Being prepared in the wilderness is a theme that is always worth reading. News recently out of Utah brought to light the real value of teaching outdoor skills to our children.

When 10-year-old Malachi Bradley became separated from his family and got lost in the High Unitas Mountains outside of Salt Lake City Aug. 23, authorities mounted a major search effort.

Bradley’s family was fishing and gathering mushrooms near a remote mountain lake, far from any civilization. So when Bradley disappeared he faced days alone in a hostile wilderness environment. For any parent, the thought of a child lost in the mountains is a terrible one for certain.

Fears of exposure to the elements, wild animals, injury or death are all very real for anyone unprepared. Bradley, however, has a father who took the time to show him what to do in such an emergency, and the result was a happy ending to the event.

Using skills his dad taught him, Bradley hunkered down in one spot, which is critical to being found when lost.  He also built a shelter against some warm rocks in order to keep warm when the sun went down.  Also, he managed to find fresh water and actually modified a stick for spearfishing. Rescue crews located Bradley a day later in excellent condition.

“He seems unfazed by it, he’s in good condition. He’s a little hungry but he’s been checked out by medical crews and they say he looks good,” Uintah County Sheriff’s Cpl. Brian Fletcher told the Deseret News.

The fact that Bradley was found so early contributed to his good condition when found, and certainly the steps he took helped that happen. Taking more cues from his father, he made sure to not only remain in one place, but to remain clear of tree cover so that aircraft could spot him more easily. It might also help that Bradley is a kid. He described the entire adventure as “really fun,” but clearly understood the gravity of the situation.

 “It was weird not having anybody with me, but I just kept going. I knew I had to make it back or my family would be really sad,” Bradley told the Associated Press.

Photo credit: Dreamstime