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How to Survive a Night in the New Hampshire Wilderness

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  • How to Survive a Night in the New Hampshire Wilderness

    Anyone at any time can get lost in the wilderness. Even the most seasoned outdoorsmen can find themselves lost in the woods. You can take a wrong trail while hiking, you could go hunting without a map or compass, you could run into bad weather or you could just stay out hiking a little later than expected. Even if you do end up having to spend the night in the woods there are ways you can survive, with the right tools and knowledge.

    If you get that feeling in your gut that you all of a sudden realize that you have no clue where you are, it is important not to panic. You need to STOP! Stop stands for Sit, Think, Observe and Plan. While it is true that the Granite State is filled with thick wilderness, you are never too far from some type of civilization such as a road or a house. Even way up north in Coos County, there are trails and logging roads that lead to some kind of help for you.

    It is important to take an area map with you and be sure it is up to date. Do not carry around maps that are outdated. It is a good idea to study your map before you head out to have a basic understanding of the area. Do not rely on GPS alone. Technology does not always work and if you rely on it alone for navigation, you may be in trouble if the batteries run dead. Be sure to have a compass with you as a backup.

    Be sure that you have the necessary gear with you before heading out the door. You should have a folding knife, compass, items to start a fire and a simple survival kit. Knives can be used for a number of things such as making tools out of wood, preparing meals and building a fire. To start a fire, you want to bring a lighter or two with you since matches will just be useless if it is windy or raining.

    In addition, there are other things you will need. You can easily put all of these items into one backpack and carry it with you. You will need to bring along extra food, water, sleeping bag or blanket, first aid kit and a flashlight. Also, before you leave, you need to tell someone your itinerary that includes when you should be returning, the vehicle you're driving and the exact trails you are using. You should leave a copy of this itinerary on the dashboard of your vehicle where it can be seen as well.

    Do not travel at night. The woods are too dangerous and you may get injured. Build a shelter for the night and start a fire to keep warm. Make sure you notice any signs that just don't seem right. Dehydration and hypothermia can set in rather quickly. It is important to stay hydrated and to keep warm. Use the warmth of the fire along with your sleeping bag or blanket.

    Once daylight appears, get the fire going again so you can create some kind of smoke signal. Remember one thing; do not move from your campsite. Rescuers may be on their way from seeing the smoke from your fire. Also, the NH Fish and Game Department may be looking for you as well.

  • #2
    Re: How to Survive a Night in the New Hampshire Wilderness

    I do have to say though that if I was ever in this situation, I would not sleep a wink. I am deathly afraid of moose. I dont even like going in the woods period because of moose. They are big, scary and


    • #3
      Re: How to Survive a Night in the New Hampshire Wilderness

      I must say that after experiencing this first hand this past August I have to comment on it. BRING AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT WITH YOU. I had the bulb burn out on a brand new mag light coming back from the outhouse. I was alone and when that light goes out, you can't see anything! I slept where I was til morning when I found my way back.
      Last edited by Whitney495; 09-16-2013, 03:12 PM.


      • #4
        Re: How to Survive a Night in the New Hampshire Wilderness

        I agree, and always bring matches AND a lighter to start a fire. We were lost off a trail once in Franconia Notch and it was getting dark and very cold. It was fall time but the temps were getting down below 30 that night. The 2 things I immediately thought of was that I had NO flashlight and NO way to start a fire.

        We had no intentions of being out there that late so we never considered bringing these things but I will never go hiking without them now, doesnt matter what my plans are!
        Matt Goodwin


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        What is the name of the COUNTRY that NH shares a border with?