If You Get Lost



  • The shock of realizing that you are lost can be mentally crippling but you have to hope for the best and plan for the worst. Recall survival techniques or training and expect them to work as it will increase your chances for success by increasing your confidence that you can survive.

  • Stay "Put". if you're not sure of the way out and people know you are missing. Remain calm. Usually it is best to stay where you are and build a shelter. This is especially true if you are lacking food or are injured. Staying will give you a chance to conserve your energy.

  • Carefully study your surroundings. Find water, if possible an open area for a signal fire, a sheltered area for a camp, and wood. If the wood supply permits, keep a small fire going, at all times, for a signal fire.

  • Build a simple safe comfortable shelter and fire as soon as possible.

  • Once well-sheltered and warm, form a plan. A survival plan will alleviate your fear. Your confidence and morale will increase.

  • Be calm. Take it easy and think of how to implement your action plan. Establish where you are by identifying landmarks and compass directions.

  • Take stock in your situation. Mentally list everything you have on you. Empty your pockets and use your imagination to discover how your belongings can be used.

  • Do not be too eager to find your way out until you have adapted to your environment and have the basic necessities for food, water, and shelter. Unnecessary risks will be taken if you are careless and impatient.


  • Knowledge is the first step of overcoming fear. Knowledge can be amplified by the confidence in your equipment, group interaction, and survival techniques. The understanding of the smells, noises, physical characteristics of land, weather, and your relationship with them will also be of great help.

  • To feel fear is normal and necessary. It is nature's way of giving you that extra shot of energy.

  • Undue fear is usually caused by the unknown. Look carefully at a situation to determine if your fear is justified. Upon investigation you will usually find many of your fears are unreal.

  • If you are injured, pain might turn into panic. Panic can cause a person to act without thinking and go running off into the forest.

  • Panic can be caused by loneliness which can lead to hopelessness, thoughts of suicide, and carelessness.

  • Keep your mind busy and plan on survival. Recognizing the sign of fear and panic will help you overcome their devastating effect. Make sure that your doorway faces east towards the rising sun. Get up as soon as it is light and get busy.


  • Improvise to improve your situation. This will give you more control and raise your morale.

  • Remember that your goal is to get out alive. Raise your morale by "dreaming" of the time after you "get out alive" will help you value life now.

  • Conserve your health and strength. Illness or injury will greatly reduce your chance of survival.

  • Hunger, cold, and fatigue lower your efficiency, stamina, and will make you careless. You will realize that your low spirits are the result of your physical condition and not danger.

  • Improvising includes eating insects and other unusual foods.



Cartographic (1)


He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land :
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So [he] would cry : and the crew would reply
"They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we've got our brave Captain to thank :
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best--
A perfect and absolute blank!"


excerpt of
The Bellman's Speech
_The Hunting of the Snark_
Lewis Carroll
( 01876 )

illustration of
The Bellman's Map
Henry Holiday



Mount Analogue

_Mount Analogue_
Rene Daumal
( c. 01952 )

A twentieth-century classic. 

The author's poetic gifts and philosophical accomplishments
are combined in a manner that is both
entertaining to read
profound to contemplate.

An allegory for the journey of life, as well as a marvelous tale of an intrepid company of eight in search for Mount Analogue, the mysterious, fantastical (but real !) peak that reaches inexorably towards heaven-- as Mount Olympus reached the home of the Greek gods, or Mount Sinai to the presence of Yaweh. Daumal, one of the great French writers of his century, died before the novel was completed, providing an uncanny one-way quality to the journey.


( personal selections )


" 'You understand, we have such grave matters to decide, with repercussions in all the smallest corners of our lives, yours and mine, that we can't pull something out of nothing without at least getting to know each other. Today we can walk together, talk, eat, be quiet together. Later, I think we shall have opportunities to act together, to suffer together--and all of this is necessary in order to 'get aquainted', as they say.'

Naturally, we talked about the mountains. He had explored all the highest known ranges on the planet, and I felt that with each of us at the end of a good rope we might that very day have launched on the maddest mountaineering adventures. Then the conversation jumped, slipped, and veered, and I understood the use he was making of those bits of cardboard that spread before us the knowledge of our century. All of us have a fairly extensive collection of such figures and inscriptions in our head ; and we have the illusion that we are 'thinking' the loftiest scientific and philosophical thoughts when, by chance, several of these cards are grouped in a way that is somewhat unusual but not excessively so. This can be the effect of air currents or simply by constant agitation, like the Brownian movement that agitates particles suspended in a liquid. Here, all this material was visibly outside of us ; we could not confuse it with ourselves. Like a garland strung from nails, we suspended our conversation from these little images, and each of us saw the mechanisms of the other's mind and of his own with equal clarity.

In this man's way of thinking, and in his whole appearance, there was a singular mixture of vigorous maturity and childlike freshness. But above all, just as I was aware of his nervous and restless legs, I was aware of his thought like a force as palpable as heat, light, or wind. This force seemed to be an exceptional faculty for seeing ideas as external facts and for establishing new connections between what seemed to be utterly disparate ideas. I heard him --I'd be prepared to say I even saw him-- treat human history as a problem in descriptive geometry, then, a minute later, speak of the properties of numbers as if he were dealing with zoological species. The fusion and division of living cells became a particular case of logical reasoning, and language derived its laws from celestial mechanics. "

. . .

" The guides whom we questioned afterwards on the value of these myths always gave us what seemed evasive answers : 'They are as true,' one of them told us, 'as your fairy tales and scientific theories.' 'A knife,' said another, 'is neither true nor false, but anyone impaled on its blade is in error.'

One of these myths conveyed this message in so many words :

In the beginning, the Sphere and the Tetrahedron were united in a single unthinkable, unimaginable Form. Concentration and Expansion mysteriously united in a single Will that desired only itself.

There was a separation, but the Unique remains unique.

The Sphere became primordial man, who, wishing to realize separately all his desires and possibilities, broke into pieces in the shape of all animal species and the men of today.

The Tetrahedron became the primordial Plant, which similarly engendered all plants.

The Animal, closed to external space, hollowed himself out and developed lungs, intestines, and other internal organs to receive nourishment, to preserve and perpetuate himself. The Plant, blossoming in external space, ramified externally to penetrate nourishment through roots and foliage.

Several of their descendants hesitated, or wanted to stay on both sides of the fence : these became the animal-plants that populate the seas.

Man received a breath, a light of understanding ; he alone received this light. He wanted to see his light and to enjoy it in multiple shapes. He was driven out by the force of the Unity. He alone was driven out.

He went out to people the lands Out There, suffering, dividing against himself, multiplying out of the desire to see his own light and enjoy it.

Sometimes a man submits in his heart, submits the visible to the power of light, seeks to return to his origin.

He seeks, he finds, he returns to his source. "

. . .

" It was during these rainy days that we began to call each other by our first names. . .We were beginning to shed our old personalities. Just as we were leaving our encumbering equipment on the coast, we were also preparing to leave behind the artist, the inventor, the doctor, the scholar, the literary man. Beneath their old disguises, men and women were already peaking out. Once more Pierre Sogol set us an example--without knowing it, and without suspecting that he was becoming a poet. He told us one evening, when we were gathered for a meeting on the beach :

'I have led you here, and I have been your leader. Here I relinquish my general's helmet, which was a crown of thorns for the image I had of myself. In the untroubled depths of my memory of myself, a little child is awakening and makes the old man's mask sob. A little child who is searching for a father and mother, who is searching with you for help and protection ; protection from his pleasure and his dreams, and help to become what he is without imitating anyone.'

. . .

“ Besides, often at difficult moments you'll catch yourself talking to the mountain, flattering it, cursing it, making promises or threats. And you will have the impression that the mountain answers you if you speak to it properly—by becoming gentler, more submissive. Don't think the less of yourself for that; don't be ashamed of behaving like those our specialists call primitives and animists. Just keep in mind, when you remember these moments later on, that your dialogue with nature was just the outward image of an inner dialogue with yourself. ” 

. . .

" We walked for several minutes along a wide, rocky ledge to a platform that allowed us to see the head of the valley. It was a kind of irregular oval, into which the gorge emptied out, surrounded by the high rock walls of the summit from which, here and there, hung the tongues of glaciers. We lit a fire, threw on some damp grass, then looked attentively in the direction of the oval. At the end of a few minutes, from a great distance, came an answering signal, a thin white plume of smoke hardly distinguishable from the slow mist of the waterfalls.

Man becomes highly alert in the mountains to any sign indicating the presence of his peers. But this distant smoke was particularly moving to us, this greeting addressed to us by strangers climbing ahead of us on the same path. For from now on the path linked our fate to theirs, even if we should never meet. We knew nothing about them. "

. . .

" If you slip or have a minor spill, don't interrupt your momentum but even as you right yourself recover the rhythm of your walk. Take note of the circumstance of your fall, but don't allow your body to brood on the memory. The body always tries to make itself interesting by its shivers, its breathlessness, its palpitations, its shudders, sweats, and cramps. But it is very sensitive to its master's scorn and indifference. If it feels he is not fooled by its jeremiads, if it understands that enlisting his pity is a useless effort, then it falls back into line and compliantly accomplishes its task. "

. . .

“ Keep your eye fixed on the way to the top, but don't forget to look right in front of you. The last step depends on the first. Don't think you're there just because you see the summit. Watch your footing, be sure of the next step, but don't let that distract you from the highest goal. The first step depends on the last. ” 

. . .

" I was leaving with a group of friends to seek the Mountain which is the path joining Earth and Sky. It *must* exist somewhere on our planet, and must be the dwelling of a superior humanity...

And now we have reached the unknown continent, seed of superior substances implanted in the terrestrial crust, protected from curious and covetous gazes by the curvature of space-- just as a drop of mercury, by its surface tension, remains impenetrable to the finger that tries to touch its center. By our calculations--thinking of nothing else--by our desires--abandoning all other hope--by our efforts--renouncing all comfort--we had forcibly entered this new world. So it seemed to us. But later we knew that if we had been able to reach the foot of Mount Analogue, it was because the invisible doors of this invisible country had been open to us by those who guard them. The cock crowing in the milk of dawn believes that his song makes the sun rise ; the child howling in a closed room thinks his cries make the door open. But the sun and the mother follow courses set by the laws of their beings. Those who see us even if we cannot see ourselves, answer our puerile calculations, our fickle desires, our small and awkward efforts with a generous welcome. “


audio - book