Thursday, February 21, 2013

WTC Class 3

While you learn about all aspects of wilderness travel in the WTC course that I am taking, it is fair to say that the main emphasis of the class is on navigating the wilds via your compass and map.

Class 3 started this learnin' in earnest with all of the lectures and class work focusing on the basics (what is latitude?) to the harder stuff (what the heck is a universal transverse mercator?) and everything in-between.

I think it is fair to say that most people can look at a map and figure out where they are and where they want to go. However, when dealing with topographic maps, they offer a wealth of information compared to a general street map and if you work at it, you can get a lot out of the map. For example, topographic maps have contour lines which tell you things like elevation, features of the land (mountains, streams, gullies, etc.) and once you learn those features, you have a great sense of what the land actually holds for you and how hard your travel over the land will be (if you are using topographic maps to get around I am betting your level of hardness will be somewhere around ridiculously hard).

Of course, practice makes perfect (yes, yes PERFECT practice makes perfect) so lots of my homework and upcoming outings will be all about putting this new-found knowledge of orienteering to work on the map and in actual situations. This will be tough for me because when I am out in the outdoors I want to be looking up and around not buried in a map but it is worthwhile to learn so I might sacrifice a little bit of outdoorsy-ness now for the skillz I will be learning in this class.

Class 3- officially recapped!


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