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Saturday Navigation & Orienteering Workshop (Beginner to Advanced)

If you are already an expert navigator, this class will give you great teaching tools for use when hiking with novices. If you are “navigationally challenged,” then we hope the simple way we teach these skills will open a world of understanding for you in the wilderness. Your instructors Kim & Chris Chisholm have 15 years of Search & Rescue experience as well as a lifetime of hiking/backpacking to share. Workshop Cost is just $65 for one person, $45 per additional friend/family memberor for anyone who attended our introductory afternoon/evening nav classes. Please arrive early in order to complete any registration information, view recommended books and answer questions. Otherwise, our itinerary today includes:

10:00 Introductions and the Top 5 Survival Skills: We’re going to start the workshop promptly at 10 a.m. with a quick go-round about your motivations for attending, your hopes for specific skills to learn, so that we can cater to the group’s specific interests. However, it’ll be a quick intro because we’re going to launch into a quick and intensive training on what to do in case of a wilderness emergency, including how to make the decision when to “hike out” versus “stay put.”

10:15 Top 10 Lostproofing Skills: The most important skill for lostproofing is awareness. In fact, some people say there is no such thing as being lost, just in being unaware, so we will practice skills to improve your spacial recognition including wide-angle vision, expanded hearing, and new ways of walking appropriate to various environments, among other skils. However, we also have a full list of risk management tips that we’ll share from our Search & Rescue background, from our “take” on the 10 essentials, to the “take home message” of every risk management training we’ve ever had: how to say “stop” before problems occur.

10:30 Top 10 Natural Navigation Skills: There are some very important skills to learn in order to negotiate your way through nature without map or compass. For instance, do you know how to follow the contours of a hill in order to stay above thick brush and away from steep cliffs? How about lining up landmarks in order to go straight? We’ll talk about these skills and practice others as allowed by time and location.

10:45 Top 10 Orienteering Skills: You will be amazed by some of the incredible ways to find north-south-east-west in order to walk in a straight line toward your destination on a map. One of our favorite is floating a leaf in water, and placing a pin on the leaf. Amazingly, it points to magnetic north. We’ll demonstrate that, and some other ways to orient yourself to the cardinal directions in city and wilderness, from GPS to the stars.

11:00 Map & Compass Training: No matter whether you have GPS or not, the crux of these skills is understanding map and compass. If you are an expert navigator, you know how frustrating it can be to help novices undersand maps, and if you are a novice, you know how frustrating it can be to read one. But no worries, as our method of using maps and compasses should alay your fears, even when it comes to contour lines and magnetic declination.

11:15 Map ON Compass Training: We also have an original, simplified, sure-fire, four-step process for putting map-to-compass which we think you’ll love. This section of the workshop will be key to your afternoon orienteering activites, so we’ll work through the lunch hour with anyone who feels the need to practice more before doing orienteering challenges in the afternoon.

11:30 Preparing for Orienteering Challenges: We're going to study maps of the area, then head outside for the last portion of the morning in order to prepare for success on afternoon orienteering challenges, such as comparing localized maps to what we see outside, and testing to see if you are “right or left dominant” when walking in nature since everyone veers left or right when they actually want to go straight.

12:00 Working Lunch: You have the option of having lunch outside, going into the Cabela's Cafe, returning to the conference room to review anything you need extra help with that we covered in the morning, or taking the "advanced track" and finishing all the introductory geocache challenges we have set up around Cabela's.

1:00 Basic Orienteering Challenges & GPS Geocaching: Now let the fun begin as we send you out on "geocache" orienteering challenges that we have set up for you, while advanced students can run through these near-by geocaches quickly on their own, then take care of intermediate challenges we have set up nearby.

2:00 Intermediate Challenge: Now take it to the next level with an orienteering challenge around the undeveloped areas of Cabela’s, while advanced students can start the long distance challenges we have set up within a mile of Cabela's.

3:00 Advanced Challenges: Finally, you can either go with us to find geocaches in the area using GPS, or advanced students can work on their own to finish locating new geocaches (GPS & Map/Compass Needed) that we have placed in the area. We will always be in touch with one another using walkie-talkies with you, and you will have until 4:00 to complete your orienteering challenges.

4:00 Questions

Please Bring:

- Hats, warm clothes, and rain gear if necessary for the outdoor portion of class.

- Notebook plus Pencil & Red/Blue Pen if at all possible for good highlighting of map contour lines.

- Compass if possible. A surveyor’s compass won’t work, as you’ll need a map/orienteering compass. We’ll have some available for sale, or go online to purchase in advance, or shop Cabela’s before class. If you are buying a new one, get a compass with “adjustable declination” if possible, and a mirror also if possible. For learning, the Rothco Orienteering Compass Item #337 is the cheapest $10 okay one. For one you can trust to last longer out in the wilderness, get the Brunton 15TDCL Compass in the $35 price range. More expensive compasses are fine as well.

- GPS if you have one. Please be sure to read its instructions and download maps to it before attending, because we will not have time to individually instruct students on their personal GPS. However, we will help you fine-tune your use of it.

- Any of the other 10 Essentials you want with you. A great description of the 10 Essentials can be found at

Join us at one of these workshops and at any of our other Saturday Workshops on themes of survival, wildlife and ethnobotany. Space is currently available! Call with a Credit Card, Send A Check, or Use PayPal to Register for this workshop running 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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