Many times hiking or wilderness trails are not very well marked. This makes it extremely easy to get off trail and out of sight. While many lost hikers are found within a relatively short distance of the trail or their camp, the process can be a lot simpler if you make some tracks first.
Wildlife doesn’t have the option of having a set of tracks that will distinguish them from one of their own kind. Humans on the other hand wear shoes on their feet that often have a distinct and easily recognizable pattern. This can make you easier to find if you become lost or wander off the trail in the wrong direction.
Merely leave a photo of the tread of whatever hiking shoe or boot you are wearing in your vehicle at the trailhead or back at camp. If you don’t have a photo, make an impression on a sheet of tin foil. You can also simply use some dirt in a box to leave an impression of you tracks. This will make it easier to find you, especially if others have been using the trail.
Along with a message of where you are headed and when you expect to be back, leaving a set of footprints behind will also help if someone needs to find you.
Staying above the water line!