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Travel Mishaps That Can Happen To Anybody In The Wilderness

Spending time in the wilderness is a brilliant way to experience the great outdoors and unplug from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Setting up tents or putting yourself into your unused sleeping bag for a couple of days allows you to reconnect with nature and explore sights that you’ve never seen before.

That said, it’s important to be prepared when spending time outdoors, as mishaps can happen to even the most experienced adventurers.

The following are 4 mishaps that could happen to anyone that heads out unprepared.

Getting Lost

Losing track of time is expected but what about losing track of the direction you’re moving in?

This is not a rare situation that people find themselves in, especially when not familiar with the landscape, as environments like forests and canyons can be quite difficult to navigate.

Whether you’re hiking for the day, or heading out camping, make sure you have necessary equipment like a compass, maps of the area, and perhaps even a GPS.

It also wouldn’t hurt to learn some navigation techniques to improve your directional awareness, like using the direction of setting sun or the north star to estimate your whereabouts.

Your complete guide to an unplugged vacation in Olympic National Park.

Extreme Temperatures

Even if you’ve planned your trip in the perfect season for the environment you’re visiting, you still might find yourself having to deal with extreme temperatures, whether that be because it’s too hot, cold, or even windy.

No-one can predict the climate with 100% surety, but it’s important to properly research weather patterns and trends for the region, and pack your gear and clothing accordingly.

Pack enough food and water to deal with the heat, and adequate sun protection so you don’t find yourself suffering from exhaustion or physical burns.

Faceoff With a Wild Animal

Do you carry a survival bowie knife on your camping / hiking trips? You may be spending time in a safe area, but it’s important to be prepared if you know that there are dangerous animals in the area.

Whether this means wearing snake gaitors to protect yourself from the potential of snakebite, or buying a bell and bear spray before trekking in regions like Alaska, it’s important to have the right tools to ensure your safety.

Also remember that conflicts with wildlife are primarily caused due to inappropriate human behavior, and people are usually only injured if they get too close or in the animal’s way.

Human injury is generally only the animal responding to a perceived threat, and attacks are commonly the direct result of people approaching animals for close-up photos, hiking off trail into dense brush, or attempting to feed the animals (which you absolutely should not do).

Black Bear RF

Getting Severely Injured

The adventure of a wilderness trip is what gives you a kick, right? However, with any adventure comes the risk of hurting yourself.

So, what if you get severely injured while jumping off a cliff or trekking to the top? You may have a first-aid kit in your bag, but will you be able to take care of yourself alone?

Ideally, the safest way to go is to head on wilderness trips in a group so that there’s someone around to help out, or call for help if you’re incapable of helping yourself.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.

    

    16 Comments

  1. Stuff can definitely go South, Meg. I spent 6 weeks in remote jungles a few years back. Deep in the wilderness of Costa Rica we saw bullet ants, poison dart frogs and knew fer de lanz’es lived in the area by the hut. Definitely had to prep mentally and physically for that trip. Tweeted for you buddy.

    Ryan

    • Thanks for sharing Ryan, appreciate it! Glad you came back out of the jungle in one piece … sounds like quite the epic adventure, but yes, absolutely essential to prepare, and know the type of risks you might have to deal with :)

  2. Getting lost is something I’m exceptionally good at!

    • You and me both :D A GPS is a really great way to stay on track though and at least be able to find your way back if you go wandering too far!

  3. Great tips, you should never go out without a first aid kit, even if you’re only heading out for the day. Even if it’s as simple has having tape, some bandaids and some alcohol wipes, I’m amazed at the amount of people who don’t care.

    • Totally agree with you Gina, it’s all about being able to help yourself in the most common situations, at the very least something to deal with scrapes and cuts, or blisters if you’re out there hiking all day!

  4. Good tip on the temps, I think sun protection is one of the least discussed, most underrated safety tip. SO many people go down from heat exhaustion and dehydration during summer.

    • And put their skin at risk from sunburn, it really is amazing … in a sad way :(

  5. Thankfully I haven’t been attached by any wild animals on my outdoor trips yet … unless you count mosquitos … which is every trip!!

    • Mosquitoes LOVE me too. If we’re camping out in a mosquito prone area I’ll often pack with me a full body mosquito net – not overly fashionable, but no-ones laughing once they start getting bitten!

  6. Thanks for the first aid kit suggestions! I try to make my own but always forget something, so happy to buy a pre-put together kit (and leave it in the car because I often forget to bring it!)

    • You’re welcome, they should cover you for pretty much everything! Clever idea letting it live in the car :)

  7. Wow you got so close to that bear!! Great tips.

    • You can get some pretty great zoom on most cameras these days :D

  8. Sadly all of this used to be classified under common sense …

    • I read a eulogy to common sense this week actually. It was extremely sad!!

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