Back in November, I took a navigation course with the Seattle-based Mountaineers, which seems like a pretty cool organization, other than the fact that when I arrived 15 minutes early to the evening portion of the course on a school night, the room was already half full of eager beavers gathered around tables, marking things off on their USGS quads, and not talking to each other. And I thought I was early. Jeez. It got worse – on the day of the practical portion (which I opted to do on the day that Daylight Savings ended so that my 4:30am wake-up call would really feel like 5:30am), I inadvertently arrived a blistering 45 minutes early to the trailhead….and several participants — not instructors — were already there. Wow.
After all that, though, I think you all should know that while I may not be able to figure out where I am in the backcountry, the course taught me how to be wicked good at following a bearing. I think that still leaves me lost. 🙂