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  1. #1
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    Any of you have a fear of getting lost (or actually have gotten lost)?

    I know some of you out west will probably laugh at this question, as your trails/environment tends to be a bit more wide open in nature, but here in the east many of our trails are in the deep, heavy woods, typically miles from the nearest road or civilization. Anyway, I have very few fears in life, but I guess one of them would be getting lost while riding somewhere deep in the woods in a remote location, in which I'd find myself screwed as the sun sets or whatever.

    The trails I typically ride I know every inch of, so there's no worries there, but occasionally I'll explore new trail systems here in VA that I don't know well. Since I often ride alone, and given that most of these remote areas have no cell phone coverage, at times that fear will creep into the back of my head a bit while riding. I've gotten lost on a few occasions in years past, including on one occasion where the map/trail markings weren't accurate at all, but nothing too dramatic or anything of the sort (your basic, lost for 30-40 minutes variety until I found familiar territory).

    Anyway, not sure if I'm basically alone here or if there are others out there that have the same fear. My so-called phobia isn't anything too crazy at all, but just enough that I have it in the back of my head when I'm riding trails that I'm not totally familiar with.

  2. #2
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    Nope.

    I make maps for a living.

  3. #3
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    i think the potential of gettin lost is kinda thrilling. Ive always been comfortable with maps, but that is the best part about going somewhere new. Just be prepared to possibly spend some extra time out there, and walk it out in the morning if it gets dark. Be prepared for it and bring a flashlight if you are really worried.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roanoke4 View Post
    I know some of you out west will probably laugh at this question, as your trails/environment tends to be a bit more wide open in nature,
    Right, no one out west has ever been lost in the desert or the Sierra Nevada mountains.

  5. #5
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    I get anxious when I'm trying a new trail by myself. park maps are notoriously inaccurate.

  6. #6
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    Not really. Since MTB season is typically in the warmer months I don't worry about getting lost and having to spend a night in the woods. And since I rarely, if ever, go off trail I think it would be relatively easy to make your way back to where you came from in the morning if need be.

    I have a great deal of fear when skiing backcountry or out of bounds at a resort. I have no desire to spend the night outside in winter weather and think it would be quite a bit harder to find my way out in snow.
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  7. #7
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    Lost? Been a bit confused for a few days, but never lost. That is part of the fun for me, exploring new trails and seeing where I end up. Besides, it is not like cross-country off trail hiking. Since you are riding in "deep, heavy woods" I can't imagine you are going off trail, so you should be able to retrace your steps.

  8. #8
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    My first ride on a mtb, I unwittingly went to the hardest, most technical trails in the area, because I'd heard they were "the best" around. I very quickly got lost, on a particularly nasty, technical section of singletrack that was steep, roots and rocky. After hike-a-biking my way out, I concluded that maybe mountain biking wasn't for me and wished that I'd bought a road bike instead...
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlmuncie View Post
    Right, no one out west has ever been lost in the desert or the Sierra Nevada mountains.
    ha, yea what this guy said, pleeease, the west has WAY larger remote/forest areas than the east (not bagging on the east, just stating facts).

  10. #10
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    Re: Any of you have a fear of getting lost (or actually have gotten lost)?

    There's an excellent way to deal with that fear. Learn and practice wilderness survival skills. That way, even if you get lost, you'll be far more prepared to relax and deal with the situation.
    It builds confidence.

  11. #11
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    Exploring is half the fun. I always bring twice as much water and snacks as I think I'll need in case I take a wrong turn.

  12. #12
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    A few years ago I was in Arizona and went to ride some trails near Prescott. I followed a trail that was marked but somehow got off the trail and kept following horse tracks and the trail kept getting more and more remote. I should have turned around but I had the feeling that this trail would eventually bring me back. Wrong! It got to be around 4:30ish and I was out of water, and I started thinking that I have a problem here. Then God sent two angels to rescue me. They looked like ZZ Top and had Western style pistols in holsters. The one angel had glasses as thick as pop bottle bottoms. A little intimidating but I didn't have many options. They showed me where I came from on a map and told me the best way back was the way I came from. I said that's probably not a good idea since I was out of water and running out of daylight. They said they would give me a ride out if I wanted to wait til dusk since they were going Javalina hunting. I said, sure. I didn't wander to far from their truck and as dusk turned to dark I started doing some jumping jacks to keep warm. They finally returned from out of the dark and we loaded up. It took us about an hour to drive out of there on some of the gnarliest track I've driven on. I thought we were going to tip over a couple of times. They didn't seem to shook about any of it even though we were riding on Empty. They got me back to my truck at about 8:30 PM and I gave them my warmest thanks and 20 dollars for gas which they didn't want to take but I forced it on them.
    My wife bought me a GPS for my birthday and I'm a little more careful now.
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  13. #13
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    None of the trails I ride on are HUGE, but I could definitely see myself over estimating how far out I am and if I can get back before the sun sets. Just another reason why everyone should carry a good flashlight 24/7.

  14. #14
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    Invest in a good GPS and take your time. Also, do your due diligence on the trail via the internet and YouTube and you should be ok.

  15. #15
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by YetiBear View Post
    A few years ago I was in Arizona and went to ride some trails near Prescott. I followed a trail that was marked but somehow got off the trail and kept following horse tracks and the trail kept getting more and more remote. I should have turned around but I had the feeling that this trail would eventually bring me back. Wrong! It got to be around 4:30ish and I was out of water, and I started thinking that I have a problem here. Then God sent two angels to rescue me. They looked like ZZ Top and had Western style pistols in holsters. The one angel had glasses as thick as pop bottle bottoms. A little intimidating but I didn't have many options. They showed me where I came from on a map and told me the best way back was the way I came from. I said that's probably not a good idea since I was out of water and running out of daylight. They said they would give me a ride out if I wanted to wait til dusk since they were going Javalina hunting. I said, sure. I didn't wander to far from their truck and as dusk turned to dark I started doing some jumping jacks to keep warm. They finally returned from out of the dark and we loaded up. It took us about an hour to drive out of there on some of the gnarliest track I've driven on. I thought we were going to tip over a couple of times. They didn't seem to shook about any of it even though we were riding on Empty. They got me back to my truck at about 8:30 PM and I gave them my warmest thanks and 20 dollars for gas which they didn't want to take but I forced it on them.
    My wife bought me a GPS for my birthday and I'm a little more careful now.
    Yeah, I tried to circumnavigate Granite Mountain once too. After I lost the trail, I just cut through the brush and made a B-line for the roads. Got ripped up by the brush, but abandoning the supposed trail direction was a better idea at that point.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffTN View Post
    There's an excellent way to deal with that fear. Learn and practice wilderness survival skills. That way, even if you get lost, you'll be far more prepared to relax and deal with the situation.
    It builds confidence.
    Very true. Practice navigation until it's second nature. When I'm on some twisty singletrack, I might lose track of where the trailhead is, or where a specific point is, but I know a couple navigational truths. If you go downstream, you'll almost always find a bridge. If you go to the top of a ridge, you can oftentimes find clearings with enough of a view to get your bearings. It's a LOT more difficult if it's BOTH flat and densely forested. I am convinced that only innate skills can help you navigate out of a situation like that. Everyone has them, but you have to be VERY tuned in to yourself and where you are.

    Always carry a map. It isn't that big of a deal if the trails aren't on it yet. With a good compass, you can still pinpoint your location. Especially if you pay attention and have a good general idea of where you've traveled so far. With a functional GPS, you can pinpoint your location, too. Key is functional. If I'm headed someplace fairly small, I don't worry about navigation. When I go somewhere new and big with more severe consequences for getting lost, I double up with a paper map, GPS with digital maps, and compass. I have had my GPS die on me more times than I can count for a lot of reasons. I am confident that I can get out using other skills I have developed.

  17. #17
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    pick up a sas hand book. And a good knife lol.... Plus if your going to out tell some one give them a note with where ur going when you want to get back, If your gone for too long people will find you

  18. #18
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  19. #19
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    Yes I think if you're going to try a new trail system it's best to be prepared with a map, compass and or GPS.
    The GF and I tried some new trails a few weeks ago, nothing to vast but still they spin you round and round and it was overcast I could not see the sun but I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to go. Asked a local we met on the trail and got directions out, it was little help, you know the instructions that are turn left at the two small trees then right at the small rock head for about bla bla. Anyways I turned us around and we got back to a road, now its pouring rain and cold so I pull out my phone and try to use the gps and no signal ahh great, just as we were about to make a choice as to head left or right an OPP came down the road for you Americans that like a state tropper. He was cool, told us how to get back and offered us a ride and to put the bikes in his trunk, I said it was ok we were only 10 minute ride from the car, thanksed him for his help and off we rode.
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  20. #20
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    I've got one of those little plastic ball compasses pinned to my Camelbak strap, it helps keep me oriented when I get turned around in a forest. The places I ride aren't in remote areas, though. As long as I keep heading in the same direction, I'll reach the boundary eventually.

  21. #21
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    There is some good suggestions here, and I'll add a few from past experience:

    - Stay calm: Breathe, relax, look up at the sky, oh what a wonderful life it is! Just stay still, take in the sounds, become one with nature. It is actually a very sweet experience When city-folk get lost in the woods, they tend to panic, and "run for the hills".. this gets them way off track, and even more lost than they were. This is not too mention that if someone calls the Rangers for you, they will have a harder time finding you since you are much further from the trails than when you were.

    - Turn that 2 hour day trip into an on-the-spot overnighter!: Take with you an "emergency kit".. a small tarp, a lighter, and a magnesium fire starter. Learn how to make fire, as it provides a very primitive, almost carnal, peace of mind for us homosapiens.

    - First Aid Kit: IMHO, the 3 most important things to take with you bike riding, in no specific order: A bike, a helmet, a first aid kit. Also learn how to use said first aid kit. It might save your life.

    Another thing that can help give you peace of mind is to take a Wilderness First Aid, or even better, Wilderness First Responder course. It does cost a bit of money, but again, if you are ever in a position to need it, you'll be glad to have taken it. A bonus: You get nationally certified, and can add it as a suffix to your name, ie: Joe Smith, WFR

    I would love to "get lost in the woods".. it would give me an excuse to take off work! (Of course, the people in the office would raise their eyebrows, they know the training I've went through....)

  22. #22
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    I wouldn't say I get truely "lost", but I like riding in unfamiliar urban environments... I recently moved about 15 minutes outside of a medium sized city in the midwest (about 150k residents). Last weekend I packed up the bike after work (around 1am) and rode around downtown and just generally all around the city.

    I had my GPS on the handlebars, and knew where I was parked, but I was in unfamiliar territory the entire time. After I got home, I found out I was riding through some reeeeally rough areas of town, but from 1am-4am, the city is extremely quiet. I saw one other person on the bike, a few cars, and nothing else. I had my GPS, cell phone and pistol (CCW) the whole time so I really wasn't too scared of anything at that hour. I'm actually going to do some more urban exploring this weekend in a neighboring area of town, it's a nice way of getting to know a new area of town

  23. #23
    The White Jeff W
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    I once lost my way riding an unfamiliar trail in the Michaux State Forest in PA. I had a general idea of where I was and which direction to go, but then happened across the Appalachian trail, which is off limits to bikes, and walked my bike on it until I got to where I knew where I was.

    I remembered seeing it on maps and where in the park it went and knew it would eventually intersect a familiar trail.
    No moss...

  24. #24
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    I'm not putting you down, OP, but a good map, a good compass, and the ability to use such will put that fear to rest forever.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by phirebug View Post
    I'm not putting you down, OP, but a good map, a good compass, and the ability to use such will put that fear to rest forever.

    And until you have those and are competent with them that fear you feel isn't such a bad thing. Fear is a survival mechanism, and people who are fearless often find early graves.

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