Off the Beaten Path

How do you orientate yourself?
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real_steel
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Off the Beaten Path

Post by real_steel »

I make maps and use coordinates on a daily basis cause that is what I do for a living. I am a survey draftsman. I have never in my life had to use a topo map and compass to find my way through an unmarked, unfamiliar territory. I would love to do this. I have access to pretty much all topo maps and I can print them on our large format printers at work. Is there any large public land in or around Texas (NM, OK) that has land features that can be used for navigation?

Can you get off trail at Big Bend. Is the park pretty much idiot proof with signs, markers and roads or would it be a place one could test their navigation skills.

I love to explore.
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BigJesse
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Re: Off the Beaten Path

Post by BigJesse »

Thats a very good question. It seems like the only area would be Big Bend. Sad if you think about it. I'd love to test out some navigation skills myself but when you know the area it sure is hard. lol
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DBX
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Re: Off the Beaten Path

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Big Bend is a great place to test your landmark navigation skills.

HOWEVER!!! There is a very steep learning curve and grading is harsh. No extra points for giving it a good try.

The place is big and unforgiving. You are a very small target. SAR has a limited window of time before their job becomes Recovery instead of Rescue.

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real_steel
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Re: Off the Beaten Path

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DBX wrote:Big Bend is a great place to test your landmark navigation skills.

HOWEVER!!! There is a very steep learning curve and grading is harsh. No extra points for giving it a good try.

The place is big and unforgiving. You are a very small target. SAR has a limited window of time before their job becomes Recovery instead of Rescue.

Plan... Do... Check... Adjust
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DUELY NOTED!

If you go to the NPS Big Bend website, you will find that they are only allowing guests to use 5 gallons of water per day. I spent last July working around Ft Stockton and Big Bend. I had to wear fire retardant clothing and I am not kidding you, I drank 3 gallons plus per day of water. It was miserable. Big Bend is definantly a winter time venture but I can't imagine having to carry all your water on your person for the whole trip. If it is even possible I would plan on navigating from water hole to water hole.
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DBX
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Re: Off the Beaten Path

Post by DBX »

Haven't been there since the late 70's. Worked a project down near Lajitas.
Very sneaky climate... It will suck every bit of moisture from you, without you feeling overly hot.
Beautiful country, though!

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GreyOne
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Re: Off the Beaten Path

Post by GreyOne »

My experience there was also from the 70's, and it was summer time. I had been working archaeological digs near Sheffield, and made a long weekend trip to the Big Bend. having been digging in the heat for a month I was well acclimated. Took a canteen (GI) of water on the short walk from the Basin camp area to the Window. It was a bit over 2 miles round trip, and I sucked air before I was halfway back. Lesson learned.

My answer would be the BB is a area you NEVER want to be lost in. Use a map and navigate by compass, sure, but going off trail is not wise over any distance.

Might think about the Arbuckles in Oklahma or over around Fort Sill. Lots of releif, good landmarks, and a lot more forgiving if you do get delayed.
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DBX
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Re: Off the Beaten Path

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Hadn't thought about Ft. Sill in a long time. Used to go there when I was a Boy Scout.

Plan... Do... Check... Adjust
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Re: Off the Beaten Path

Post by real_steel »

I reckon the desert would be a bad place to find out your navigation skills suck. I'm seriously thinking about taking a trip to the PCT next spring. I won't get off trail but the topography should be easy enough to test your compass.
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