Smartphones have come a really long way since they were first introduced way back in 2007. Evolving from one-dimensional devices for calling and messaging, into all-around, everyday sidekicks, most people heavily rely on the information served by a smartphone to get through the majority of the challenges of daily life.
But what if you were stuck in a pretty bad situation and your phone just wasn’t available to lend you a hand? What if that sticky situation was a damp, dark, dismal wooded forest that seemed endless in all directions? Could you find your way out?
If you answered no, well then it’s time to read up. Here’s how you can navigate your way out of a forest without your trusty phone to guide you.
Get to Higher Ground
Experts would actually tell you to go downhill if you want to find civilization, and that’s actually the next step. The first is to get yourself to a vantage point where you might be able to see landmarks and structures on the ground below. This should give you a sense of direction to help you plot out where to go.
Use your common sense, though. If the area is relatively flat and the only way to get to higher ground is a treacherous ascent, then forget it. It’s better to navigate downhill even without a clear visual than to attempt a climb that could risk your life.
Know Your Directions
Even when you have absolutely nothing in your pack to resemble a compass, you can still figure out which way is north, south, east, or west. It all depends on where the sun is. Although it’s not a hundred percent accurate, the sun rises in the area of the east and sets in the west. Observing how it moves across the sky should tell you more about where you’re going.
Use the sun as a marker to prevent you from walking around in circles. If it was on your left when you started earlier in the day and it’s on your left towards dusk, then you might have been going in circles.
Gravitate Towards Open Areas
If you find there to be some connected areas in a forest where the trees seem to clear out, stick to it. When the terrain changes like this, it’s usually a sign of human activity such as logging or farming. And of course, your chances of being found or of finding rescue are much higher in these places.
Try to avoid thick areas covered in trees and make your way to clearings as often as you can. Take a moment to listen to the sounds around you – a distant church bell, a passing vehicle, or the sound of a community can be faint, but you’ll still be able to hear it as long as you stop for a while and focus.
Getting out of the woods can mean two things – you found your own way out, or rescuers found you. While it would be really cool to be able to save your own skin, it doesn’t hurt to accept help when it comes along. Maintain visibility by arming yourself with shiny objects – the underside of a CD, a bag of potato chips turned inside out, or a reflective raincoat. Help yourself by helping others spot you in against the green backdrop.