Friday, May 23, 2014

Navigation and new (used) gear

Last Sunday I took a class from REI about navigation basics with a map and compass. It was at Blackwell Forest Preserve - McKee Marsh in the western suburbs of Chicago. There were eight of us with two instructors who had a lot of experience in the back country. We got topographic maps of the preserve/marsh and a basic Burton compass. We hiked a trail towards Mt Hoy and used the maps to keep track of our location (although the trail was pretty self evident). We learned to read the symbols on the map and the best way to measure your distance (with a string). 

We got up to Mt Hoy (around 850' I think) and scoped out the area. It was a beautiful day and we could see the top of the Sears (Willis) tower. I forgot to take a picture of course. We headed back down and had our packed lunches. Then we went over some compass basics and headed back up the "mountain". From there we learned how to get bearings from the map and use the compass to point ourselves in the right direction. We also practiced getting bearings from objects we could see and find ourselves on the map. 

It was pretty neat to figure out and an inexpensive tool compared to GPS. I'll need to keep practicing my skills. 

When I was at my parents' house, my mom also found in our attic some old camping cookware of my aunt's when she was a Campfire Girl. Very random, as we aren't sure how it got to our house. But she's agreed to let me borrow it and I'm pretty excited!

Yesterday I stopped at REI on my way home and got some new boots as well. For my trip in Wyoming I need good hiking boots and was given a list of specific brands and models. They helped me out and did a good job with the up sale. I'm a proud new owner of some Asolo hiking boots. They are leather and pretty stiff but should last me forever I'm thinking :). I took them for their first hike when I got home and we went to the back pasture with Sadie. It was a good time and no blisters on our short trip. Sadie loved the water!

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