[pct-l] Navigation myths and truths

Jim & Jane Moody moodyjj at comcast.net
Tue Apr 12 13:36:56 CDT 2016

It seems like a good time to repost this tutorial, which Gary Schenk first almost 3 years ago. 


Enjoy - and speaking French is not required. 


----- Original Message -----

From: "Douglas Tow" <douglastow at gmail.com> 
To: "Pct-L" <pct-l at backcountry.net> 
Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 1:41:56 PM 
Subject: [pct-l] Navigation myths and truths 

Navigation myths: 

1. Every trailhead or trail split will be clearly marked as to where the 
PCT goes. 
2. Mapreading and compass skills are not necessary. 
3. If you get off trail (bathroom break, seeking water, finding camp), you 
will easily be able to find it again, or see other hikers moving down the 
4. If there are no trails branching off the PCT, you can't get off it 
(think snow, bald rock, meadows before vegetation growth, destroyed cairns, 
tree fall, darkness, water crossings, roads, even parking lots). 
5. Trail blazes are everywhere. 
6. Murphy's Law doesn't apply to navigation. 

Navigation truths: 

1. You won't like your new trail name if you get lost and require 
emergency rescue. 
2. If you can can't explain your paper map to someone else, you've got 
some work to do. 
3. Review your hiking day on the map, and look for expected peaks, lakes, 
streams, switchbacks, etc. Don't see them? Hmmm... 
4. Across snow and ice, the beaten path might not be the trail, merely 
other clueless people following footsteps. 
5. A good compass, like a seat belt, is worth having and using even if you 
never need it. 

Can we go get? 

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