31 August, 2005

Orienteering

As a child, my mother thought it was fun to take two children, a map and a compass into the woods...and actually try to accomplish something.

Mad?

Perhaps.

But I'll be ever grateful she introduced me to orienteering.

Sure, sure, GPS units are cool. Geocaching must be quite fun, what with the walking around playing with electronic toys and finding goodies and all.

But it can't possibly compare to the sheer accomplishment of translating land features to markings on the map, while using a simple magnet to find other specific locations...

all while competing against the clock and other teams.

So I enrolled in a seminar course at my college to refresh my skills. Imagine, I can get college credit for wandering around in the woods!

This weekend, we sojourned to Mt. Falcon, which is located in the front range of our beautiful Rocky Mountains.

It was a perfect Colorado morning, that is to say, cool, sunny and crisp. We wandered about, taking headings.

I did well, except for failing to account for the deception of nearness in the different mountain ranges. My map reading is rusty after all.

Many places that I go, maps aren't even necessary. In CO, there are many places that require trail usage. And there are many where it's obvious where you are and where you want to go (distinctive/solitary mountain, canyon, etc).

So I've got work to do.

As a classmate pointed out, it's great practice for adventure racing. I think I would kick ass at that sort of thing.

Drop me in an unknown place with a compass and a few supplies, and I'll find my way out.

Either that or I'll take up with a band of nomads and never come back.

Who can tell?

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