A few months ago, my dog and I were day hiking in the back woods of Big Sur. It was getting dark so I was heading back to base camp and decided to take a short cut down a steep escarpment.
I slipped. I tumbled and fell about 20 feet into a damp ravine. I heard a crack, and I was covered in mud. I closed my eyes and could feel the anxiety grow. I was by myself. I had little to no day light, and I was getting cold.
Here is what I did.
I was in pain. I felt my ribs and shoulder were impacted greatly. I needed to check for bleeding or broken bones but my movement was really restricted. I slowly propped myself up (took 30 min). It was pitch dark now. I used my hand to slide over my clavicle and over my rib cage to feel if anything broke the skin. NO bleeding or protuding bones!!! (You need to celebrate anything positive...it keeps you warmer)
My dog was licking my face.....which was awesome cause that removed the mud. I surveyed the area and could see I was in a protected ravine. Tons of brush and moss all around me. No direct wind access to my body. How Fortuitous! I slowly moved more brush and dry brushy material underneath me.
I needed some additional positive energy...something I associated with "it is going to be alright". Luckly, I always keep a candy bar in my fanny pack for packaged sunshine. After eating the chocolate, I used my remaining energy to secure my hood on my jacket, tuck my jeans and long johns into my socks. Got into a fetus position and cradled my dog for warmth.
12 hours later. I woke. My dog was still next to me. I didn't have much water left, but I drank what I had. It took me about 4 hours to get back to basecamp which was only a couple miles away.
1. Reset your mind for the task at hand.
2. Stop the bleeding. Evaluate your surroundings.
3. Use nature to your advantage. I gathered enough brush to stay off the damp ravine floor.
4. Leverage your gear. I used my head lamp to support my arm as I hiked back home. My right arm was almost useless as my shoulder bone was badly bruised.
4. Make a mental plan on how you will proceed. DO not get swallowed up by the pain. You will never make it out if you start feeling sorry for yourself.
5. Move. Once you have the energy, or you stop the bleeding, you need to move. Get back to a place you can get water, and help.
6. Happy trails!