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There’s nothing more unnerving than not knowing exactly where you are. Lesser-used tracks can seemingly disappear into the undergrowth; a sunny alpine walk may leave you disorientated as cloud sets in.

Regardless of your experience and knowledge of the area, you may end up in a “previously unexplored region.”  If this happens, stay calm and stop to consider your next step.

If you’ve simply wandered from the track it may be possible to retrace your steps to rejoin it. If you haven’t found it after ten minutes, go no further as you may be moving in the wrong direction. A whistle will be worth a blast, as someone close by may catch the sound of it on the wind.

In bad weather build a shelter using foliage, a tent fly or anything else that will protect you from the elements. Eat and drink, rationing food and water as necessary. Change into dry clothes and build a fire to stay warm and attract attention.

Staying in one place may give the weather some time to clear, meaning that you can move on confidently. But if not, leaving details of your route will help searchers pinpoint your location. Help may not be too far away.

Make sure you've read the Think Before You Trek brochure by the NSW Police.

Words_Paul King

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