AlphaOp Posted April 19, 2003 Share Posted April 19, 2003 Had an interesting little adventure today. Around 10 this morning I decided I was going to take the car and go on a little hike in the Alleghney National Forest in central Pennsylvania. I loaded up a bag with provisions, charged the batteries on my GPS, and headed out. I followed the little map on my Garmin-III GPS sitting on the dashboard. I headed through Union City, Youngstown, and about five other pissant little Pennsylvania towns. After an hour and a half, and a quart of oil (I found the car's oil level was dangerously low- an oil change was missed. Yikes.) I reached Heart's Content Park, where the trail was. I got out and headed down the 11 mile trail. Now mind you, this isn't a standard trail. It was very basic to say the least. Trees with yellow paint marked where the trail was. It was a really great place. The air was pleasantly cool. I had my trusty hiking pole, billion-pocket-vest, and my old school backpack containing a gallon-jug of water, a first-aid kit, and a US millitary survival manual. In my pockets I had two of these Kavli Go-Lean bars, pocket knife, GPS, and cellular phone. (The latter was pretty much worthless in the woods.) Plus, I took my digital camera in my side holdster. After about an hour and a half, and a few stops to mark my location on the GPS and take pictures of the woods and some bracket fungi (polypores) I decided to head back. I passed back through the woods, and hopped the steam I just crossed before. So far, so good. But then I noticed that I wasn't seeing the yellow trail markings on the trees. No problem, I thought. I was probably just a little off to the side of the trail, I'd find it in a few minutes. About 10 minutes later and no sign of the trail, I started to worry. I got out my Garmin-III GPS unit, and tried to find my location. Now, when I really needed it, the satellites wouldn't lock on. That was when I realized that I was lost. Fortunately, I kept my cool. I realized that I would have to move until I could find a decent clearing in which to get satellite locks. I kept moving, and eventually came back to the stream I had just crossed. Then I realized that I was really screwed-up orientation wise, and two words popped into my head "Blair Witch." I checked my clock. It was 3. I had 5 hours until Freedy, or Jason, or the Blair Witch, or George Michaels would jump out from behind a tree and kill me. But, I realized how nonsensical most of that was, and managed to keep calm. I had packed my emergency wilderness survival guide from the US Millitary (circa 1958) with me, so I wasn't terribly worried. There were plenty of streams with water, and I was sure I could eat some plants or chew on those polypores for some prescious calories. I kept moving in the "I think this is the way" direction, but I couldn't really tell. The sun was at my back, and I was actually moving kinda south-ish. I eventually got a spark of hope- I ran into a set of signs indicating that I had reached the edge of the Wilderness area. I kept moving along that line until I reached a massive clearing! Now I could use my GPS! I whipped out the GPS, and instantly got all the satellite locks I needed. My location was far from where I suspected. I thought I was to the West, when I was actually more South. I headed through some private property, and managed to hit some dirt roads. I headed back towards the trailhead. The GPS guided me, but it was up about a half-mile of a 15-30 degree incline, which completely sucked. I eventually made it back to the trailhead, and my car. Phew! Anyhoo, just for the hell of it: a photo from today's little trip: Note to self- next time, bring a @#$@#$ing compass and some matches. Anyone else ever get lost in the woods? http://thealphaoperator.tripod.com Quote Link to comment
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