Sunday, October 30, 2016

Wilderness Navigation - Compass & Map

Pawtuckaway State Park
At the top of Rocky Ridge, Pawtuckaway State Park
Left to right: Allison, Lovey, Susan & Brenda

No surprise that "Hiking" was voted the most popular activity! I wanted to set up a Wilderness Navigation course for the Nature Girls Meetup group but didn't know if it would be something that the members would be interested in. So I set up a poll listing 10 different outdoor activities and asked the members to vote - and Hiking won out. Based on the poll results, I had Steff secure a date and price with the groups guiding company, Mooney Mountain Guides, and we set up a meetup event for the course. The response was overwhelming and spots filled in no time!

On the day of the meetup event we met at Popovers in Epping, NH and over coffee and yummy popovers, we covered parts of a compass, Declination, Boxing the compass, and Boxing the compass & map. With practice maps we learned Aiming off, Points and Handrails. And finally we learned taking and following a compass bearing.  After a couple of hours we headed over to the Pawtuckaway State Park for the fun part!

In the parking lot Alex handed out maps and we "Boxed our compasses & maps" using a porta potty and a sign for reference. 

We broke up into two groups; the first group to plot coordinates between a bog and the Round Pond and then onto the "picnic area". 

Our group was led by Alex and we plotted coordinates up and over the Rocky Ridge, along the state park boundary to a bog, and then meeting up with group 1 at the saddle between Mt. Pawtuckaway and Rocky Ridge. 

We bushwhacked our way up to Rocky Ridge where we enjoyed the view and Alex showed us how to triangulate our position using two bearings, Mt. Pawtuckaway and Middle Mountain.

After lunch, we followed the state park boundary lines 
(marked by trees with blue on them) to a bog. 

From the bog, we hiked the short distance up to the saddle between 
Mt. Pawtuckaway and Rocky Ridge where we met up with group 1 led by Andrew.

From the saddle, our group hiked the White Blaze Trail for a
short distance passing huge boulders of The Devil's Den area. 

We bushwhacked along the bog, staying at an elevation of 400 feet until we came out to the road. And from there we hiked back up to the trailhead parking lot. 

I had a lot of fun today, the topic was interesting, easy to learn and Alex was fantastic! He was patient, laid-back, positive and loves to teach. If we had questions, he answered them and made certain we understood. Taking lessons from an AMGA guide, I was confident that we would learn the skills necessary for compass & map navigation, but also learn the most current skills used in the industry. Alex's services as a guide are invaluable and the group instruction was perfect for the Nature Girls. 

Alex Teixeira has been an AMGA guide since 2007. He has been with Mooney  Mountain Guides since 2010 and has been its owner since 2014.