True North Blog

Congratulations to a New Crop of Navigators!

Congratulations to a New Crop of Navigators!

Congratulations to the students from Venture Outdoors who just completed Basic Wilderness Navigation.  Eleven adventurous members – two of whom traveled from as far away as Cleveland – participated in the two session course.  And lest anyone think that just because the word “basic” is in the title that it must have been easy, let’s just say that it wasn’t your average walk in the park!

During the initial classroom session, which was graciously hosted by Exkursion, an independent outfitter in Monroeville, we started by learning the fundamentals of a topographic map and the various types of compasses.  Certainly, there was quite a bit of initial head scratching since few of the students had ever done anything like it, but by the end of the evening they were confidently plotting bearings on a map, and they could easily explain the difference between Magnetic North, Grid North, and True North.

Now, while most navigation courses would have ended there, never once setting foot in the woods, our students took it one bold step further …

Everyone met on a crisp Saturday morning at Hartwood Acres County Park to begin the field session of the course.  After a brief review and a few practice routes, the students began pushing their way through the bushes and brambles, over and under downed trees, leaving the trails and roads far behind as they worked their way towards a variety of destination objectives.  All of the students were so good in fact that they later accepted a challenge normally reserved for more advanced courses: searching for a geocache location … without a GPS!  Using only their newly developed skills and a standard USGS map, the group navigated their way to within just a few meters of the objective and quickly found it

Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook and YouTube.

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