Stuck in the desert or backcountry? What you do next can turn a potential problem into one of those sad news stories we’ve all read, another somber, cautionary tale of people that perished in the wilderness. The actions you take in the next hour may make the difference between getting home alive and not getting home at all. How you got into this situation is not that important, but how you get out is.
You may be surprised to find out that your most important survival tool is your smartphone, your iPhone or your Android, providing you have taken a few preliminary steps. If you have had the foresight to keep your phone charged and if you have preloaded several applications, your chances of getting home safely have just improved dramatically.
In isolated areas where there is no cell service available, many of the features of your phone will not function. Calling 911 is impossible, and maps will not download to your phone. GPS will work, but all you’ll see is a blue dot on a blank screen. Without directions, most of us will walk in a large circle, due to one leg being stronger then the other, or not the exact same length. Next time you’re in a large open area, walk with your eyes focused on the ground about 10 feet in front of you and see what happens.
Fortunately there are now many tools that can assist you if you find yourself stranded in the backcountry or isolated in the desert. Before you go on any trips, you need to preload these apps on your phone.