In summary, when the proper authorities are notified you are missing, if you are within two miles of your planned route, you have a near 100% chance of being located by search and rescue efforts within 24 hours. Remember, that search effort will begin when authorities are notified. It is very important to use trail head registers and a safety net of informing family, friends, or a local authority of your plans and route. Setup a point and time where if you do not check in, to assume that something has gone wrong and to have yourself reported as missing. Surviving when lost requires you to follow these steps:
Never hike without a plan. Let a friend, relative or local authority know your plans and route. Sign in on trailhead registers and stick to your planned route. Note any changes on trailhead registers.
Always carry a small survival pack on your immediate person when you are in the backcountry. A pocket knife, matches, survival candle, trash bag, emergency poncho, a length of thin nylon cord, a space blanket, a whistle, and a couple of candy bars should be the bare minimum. You should carry this in a pants pocket or other container firmly attached to your body.
Stay calm. Panic can kill. Sit down and stay put until the fear, anger, and or frustration has gone from the system. Do not convince yourself if you walk for another hour you may figure it out.
Hug a tree and stay put. Do not wander around. Try to be close to a clearing to aid aerial searchers in locating your position. If you are within two miles of your planned route, you have an almost 100% chance of being rescued in 24 hours.
Stay warm and dry. Keeping warm should be your number one priority. Watch for hypothermia and don't be complacent because it is the summer or you are in an arid region. Hypothermia can happen almost anywhere.
Stay well hydrated. Don't ration your water unless your situation is dire. Never drink blood or urine in an effort to hydrate yourself. Be cautious when drinking water from rivers, lakes or streams. Dehydration can kill
Seek shelter. This will aid you in staying comfortable and helps prevent dehydration. Stay out of direct sun if possible during the heat of the day. Keep out of the rain and wind.
Don't ration your food. Eat when you hungry to keep your system in balance. Learn about what plants and berries are edible before your trip. Insects, worms and grubs can be an excellent source of food.
Being lost can be a very traumatic experience. Like everything else when going outdoors some careful planning with the right equipment can prevent a disaster from happening. When you realize that you are lost your first goal should not be to find your own way out, but to survive and wait for help to arrive.