Sit. Rep. #132: Lost? Fear Not! SSSTTOPASSS

1- Lost?  Not; my favorite team lost the game.  Not; I am lost doing this math homework.  Not; that relationship is a lost cause.  Not; that company is so far in debt that it is lost to the bank.  Not; that the sailboat has lost her rudder.  Not; the Professor was lost in thought.

Let’s try I am lost.  I have gotten lost and separated from the rest of my hiking group or patrol.  I am lost because I do not know the way to go.  I am lost because I made a bad decision / wrong turn somewhere.  I woke up to fresh snowfall and all of the trail markings are hidden.  The fog is so thick that I can not get any landmarks for navigation or triangulation.  I am so lost that I do not know the way out of this wilderness.  Technically we may say; we have lost our spatial orientation and are unable to re-orient ourselves.

In Sit. Rep #38 we talked a bit about what to do.  I want to explore and caution against one particular part of the experience of being lost.  FEAR!  Psychological fear.  Panic.  Frozen from constructive action.  “Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.” Quoted from Desiderata.

2- Most of our lives are spent in familiar surroundings.  Home, school, church, work, friends, hometown, grandparents…  We can find our way home from almost anywhere that we are familiar with.  And a lot of places that we are not familiar with because of the road, street, and highway signs.  When we set off into the wilderness we are in unfamiliar territory without everyday signs to get us home.  And what happens?  Panic, Fear, Anxiety!  If you quit, if you let these factors rein over you – you lose about 50% of your chance of survival.

2B- Every Scout Skill can help you survive getting lost.  Read the handbook and pursue mastery in your skillset: Knots, Tote-n-Chip, Fire Building, First Aid, Map and Compass, Night Navigation, Tent / Shelter creation, Faith in yourself, Clean in all your manners, Tracking, Plant ID, and …

I: Can you tell me about the knotholes in that piece of wood?
J: If they are not holes, then what are they?

2C- Another author uses the word SURVIVAL:
Stop and size up the situation
Undue haste makes waste
Remember where you are
Vanquish fear and panic
Value your life
Act like the natives
Learned survival skills

2D- Another author teaches STOP like this:
Stop moving
Stay put
Signal (Fire)

K: What is the math teacher’s favorite food?
L: Pi.

3- Recognize the Fear, Anxiety, Stress, & Panic signs and symptoms:
Faster heart rate
Increase blood pressure
Shallow breathing
Tachypnea – (abnormal) rapid breathing
Chest pain
All of these signs & symptoms will decrease your chance of survival.  Calm is the order of the day.  Choose.

M: Do you know who Homer was?
N: He was the guy Babe Ruth famous.

4- I like my version: STOP.  Notice what all three have in common.
     Stay putSit down & do not panic.  Size up your physical condition.  IE: Are you injured?  Out of breath? Tired?
     Think about what do to.  Take inventory of your resources.  Take notes.
bserve everything around for weather, possible tools, fire building materials, lean-to/shelter materials, time of day, amount of daylight left before dark, where is my water source…
     Plan, Prioritize,
     Act on your plan.
     Start a fire.
     Stay warm &
That spells: SSSTTTOPPASSS.  STOP for short.  Most likely you will be found within 24 hours.

Navigating life,

Superior Campfires:  by Thomas Mercaldo

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