There are a lot of ways to die in the desert. However, Cody Lundin is a survival expert who has spent his entire life teaching people how to avoid that fate.
Lundin teaches primitive and modern survival skills at his Aboriginal Living Skills School in Prescott.
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He said it's impossible to boil a lifetime of survival training down to a few finite points — but he helped us sketch out a few guidelines people should follow to stay alive if stranded in Arizona's harsh wilderness.
1. Let someone know before you go: Lundin said you should always tell at least two people where you are going and when you'll be back. If you don't check in at the agreed time, those people will call rescuers to start looking for you.
2. Don't depend on cell phones: Most desert/mountain/forest areas have little to no cell service. Lundin said that depending on cell phones for GPS and communication is a sure way to end up lost. Compounding the problem is battery life. Even if you manage to hike to a high point where cell service is likely, the battery could be dead by the time you get there.
3. Pack plenty of supplies: Any trip to the wilderness, whether in a car or on foot, should include plenty of food and water — especially water! Lundin said dehydration can quickly lead to disorientation and death. And never plan on finding water during a hike. Springs, streams, wells or other water sources could be dry or simply farther away than you thought.
4. Stay with the car: Lundin said almost all rescues will find the car before they find the person. Rescuers search large areas by air and cars are much easier than people to spot from above. Lundin said cars can provide shelter from the elements and reflective surfaces that can be used to signal rescuers.
5. Create contrast and movement: Make yourself stand out from the wilderness in any way you can. Lundin said it's a good idea to use bright cloth to signal distress. Sticks and rocks can be arranged on the ground to make signs that say "SOS" or "Help." Lundin said if there are aircraft flying over, wave your hands, arms, jump — anything to make yourself stand out from nature.