Surviving the Smokies: your guide to getting out alive

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Experienced hikers in Knoxville said even the easiest of hikes pose a risk for people who venture into the national park.

Ed McAlister, the owner of River Sports Outfitters in Knoxville, said you can survive up to three days without water, and three weeks without food. However, it's a life or death situation anyone hiking the Smokies can find themselves in.

"You can drive off any of those roads and get off and start walking -- you'll be lost in five minutes,"
McAlister said. The avid hiker traversed the Smokies for years and even he admitted he has gotten lost before.

He said even for the easiest of hikes it is important take a few simple tools: a water bottle, jacket, and first aid kit could help you get out alive.

"To me it's like standard equipment no matter what time of year it is,"
he said.

However, if you do get lost, a map and compass are your guide out. McAlister recommended staying put unless you have those tools.

"If you don't, then you tend to start going in a bunch of different directions, then you really get disoriented and you may not be more than a hundred yards."

And if you get hurt, the best chance of survival is to stay put. In desperate situations, drink from running water. Hiking experts also say bring a whistle to scare off wild animals.

Also, tell someone where you're going and when you plan to be back. You can even leave a note in your car before you go.