Nature and wilderness areas have been given all kinds of pretty names such as Mother Nature, the great outdoors, and other monikers that speak of peace and tranquility. The truth is that nature is neither deliberately dangerous nor peacefully benign. It is indifferent. It has no mind, no conscience, no feelings one way or the other toward those humans who venture into it. This means that nature can, and will, kill you if you are not prepared for what it can throw at you.
Here is a real-life example of how tragedy can occur to even those who think they are prepared for a wilderness adventure.
Geraldine Largay was a 66-year-old woman from Tennessee who vanished in July of 2013. She had been walking the Appalachian Trail and was in Maine when she was last heard from. A huge search of the area proved futile. Then, on October 14th of 2015, her remains were found. According to her autopsy, Geraldine died from a combination of dehydration, starvation, exposure, and exhaustion. This is known as inanition.
Did they find her in the middle of nowhere, laying exposed to the elements? No. Her body was found inside her tent, wrapped up inside her sleeping bag, about one mile from the trail she was supposedly following. It is presumed that she got off the trail and became disorientated, lost, and was not able to make her way back to the trail.
The exact details of what happened to this unfortunate lady will probably never be known, but we can all learn a few things from her untimely death. Perhaps the most important lesson to learn from this is that no one should go into the wilds alone. Even the most experienced trekkers will have at least one other person with them when they go out. This is basic safety 101.
The second thing to learn is if you are on a trail and get lost, stop before you wander off too far. A search team will direct its efforts near the trail first, spreading out as need be should they not find you. Third, learn how to navigate, using a map and compass.
Fourth, have food, water, shelter, and a means of communication with you in your backpack. A loud whistle, mirror, or flair will come in very handy if you need to signal for help. Make yourself as easy to see as possible. Do not stay under the tree canopy as it will be very difficult for air rescue to see you there. Remember, two arms raised up to air rescue means that you need help. One arm up means you are okay.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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