammer noted.
Hammer offered tips for those heading outdoors.
TELL PEOPLE WERE YOU ARE GOING
Always let someone know where you will be going and when you plan to return. Be aware of changing weather conditions. Plan to be out of the woods before a storm changes familiar surroundings into something no longer recognizable.
HAVE A SURVIVAL PLAN
Being lost in the woods does not have to be life threatening. Plan for the possibility by bringing matches in a waterproof container, a compass, a knife, a small candle, a whistle, a pocket survival blanket, high-energy snacks and a water container. A person can survive up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water. These life-saving items can be carried in one small fanny pack.
ADMIT YOU’RE LOST
If you get lost, don’t pretend otherwise. Admitting you’re lost is critical. A person who continues to assume that they will find a familiar landmark over the next hill or around the next comer will just heighten their sense of panic if that doesn’t happen. Panic could cause a person to discard clothing or hide from would-be rescuers.
STAY WHERE YOU ARE
Plan to stay in one spot until rescued. Find a good spot to use as shelter. There should be shelter materials, water and firewood nearby. A natural shelter such as a cave or rock overhang is great, but sometimes a large downed tree, a boulder, cliff base or rack wall will do. Gather wood and start a fire for warmth, companionship and as a signal for searchers. Build a shelter with the top closest to the fire to reflect heat, but safely away from sparks and smoke. Use sticks, branches and pine boughs if available. Gather plenty of firewood. It will take about one hour to build a fire and up to three hours to build a shelter, depending on materials available.
Hypothermia is the main factor in making bad decisions outdoors. Stay dry to improve the chance of staying warm. Keep the head and neck warm and dry to retain body heat. If the blood gets cooled due to lack of head and neck protection, the body core is cooled and hypothermia can set in. A person’s ability to think clearly can be affected by even one degree of core temperature loss.