Three Tips to Avoid Getting Lost on Hikes

Hiking pic

John Heintz of Chicago, Illinois, worked as an English teacher and debate coach at Niles West High School District 219 between 1990 and 1995. When he is not working, John Heintz enjoys hiking.

A fun hike can quickly turn disastrous if you get lost. Keep these three tips in mind to avoid getting lost:

1. Carry a map. Always travel with a map of the area where you are hiking. A physical map is ideal since the map app on your phone may not work out in the wilderness, where reception is spotty. In a pinch, see if the trailhead has a map of the area either as a brochure or as a sign. If it is a sign, take a picture of it so you can carry it with you.

2. Use nature as a guide. If you keep track of the signs nature provides, you will be less likely to get lost. For example, knowing the sun rises in the East and sets in the West provides you with a constant compass, provided you can see the sun. Similarly, the wind in the United States typically blows in from the West. Be wary of using moss to discern direction, as it often grows on both sides of trees in densely forested areas.

3. Limit side trips. Hiking is all about getting out and exploring nature, and sometimes your exploration leads you off the main path. Doing so can offer spectacular views of wildlife, nature, and vistas, but it also greatly increases your chances of getting lost. Pay very close attention to where you are in relation to the main trail. Periodically stop and turn around to examine your path from the opposite direction, as trails can look vastly different coming down them the other way.


The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Upcoming AbilityLab

AbilityLab pic

John Heintz works as a higher education consultant combining his years of experience in law and education, basing his operations in Chicago, Illinois. Away from work, John Heintz devotes himself to civic and charitable causes in and around the city, among these the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The organization, also known as the RIC, has received designation as US News and World Report’s “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” since 1991.

The RIC is a non-profit organization that has operated since 1953. The RIC is currently experiencing an addition to its clinical research efforts in the form of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, a research hospital devoted to exploring advances in rehabilitative care.

The facility, which will open in early 2017, houses several centers of research pertaining to matters of the spinal cord, nerve, bone, and muscles, as well as pediatric and cancer-related illnesses. Once functioning, the AbilityLab will offer researchers and practitioners a free space to forge new rehabilitative treatment options for patients around the world. For more information about the RIC and news of upcoming events, visit

The Real World Experiences That Drive Student Success

John Heintz Chicago
John Heintz, Chicago

Currently a higher education consultant for a startup based in Spain, John Heintz has extensive Chicago-area leadership experience that includes a position as chief legal officer and assistant superintendent of operations with Niles Township High School District 219. Holding an MBA from the University of Chicago, John Heintz has a strong interest in the hiring and recruiting process, as well as in creating an innovative and entrepreneurial organizational culture. He has written extensively on aspects of educational and management philosophy.

Describing the relationships that define the “character and competence” of an educational institution, Mr. Heintz points to a strong correlation between students’ participation in extracurricular activities and overall achievement. He emphasizes that gaining real life experiences is essential in the process of learning. Whether this involves studying language abroad or presenting before real audiences, these experiences broaden students’ understanding of how the world actually works.

Sustained student involvement and academic growth do not occur without a strong collaborative framework at the faculty and administrative levels. Rather than simply reacting to problems as they arise, educational leaders must work to foster a network of stakeholder participation in positive outcomes and engage proactively with community members, parents, teachers, and the students themselves.