Saturday, April 4, 2015


       Imagine this: you know you are going to get lost while in the Bighorn Mountains, and you can pack one tool to help you survive. What would serve you best? A knife? A lighter? A rope? None of these are what I would take. I would take my mind and within it, the principle of S.T.O.P.

S.T.O.P. stands for stop, think, observe, plan. Sounds easy, right? Well, this is one of those deals where it is easier said than done. When you’re lost, the first instinct can be to panic. So I have taken the liberty to add “T”, or “talk to yourself.” A voice, even if it is your own, has a calming influence. (Hmm, maybe Gollum had something going for him besides the ring...)

“S” stands for stop. Sit down on a rock or under a tree. Just stop. Unless you know exactly where you are going, or need medical attention, just stop.

The second “T” stands for think. The meaning of think is also pretty obvious. It means think about your situation, the last time you saw your group, or whether someone knows where you are (they should!). Basically, you are thinking about your situation. 

The “O” is for observe. Observe means to look at your surroundings, and what you have on hand or around you that could improve your situation. That’s the time when you need a knife. You’re just checking your inventory, because just about anything will help if think creatively.

“P” is for plan. You are creating a game plan for how to survive. You are determining whether if you need to build a lean-to because weather is coming in or it’s getting dark. Or maybe your plan is to backtrack, because you have plenty of daylight and water. Regardless, don’t move without a plan.

The principle of T.S.T.O.P. is simple, and yet it saves lives. So when lost, use T.S.T.O.P.
Or just don’t get lost. That would work, too.

-The Apprentice