into the wild

Will Hern and Cooper Reid, two UVM students, were lost off the slopes of Jay Peak for 15 hours on Thursday, Feb. 21 till Friday morning without food, water or a lighter to start a fire.”We had been skiing all day and went to take a final run when we veered off to the left [of the Beaver Pond Glade trail] looking for fresh powder and separated from each other,” said Reid.When they reunited, they used Reid’s cell phone to call 911. The Jay Peak Snow Patrol was then able to use the cell phone to get a GPS location on the students. They were told to go uphill and to the left to get back to the mountain, Reid said. However, because they were on the opposite side of the mountain, they were instructed to go in the wrong direction.The Boy Scout Handbook, the best-selling “Ultimate Survivors Guide,” and Brad Miller of the UVM Outing Club, all agree to stay put as long as possible when lost, and if you can’t, to follow the nearest water source.After another call to the local Police Department, they found out they were going the wrong way, but were instructed to keep going and to find the stream that ran nearby.After awhile, they were going to build a shelter for the night but decided to keep moving to stay warm, Reid said.According to Reid, after hours of walking and after losing their only cell phone, the two came to a cabin in the woods where the cops were able to pick them up soon after. Incidents such as these happen without warning. However, there are some things to keep in mind in order to be prepared. Rachael Wood, vice president of the Outing Club, says one should “be prepared before you even find yourself being lost.”Wood mentioned having enough food, water and a cell phone in case you get stranded, “Preparation is key,” she said.However in the case that you do find yourself lost and do need to find shelter, there are a few things to keep in mind. According to their Web site, Earth Connection Wilderness School, in Somerville, Va, said to use natural surroundings for shelter and materials at hand, such as leaves and grass, to insulate yourself.They also state that, in the winter, one can move snow-covered branches lying on top of deep snow in order to reveal an insulated hollow space created by the tree-cover. However, according to the Earth Connection Wilderness School, when you use natural places, such as trees or caves, be sure they aren’t already home to another animal.Soon after their return, Reid and Hern, received an award for being the “farthest traveled lost skiers on Beaver Pond Glade” from Jay Peak, said Reid. Jay Peak also waved the fee that they usually charge for rescues, Reid said.This is just one of many incidents that happen in winter months.The Associated Press reported in January that three boys fell through the ice in an upstate New York pond and survived until they got to a nearby home based on skills they learned from the Discovery Channel show, “Man Vs. Wild.”According to almost every survival guide, being prepared and staying calm are both equally important when lost in the woods. Even though one might not be trained in wilderness survival, a little bit of ingenuity can go a long way.