Lost In The Woods

When you finally admit to yourself that you have become lost, or stranded, you can chase the anxiety away by doing the following things:
Tend to any first aid issues
Stop and assess your surroundings
Inventory what you have with you
Build a small campfire (this will keep you active and help calm your mind)
Relax and consider your situation rationally, a positive attitude is key.
Stay or go?   Do you have a compass?

The next steps would be to consider whether to stay or try walking out. The circumstances that caused you to become lost in the woods will have some bearing on what you do. Conventional wisdom says stay where you are, but every situation is different.
Will you be missed? An official search would not start until 24 hours after your expected arrival, whenever that might be. A day? A week? A month?
Does anybody know where you were going and the route or general area you were planning to travel?
Have you deviated from your itinerary? If you have, searchers will probably be looking in the wrong area.
If you stay you will need to:
Set up a base camp with adequate shelter from the elements
Forage for food, water, and fuel for a campfire
Set up signals for searchers
Make yourself as comfortable as you can
Try not to range too far from your base camp (you don’t want to lose that!)
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If you decide to try walking out:
If you became lost after midday, set up camp for the night and start in the morning.
Leave a message at your base camp (learn signaling techniques) indicating which direction you have taken and the date you left.
Give serious consideration to simply backtracking your route in, if possible.
Mark your trail so searchers can follow you or you can backtrack if necessary.  Knowing how to blaze a tree could come in handy in this situation.  (In rough country, your average walking speed will probably be less than two miles per hour.)
Take frequent breaks
Stay hydrated - get your water where you can and PURIFY it.
Hunt for food along the way (meat, greens, herbs and berries)
Set up your night camp well before dark. Your campfire will also help keep many animals at bay.
If the weather gets ugly, stay where you are.
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You could use a blackened stick from your campfire to leave a charcoal note.
Before you leave, take a compass reading and keep referring to your compass often.
Do not set up your camp in a gully or ravine, seek higher ground.
Exhaustion causes poor judgment and accidents.
Always purify any water you have collected.
Insects are a very high source of protein.  The upside is, you don't need many.
A well stocked survival kit will make the decision of staying or going much easier. Survival kits do range in size from a tiny tin that would fit in a shirt pocket to a full sized backpack. Your personal skill level will determine what you carry with you. Don’t overestimate your abilities. Some people can survive with nothing but a pocket knife where others need all the gear they can carry. Most folks range somewhere in the middle.

Be prepared, learn basic survival skills. Anyone, from the most experienced to the novice, can become stranded or lost in the woods.
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Scott Falls, Alger County, Michigan
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Basic Survival Skills
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The following recipes contain ingredients found in the wilderness