I got lost today while out goatwalking. It was a frightening feeling, and a good reminder for me.
I started off planning to go to a meadow just across the road, where the wild blueberries are thick on the ground. After an hour of picking these, I decided to cross the adjacent swamp and check on the wild blackcurrants. Then, once across the swamp, I got distracted by a clump of huckleberries I'd never noticed before. Still distracted, looking for more huckleberries, I took a different way back, through the forest.
I'd gone quite a way when I realized that nothing looked familiar. The landscape here is all hills and hollows, with lots of swampy ground between the hills, and it's very easy to wander off-track. I kept going; still, nothing was familiar. It suddenly became clear to me that I was out in the forest with no compass, no matches, no rain gear, no whistle, and no-one knowing which direction I'd gone. How stupid I had been!
I stood still and looked for the sun through the trees. It wasn't where I thought it would be; in fact, I'd been completely turned around. I watched the sun until I could tell which way it was moving. The time was around noon, so now I know roughly which direction was northwest and I headed that way, knowing that if I kept going that direction, I would eventually reach the road.
In just a few minutes, with a feeling of great relief, I found the meadow where I'd started out.
It's quite likely that the goats knew exactly which way to go and would have led me home at milking time. However, it was a scary feeling knowing that I was lost without supplies. As I said, it was a reminder to me not to be so complacent and to pay more attention to what I'm doing when I'm in the forest.