Lost Hiking In Taiwan? Test Your Survival Skills

Lost Hiking In Taiwan? Test Your Survival Skills

What you need to know

Test yourself to see if you know how to handle getting lost while hiking in Taiwan.

Hiking is one of the most popular outdoors activities in Taiwan. Many who are new to the island are surprised at how convenient many hikes are.

But not all mountains and trails in Taiwan are alike. National parks like Taroko Gorge and Yangmingshan have vast stretches that are easy to get lost in.

Below are some scenarios you may encounter if you lose your way hiking in Taiwan. Test yourself to see if you know how to best handle them.

I think I’m going the wrong way. What should I do?

Going forward will increase your likelihood of getting further off-course. Don’t do this.

If you are full of energy and presence of mind to retrace your steps, this isn’t a bad choice. But otherwise, you’d better not.

This is your best option. When we’re lost, it’s very easy to panic. Get your bearings first, and then make a decision.

I’m really lost. Who should I call?

Not advised. They may not know the specifics of the mountain you’re lost in, and you may waste precious time and phone battery.

A designated contact is someone who knows your itinerary, and ideally knows the trail you’re hiking. This would be a good option.

This is a good choice, too. Dialing 112, the general emergency line, or 119, the fire emergency line, would mean you need urgent assistance. Try 119 first. If you can't get through to 119, call 112 and tell them your phone number and, to the best of your ability, your location. They can either help you get back on the path or send help.

I have a little energy left. Push ahead or head back?

Cell signals and field of vision are best along the ridge of the mountain. It’s also easier for emergency services to find you. This is the best way to push forward.

Don’t do this. Cell signals are generally very poor in mountainous areas. It’s easy to injure yourself or get lost. Near streams, it’s harder for emergency dispatchers to hear you, and for you to hear them, and the dense forests can make it hard for you to be found.

The park rangers are coming to save me. Now what?

If you leave your place, the park rangers or firefighters won’t be able to find you. Don’t do this.

Once you’ve already told the people coming to save you approximately where you are, don’t move.

I’m almost out of water. What should I do?

This is probably your best option. You can’t go more than three days without drinking, and rainy days are often the chance you may have to collect water.

This isn’t advised, as it’s easy to injure yourself or get further off course by looking for a stream.

Don’t do this, unless you have the instruments to do reverse osmosis or distillation. If you think you want to do this, there are likely other tools and plans you can make.

I didn’t know Taiwan could be this cold. How can I avoid hypothermia?

No. Drinking alcohol will hasten blood circulation, will cause your body to lose heat faster. You also lose your judgement, making it more likely to injure yourself. If you’re in high altitudes, the effects of alcohol will be even more severe.

When you start to get hypothermia, your energy is already on the decline. Not a good idea.

If there’s snow on the ground or the surface is otherwise damp, this probably won’t help keep you warm.

Virtually any dry clothing that can be worn or function as a cover, should be worn or applied.

Looks like I have to stay the night. Where?

In Taiwan, the areas around streams at the bottom of a gorge are generally dangerous. Not a good idea.

There isn’t much protection from the elements.

A better choice for shelter from the wind and cold.

If it seems safe, not a bad choice either. It provides protection from the elements. Just watch out for bats.

I’m stuck outside. What should I prioritize?

Remember the “rule of threes.” You can go three days without water, but only three hours in extreme weather.

The “rule of threes” holds that shelter from the extreme cold should be your priority.

You can go three weeks without food. Shouldn’t be your first move.