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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Do You Have A Compass In Your Geocaching Pack?

How prepared are you as a Geocacher when going out into the wild?

Last night Darrylw4, The Bad Cop and myself were having our usual good time discussing geocaching. Of course we were doing it while recording The Geocaching Podcast which means the only major difference is the conversation was saved for you fine people to listen to later. Anyways, one portion of the conversation dealt with doing things old school. You know geocaching the way it was back near the beginning. We had printed pieces of paper (if we were lucky) that contained the cache information and the coordinates to find it.
Our GPSr may or may not have much more than an arrow and distance to target. Our logs were usually notebooks hand written with a pen. How primitive that sounds now but it brings up a great point. If you went into a large park, woods or forest and something goes wrong with your GPSr or smartphone. Lets say a few miles into unfamiliar territory. Would you be able to find your way back? Oh sure our ego boasts a hearty "no problem" , but in those circumstances where you are in thick foliage and the sun is behind the clouds and that trail system you are relying on has more twists and turns than an roller coaster ride. You sure you could find your way out?

Hense my suggestion that every Geocache take a note from the Boy Scout Merit Badge requirements and have a good ole standard compass and map of the area if possible as standard issue in your geocaching pack. You may snicker now but a person can get turned around real easy when venturing out. I can remember a couple of times with a GPSr and marking my car but not turning on the tracking function and then wandering off for a mile or so into a thick woods and having a heck of a time trying to refind my original path. All it takes is swamps, hollers and other obsticals to make you zig instead of zag and throw you off course.

Having a compass in your pack will help you find your way back quicker. Especially when your environment turns against you. Storms, nightfall and just being disoriented can get you into a bind really quick. Having the reassurance of a standard compass can give you a great boost right when you need it. We rely on our electronics to get us through which is fine until they fail. Be like the Boy Scouts and for your own sake - Be Prepared!

See you out on the trail!

Andy Headhardhat Smith

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

I don't have a compass, but as I do my caching during the day my watch is just as useful. Just got to remember how to use it properly to work out direction.