Essentials for Wilderness Survival, Part 5: Signaling For Survivors
Now the snot has hit the fan.
You're lost, alone, tired, sleepy, grumpy, dopey, and sneezy, and don't know how to get home.
Luckily there are techniques to help you out of this mess. You've probably seen them listed here and there:
- Blink a flashlight at the sky. (Nighttime only.)
- Toot on a whistle. (Hope they're listening.)
- Flash Morose Code using a mirror. (Daylight hours.)
- Cry. (Works anytime.)
These are all OK if you're clueless, but those in the know suggest other more advanced techniques.
For example, instead of mindlessly wootling on a stupid whistle, bring a set of bagpipes and really honk around on those babies. Nobody can stand the horrible screeching, even from a distance, and someone will come over to pound the crap out of you sooner or later. Thank them. Then steal their car and drive home.
If you forgot the bagpipes, and only have one of those idiot orange plastic whistles, aim high. Whistle at planes. If one picks you up, you're a lucky bastard — one who has a ride home at 500 miles an hour, and you might get a bag of peanuts too, though they'll probably charge you for it.
If you aren't that far out, maybe the old two tin cans and string would have worked, but it's a little late now, isn't it? As a last resort, put your lips together and blow. Whistling in the dark is better than nothing, and maybe you'll attract something with an appetite for hiker, and at least get it over with quickly.
Now instead, if whatever it was just spits you out and gallops away gagging, try lights, but go big. They always say to blink a flashlight at the sky, but look up once — the sky is chock full of hopeless dim specks — another one won't get you noticed. Use a flamethrower.
Get up on a hill, point the sucker straight up, and let it rip.
Nothing? Try again.
Still nothing? WTF then, go for broke. Set the forest on fire. That'll bring them running.
After that? What? Still nothing? You have zero to lose at this point, so get obnoxious.
If you're near a road, go there. Lie down with your head on the yellow line and your feet pointing toward the ditch. They can't miss you that way.
- Wear colorful, gender-inappropriate undergarments. Flaunt them.
- Get naked, display an offensive tattoo, and pump it at cars.
- Throw feces.
- Burn your tent, sleeping bag, and clothes to make stinky smoke. Fan it toward the road.
Can't even offend anyone? You're really sucking air by now, though there might still be hope. Try the flies-and-sugar thing — pull them in with an irresistible roadside attraction.
- The world's largest ball of dead mosquitoes. (Free Admission!)
- Burn holes in clouds with a laser pointer, setting off small aerial thermonuclear events. (A proven crowd-pleaser.)
- Offer an Intimate Dinner With Sasquatch (Only $5/person tip included! No reservations! No waiting! Serving right now!).
- Start a discussion group featuring a lost hiker in his native habitat. (Call yourself Ramtha and say you're old and wise. People lap up this swill like crazy.)
- OK, then, how about Old Ramtha's Survival Skillz Skool? (Free Admission! Tips & Techniques Aplenty! Learn ancient apeman tricks!)
And, if all that fails, bury your camera so a nerd from the future with a time machine can find it and wonder who that idiot was and come back to save you before you died. Iffy, but by now you're hungry enough to eat your own liver, if you knew how to find it, so maybe some fancy-pants guy from the future can tell you, or you can eat his.
You never know, right?