Last year, our Explorer Jacquie hit up our Queensland Wilderness Navigation weekend, where a bunch of rag-tag adventurers learnt the correct way to use a map and compass to locate themselves in the bush. In the age of Google Maps, let Jacs inspire you to get back to basics with the reliable methods of analogue nav.


I feel like a complete boss now that I can say I know how to read a map (the squiggly lines actually mean something!), use every single component of a compass, and navigate through the wild – finding my own way through untouched territory.

The Motley Crew

Our crew ranged from young 20-somethings to middle-aged parents. What we all had in common though, was a love of adventure and a desire to not get lost whilst seeking out unbeaten tracks and locations.

Jacquie Tapsall, hit the road jac, navigation course, wilderness navigation escape, mt barney, south east, queensland, reading maps

Some of us had hiked a lot, where others were just getting started. It was great learning about what got people going and what type of adventures some of the crew had done so far. It’s cool how one community can bring together so many people from different walks of life. We were all unsure of what the weekend would bring for us, but completely eager to get started.

Take The Leap

Without fail I always get a bit of anxiety when meeting a whole bunch of new people. In the past I haven’t gone and done things I’ve really wanted to do, because I’ve been worried about not knowing anyone. I am now majorly *eye rolling* myself, because hindsight’s great, and a bitch. Since getting involved with the We Are Explorers crew I’ve just taken the leap and got involved with as much as I’ve wanted. In the words of the punk kid’s tattoo from ‘We’re the Millers’, I’ve had no RAGRETS.

One of the girls I met on the Wilderness Escape weekend was also saying to me she felt silly, because she was worried about not knowing anyone and nearly didn’t sign up for the Nav course because of it.

Jacquie Tapsall, hit the road jac, navigation course, wilderness navigation escape, mt barney, south east, queensland, river crossing

In a way, it was comforting to know that I’m not the only one that thinks like this, but imagine how many people (including past me) missed out on an awesome opportunity to meet amazing people, to learn something new and most importantly create epic memories, because they held themselves back.

 

Convinced? We’re running a Wilderness Navigation Weekend in the Blue Mountains in March!

 

Not Getting Lost

We started out with a theory day on the Saturday. It was fantastic but man were our brains fried by the end of it! Day 2, was for navigation planning and putting the theory to practice. We each planned out a section of our hike. Then we took turns navigating each other’s sections, snaking around the bottom of Mt Barney.

It opened my eyes up to how much time you need to set aside to actually navigate through the bush, especially thick bush, to make sure you’re still on track.

A Teacher’s Infectious Enthusiasm

I don’t know if words can truly explain how much of a legend Innes Larkin from Mt Barney Lodge, is. His knowledge about not only navigation, but on hiking, wildlife and the environment, is so impressive. To delve into the mind of Innes for 2 days was such a privilege.

Jacquie Tapsall, hit the road jac, navigation course, wilderness navigation escape, mt barney, south east, queensland, innes larkin

Innes Larkin – Navigation Instructor

Not only was he knowledgeable, but he expressed everything he knew in such a captivating, story-telling fashion. All you wanted to do was buckle up and enjoy the ride, immersing yourself in what he was teaching you.

You can tell that Innes has truly found his passion and really wants to spread it around. He was really patient when I was getting my grid north and grid bearings mixed up and when I was having a mental blank trying to locate us. Apparently I was using the technique known as “lost and confused”.

His background in teaching really shines through, but mainly he just cares and wants everyone to learn as much as we can in the 2-day time frame.

If you see another Navigation Weekend pop up again, I urge you sign up ASAP! It’s changed the way I look at hiking and I feel pretty confident that I can plan out an ‘off the beaten track’ hike and not get lost.

Jacquie Tapsall, hit the road jac, navigation course, wilderness navigation escape, mt barney, south east, queensland, group shot

Practice does make perfect – so I’ll be heading out in the next couple of weekends to give my new-found skills a whirl!

 


Time To Escape

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Escape to Albany // Adventure Hub of the West (WA)