Land Navigation Course 10-27-2012

When the leaves start to fall the guiding season winds down… until the snow flies! I’ve had plenty of time to hike with my son Alex, and have enjoyed sharing his adventures on my other blog,

Many months ago at a Flatbread Fundraiser I offered my Land Navigation Course as an auction item to support Mountain Rescue Service, of which I am a volunteer. Janis, of New London, NH placed the winning bid, and after some correspondence we choose today for the course. This morning she and 3 hiking companions joined me for some pretty heavy morning classroom, followed by a beautiful field trip in the Green Hills Preserve.

Some field exercises near the summit of Black Cap
Where am I?

All four of these women had ample hiking experience, much in the winter, and all had entertaining stories of close calls or mini-epics when confused and turned around in the wilderness, from Vermont to Alaska!

Land Navigation continues to be an oft neglected skill that I hope those who spend time in wild places continue to seek out. It’s a thrilling experience getting “lost” in the wilderness, but even more exciting finding your way back out again with more than simple “dead reckoning”.

In these structured 8 hour courses I try to convey the essential map & compass skills in as simple and easy to remember ways as I can… and for the most part I am successful  However it is always up to the student to practice their craft after leaving the structure of the course, and I was happy to see the eagerness of all 4 women to return home and hone these newly discovered (or revisited) natural skills.

Land Navigation Course for the AMC

I’ve partnered with the AMC this summer to offer my 8-hour Land Navigation Workshop through their Highland Center and Pinkham Notch locations. The Appalachian Mountain Club is such a historically rich and diverse organization with such a wide range of outdoor educational programs it really is an honor to get to work with them. I conducted a staff training event for some of their naturalists earlier in the season, and instructed a day at each location as part of a weekend workshop at both venues, the 2nd was this past weekend.

Class started at 9am and we covered improvised “survival” navigation, interpreting topographic maps, and proper use of a magnetic compass including triangulation, single point re-section, and creating white-out navigation plans. After lunch we headed out for a short hike up to Square Ledge for some practical app. I’m grateful to the AMC for helping get these important skills to more people who would like them, and look forward to the next opportunity to partner up again!