Chapter 12 - Navigation
Nature has provided many of its creatures with keen senses
of direction. Species of birds migrate thousands of miles
between warm southern climes and northern breeding
grounds. Some butterflies also are migratory, and animals
as diverse as honeybees, bats, whales, and reindeer seem to
move with great certainty about where they are and where
they wish to go.
Humans do not have the gift of strong directional
instinct. What we do possess, however, is the ability to
think clearly. By supplementing our reasoning with a few
navigational instruments, we can make our way through
even the most complicated wilderness terrain.
Navigation is problem solving of the highest order.
It demands that you pay attention to details and make sense
out of many bits of information. As with most outdoor skills,
navigational competence can be developed only with practice.
Increase your awareness of topography by observing your
surroundings on outdoor trips and noting the lay of the land.
Imagine the most likely locations for trails, campsites, portages,
and summit routes, and then see if your guesses are right.
Hone your ability to use maps and compasses by referring to
them from the time you leave the trailhead. Before long you
will seldom find yourself confused.