Monday, February 21, 2005

Lost in the Mangroves

I found a lost kayaker again yesterday. Maybe shop owners don't tell buyers this, or maybe they do but aren't listened to.

If you're going to be wandering about in places with no street signs, like estuaries or wilderness trails:

Check your back trail. Things look different coming and going. Going out in a new area, & depending on side trails, you may need to spend as much time turning around and looking as you do going forward.

Choose your landmarks/navigation aids carefully. In a tidal area, it's no good choosing a sandbar as a landmark. The tide may have covered it by the time you return. In any case, it will look different. If possible, choose two permanent landmarks (such as buildings or dead trees) and line them up. Those little white poles you see sticking up periodically? Those are permanent markers - you can rely on those. You cannot rely on sandbars, flocks of birds, and fishermen.

Bring water! There's something very odd about forking out $1300 + for a top-of-the-line Wilderness and refusing to spring $2 for a couple extra bottles of water.

If you didn't go under a bridge on your way out, you probably shouldn't be going under one on your way back.

Assist yourself. A GPSr is very cool, and you can get one with trackback for about $100. Bring spare batteries. If that's too expensive, get some colored, biodegradable twine and leave little bows to mark your way back. Go with a companion who has a better sense of direction. Pay attention!

Check your back trail, check your back trail, check your back trail.

I worry about people sometimes.

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