Last week, I followed with bated breath the story of the mother and daughter from the United States who were lost for four days in the bush on what was meant to be a one-day hike.

Thankfully, they were found - testament to the brilliant rescue services we have here in New Zealand - and are recovering.

It's hard to predict how you would face such a perilous situation until you are in one. Would survival instinct kick in?

When it comes to tackling the great outdoors, ignorance is certainly not bliss.


When a trip to Pak'n Save on a Saturday afternoon is about the most perilous situation you can find yourself in during an average week (honestly, it's only for the brave), it is easy to forget the real dangers we can face out in the wilderness.


People used to tackling the urban jungle on a daily basis could fool themselves into thinking that they can idle off into the wilderness for a couple of days, no problem.

I speak from experience. Last year, a few friends and I decided to tramp in the Lake District in Britain. We started out with such enthusiasm and vigour that we could have easily been mistaken for people who knew what they were doing.

Fast forward a few hours and, when we reached the top of a mountain - not the one we had been aiming for, but a mountain just the same - the fog came in, bringing with it a relentless torrent of rain and a biting wind.

We were wet and miserable and, before long, very lost. We made the decision to retreat back down the way we had come and luckily made it back to our cars exhausted but unscathed (although the friend who lost her iPhone to a swamp will argue otherwise). That day taught me how quickly an adventure can descend into disorientation and danger.

Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that many naive city-dwellers (such as myself) will only learn to respect Mother Nature after they wind up in a precarious situation. In a country full of landscapes that beg to be explored, hikers will undoubtedly continue to get lost - and hopefully found again.

But the story of the mother and daughter in jeopardy is a reminder of the need to be prepared as best you can for such expeditions. When it comes to tackling the great outdoors, ignorance is certainly not bliss.