Got Lost but Made it in Time

Got Lost but Made it in Time

I went to Segura de la Sierra to participate in an XC (cross country) paragliding competition. I got the feeling that I had good chances that day. It was a sunny day - the wind was perfect. The day before, I already did a good performance, so that day I was fully energized for the competition.

I flew 200 km (around 124 miles) paragliding for 8 hours, hit the sky limit a couple of times (during competitions there is a limit of altitude you cannot surpass or they disqualify you) and I was ahead of everyone else. I felt comfortable and tried to push even harder to gain more distance between me and the 2nd guy but apparently, the weather had another plan for me. I started to lose altitude, and then I knew it was time for plan B, to find a suitable spot to land and wait for someone to pick me up. I then realized I was in the middle of nowhere and the only thing I could see were trees and a small chance to get close to any road.

I spotted a small empty area, I did my best and landed without any issue. Once I was on the ground, I put the paraglider in its bag and started walking and carrying all the equipment trying to find somewhere accessible by car so that I could be picked up. It was already dark and my bottle of water was half empty. Thanks to an external battery, I could light the way with the help of my mobile phone but I got disoriented and, at some point, I got lost.

I kept walking for hours. My phone did not have any signal because I was in the middle of the forest. I started climbing to find a higher area where I could get to call someone. From time to time I sent signals with my Spot, but the bad thing about these things is that you never know if someone is receiving them. I never lost hope, knowing that someone was on the other side, tracking every step I took.

I passed by a couple of abandoned warehouses and I shouted thinking that someone could hear me but I had no luck. At least I knew that I had somewhere to sleep if things went south so that was a relief. I still had some energy bars and I replenished the bottle of water from a small creek.

It was 3.00 a.m. and I had been walking in circles for hours now. I was ready to sleep in one of the empty warehouses when suddenly I saw the light of a lantern. I jumped and started running in the direction of the light. It was the Guardia Civil (police force in Spain). They received the signals of my Spot and they were tracking me all night and they finally found me.

They drove me back to the closest town and I spent the night in a hotel. I called my parents to calm them down and asked them to pick me up in the morning. They drove me back to Segura de la Sierra the next day just in time to prepare my paraglider for the competition and finish to win the competition.


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