Earth Connection is a school of primitive skills and wilderness survival located in Northern Virginia and North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham area) that has been in existence for over a decade. Our hands-on classes are reasonably priced because we don't believe in big price tags for primitive skills. That's just not natural!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lost? Not EC Students... Land Navigation

On 26-27 April, EC conducted its first Land Navigation class with 11 eager to get lost students. I am proud to say, no one got lost. But, that is not to say that they didn't try. I won't even mention the student who demonstrated extremely well the tendency for everyone to circle when lost.

Land navigation requires the use of many tools; the more experienced the navigator, the more tools he will utilize. Obvious examples of the simpler tools available are the protractor, map, compass, and pace count. Less obvious examples, that will take experience to appreciate, are the terrain, sun, stars, the direction water flows, wildlife, etc. As with any skill, proficiency in land navigation is based upon a firm knowledge of basic "tools."

This two day class covered all the basics tools of land navigation, including introduction to topographical maps and map symbols, pace counts to find distance, compass with and without a map, expedient direction finding (sun, stars, watch... all the standards and a few more), and a hands-on exercise in Shenandoah Mountain bushwhacking near Old Rag Mountain. We went over time in the first day's instruction. Despite the rain on both days we all learned to use map and compass.

The instruction that offered the most difficulty was declination adjustment. We are modifying this for next year. The handout was the most comprehensive we have made to date (over 24 pages). This too will be modified for next year to make the class even better, though everyone admitted that the class was not only educational but fun too!

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