The Essential Angler - Navigation and Communication
When going on a fishing adventure, I always look at the destination in great detail, map the route, find local contacts, and in general have a good understanding about the area I am going to. But the one thing that always happens to me is.... the destination never looks like what is in my "Minds Eye".
Not supprising, even a spot that is next to one you have visited a hundred times, has it's own particular features unlike any other. I have fished open meadows with rolling hills on one side, gone over the rolling hills, and found a stream zig-zaging through Juniper canyons! And if you did not know that one was next to the other....seperated by just a mile or two.... You could swear that they could never be "side by side".
A map of the area that you are going to visit is a must! Using a compass with that map, for a short orientation when you get there can be very helpfull in an emergency situation. I have 3 map sources I use for new trips, 2 I carry in the truck, one I access on-line before I go. When I hit the trail, I have a very clear understanding of my suroundings, from a "Topographical" standpoint. I know what type of terrain I will encounter and what the primary vegitation will be, as well as my elevation
One of the first things I do when I arive is observe, spend some time looking at my suroundings, scouting out "landmarks" that can be used for direction control in case of disorientation.
One of the things my Dad taught my brothers and In is how to use yourself as a compass. In the morning, from sunrise to about 10 am, if you face the sun and outstrech your arms, you are facing the East, your back is to the West, left arm is North, right arm is South. The reverse is true from 2pm till sunset. If you studied a map before you left, and had a good sense where nearby roads, villages, or towns might be, you should be able to find your way.
Becoming disoriented while in the wilderness can be very dangerous! Even seasoned travelers have this happen on occasion. It is important to keep your cool! STOP! Get grounded, get your bearing points established, then continue, stoping every 15-30 min. to check bearings and direction!
DO NOT TRAVEL AFTER DARK:
If darkness begins to settle in, and you have not reached your destination, STOP!
Set up camp for the night and begin again in the morning! DO NOT attempt to walk out by flashlight or headlamp!
If you become "Lost" and have little hope of completing a trek to your destination because of exaustion, injury, or simply because you cannot get oriented, STAY PUT!
Allow yourself time to acclamate to your suroundings. Then plan a stratagy for your rescue.
NOTE: Large objects in the area that you will be traveling can be used as effective tools for navigation. Trees when kept on the right or left shoulder and at the same distance form you will allow you to walk in a complete circle, returning to your place of origin
Let people know where you are going, and when you will return!
Bring the cell phone, calls sometimes can be made from remote areas, but it's not a guarantee!
In an emergency, 3 objects in a triangle that can be seen from the air spells HELP!
Your marking tape, whistle, and space blankets can all be effective ways of communication in an emergency.
I carry signal flares used for boating, have not had to use one yet, but if I do I want to be seen. Smoke is also a most effective signal device. A good product for this is the small smoke bombs that kids use on the 4th of July. A few of these in a zip-lock in your survival kit is a plus!
Wednesday Ill wrap this up
There is something to be said for being prepared BEFORE going on that trip of a lifetime. An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure... words to live by
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