By heading out on a WAE Wilderness Navigation Course near Melbourne, our Explorer Jean Baulch found her way to some fun times, new friends and greater confidence out in the bush.
As I doubled back and zigzagged, getting lost while using Google Maps to find the morning meeting point, I wondered if a navigation course was the exact place I needed to be or a sure sign I was a lost cause!
Keen to head along to a navigation course?
For the first half of the navigation course they gently wove our minds through the basics of map reading. By lunchtime our heads were swimming in contour lines and a surprising array of different ‘North’s. Our brows were furrowed as we glanced between orange markers, map and compass, calculating back bearings.
The instructors took the group one step at a time through each navigation tool, how each was used, how to combine them, and why we’d want to bother with all these mind-bending concepts and computations…to survive in the bush! As a small group of strangers we quickly bonded over the frustration and delight in learning these new skills, and our every question was answered patiently.
The afternoon was filled with a practical exercise: our cosy team wandered compass-first into the bushland, armed with some bearings that would guide us to distant orange markers. The jump from theoretical skills to practical application had us laughing and lost in no time, but you are never truly lost with a compass and map in hand (and a few nudges from the instructors).
When we emerged hours later it was with all the markers, a yearning for some snacks and a great sense of achievement. Learning in the bush meant the mistakes and successes weren’t just on paper, they were real situations that we got to fix and celebrate and experience.
There’s nothing better than being in a group of people who love the outdoor life, and learning new ways to navigate this outside world we so adore.
Bush skills to make you feel badass…