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oldfatguy

OFG out Wandering About

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Went out today to learn about a primitive and modern navigation tools - using a compass and map as well as a GPSr.  This was the topic of today's Bushcraft Survival Series: Navigation through Hartman Reserve Nature Center.

 

We started out talking about maps and navigation.  I did a presentation on using a GPSr, how they work, how you can use them with your computer to look at your track when you get back and how you can download information from your computer to the GPSr.  On Friday, Chris and I went out and placed a geocache to find and scouted out the area.

 

We started out with a map of the area. We had to go about 3/4 of a mile straight in, then change course to then angle to our destination. Chris showed us how to first orient our compasses with the map, then determine the bearing to the final spot. Next we determined our route, which direction and distance for the first leg, then how to change course and head to the next.

 

We headed down a wooded trail. For the middle of November, it was a beautiful day to be in the woods.

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We could see on the map when we had completed the first leg of the trip, as we entered the flood plain of the Cedar River.  This area was under water in 2008 during the floods.  This was evidenced by what we found. 

 

This tire and rim were about 15-20 feet up in the trees.

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Once we hit the flood plain, we determined the direction we needed to go. We would then shoot a bearing using the compass and find a landmark as far in the distance as we could see (In most cases, only 100 yards or so). We would then go to that landmark, shoot another bearing, and proceed to the next landmark.

 

Unless you were paying attention to what you were doing, it would be very easy to get off track in the area.

 

As we moved along, we would also compare our progress with the information from the GPSr. We also learned to shoot a bearing with the GPSr, then enter the approximate distance to establish a waypoint, then navigate to that waypoint.

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Once we made it to our destination, it was time to head back.

Before we left our starting point, we marked a waypoint on the GPSr.  To return, we just headed back to that waypoint.  With the GPSr, you can also use the "back track" feature, that will guide back along the path you just came. 

 

Using the map and compass, we could reverse the bearings and head back that way.  The important piece of information you need when using a map and compass is that you have to know were you are.  We practiced finding our location based on landmarks shown on the map to confirm our location.

 

On the hike out, you could also see that we were not alone in the woods.

 

A great day to be out in the woods and this session was very good practice using a compass and map to navigate.

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looks like a great day in the woods ofg. i love orienteering, weather its map and compass, gps or all natural. i just set up a course for our scouts yesterday. it was great weather for it.

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Fun. What's the difference between a GPS and a GPSr?

Terminology - most people use the acronym incorrectly. 

GPS stands for "global positioning satellite".    (Some refer to this as a "global positioning system", which is a bit more vague, as it could refer to a lot of other things than the satellites used for this.)

What you have in your car or carry with you is actually a GPSr, a "global positioning satellite receiver". 

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I would love to learn how to read a compass I read in Les's book Survive how to read a map compass

I'd be happy to show you, Kim.  Put it on the list for Farmageddon II.

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I see a lot of folks who don't know the compass. Most people today use the electronics. I guess the GPS stuff is O.K. I don't get along with stuff like that. I don't even have a cell phone. Using a computer for internet access like this is my limit. I think the folks at "mytopo" probably think I'm their best customer. Compass to me is second nature and I'm too old to start messing with anything else. 

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i love my gps® lol yes ive been calling it wrong for 20 years. its the best coolest toy i own, but that's what it is to me. its fun to play with. i still prefer maps and compass work for navigation.i love seeing how accurate i can be using just pacecount and compass. i know a way to use a compass and a pencil and paper (no map) that allows me to act like a human gps and beesline right back to my starting point. i always set up our orienteering courses for our scouts and they love it. i sort of set it up like geocashes with a prise or a clue at each leg or every couple legs of a course.  the next one i do is going to be a "closest to the finish point" style competition. they will all get the same paper with bearings, distances but no clues and no identifying leg points. they will have to just rely soly on there pace count and how accurately they can use a compass.  i love that stuff  :thumbsup:

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I have always had a pretty good sense of direction, probably from wandering around the woods so much when I was young.

 

When I am hiking someplace new, I will always try to find a map of the area, pull it up on Google maps or something to get a sense of what is there and the landmarks (rivers, ponds, hills, etc).  It took me a while to figure out how to use a compass and map, but once you to, it is pretty easy.  The key is to know where you are on the map.

 

I enjoy just wandering around, enjoying the area as I explore. 

 

I do like having the GPSr with me though.  I will mark the spot where I parked, which makes finding your way back there much easier.  I also like having the track afterwards, so I can see where I was on the map, how far I went, how fast, how much elevation change, etc.

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thats what i like doing with mine ofg. i have mapped out all the trails at matsells and upload them to my topo software. and vice versa to some other areas. good stuff.

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I have always had a pretty good sense of direction, probably from wandering around the woods so much when I was young.

 

Oh yah uh huh I saw that.  :unsure:

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nobody has a natural sense of direction. if you put ear plugs in, blindfold someone and have them stand on the 50 yard line of a football field and walk to an endzone  almost everyone will wind up out of bounds.  natural sense of direction actually comes from a persons ability to pick up indicators in nature. like what cheek has the sun on it, what direction the wind blows etc. some people subconsciously pay attention to these things while others don't. that's where the true sense of direction comes from. Ive been lost in the Woods before, but i always found my way back...when i wanted to.

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Oh yah uh huh I saw that.  :unsure:

...once I saw a map.  lol

 

Isn't "persons ability to pick up indicators in nature" part of a natural sense of direction?

 

There have been times where I have flown into someplace at night and gotten disoriented.  There was one time in Chicago, where my sense of direction got shifted a quarter of a turn, so I would think east was north.  I finally got up early one morning and watched the sun come up to convince myself that was east instead of north.

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I hate technology I can't figure it out I will stick with old school compass

It's actually pretty simple once you figure it out, SG.  We can do a session on using a GPSr at Farmageddon II.

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There were still a few green plants to be found.  This is Mullin. The first year, it grows as a rosette very low to the ground. The second year, it will push up a tall stalk and bloom.

 

This can be made into tea and is a very effective decongestant.

The long dry stalks can also be used as a torch - melt or press pine resin into the dried flower and light it.

 

Mullin - rosette

 

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Mullin - stalks

 

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There were also some milkweed seed pods still around.

 

Milkweed seeds

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This is an area just past the gazebo to the north, which was also blown out during the flood in 2008.

There is a bend in the river, which during the flood, went straight.

 

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In this aerial view, you can see the bend in the river and then the contours in the field from the old channel and from the flood.

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Continuing down the trail

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Here is a bird nest that was just off the trail.  During the summer, you would walk right by, not even knowing it was there.

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A "Bobber Bug Duplex"

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The last of the 14 caches I found today along the trail.

A nice hike of about 5 1/2 miles.

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