Traveler Tips: Navigate with a Compass

Navigation utilizing a compass is a lost and essential Pacific Northwest survival skill. I know what you’re saying – I’ve got my mobile phone, why not rely exclusively on it or a GPS receiver? Because batteries can die and gadgets can malfunction. A compass relies only on Earth’s magnetic fields and has been a trusted navigational tool for centuries. Getting Familiar with Your Compass Baseplate: Clear, so you can see the map below it, it has at least one straight edge for taking bearings and transferring them to your map. Ruler(s): Used with your map’s scale to determine distances. Direction-of-Travel Arrow: Tells you which direction to point the compass when you’re taking or following a bearing. Rotating Bezel: Also called the “azimuth ring,” this outer circle has 360 degree markings. Taking a Bearing Off the Map Say you want to travel from Mt. Ellinor to Mt. Washington in the Olympic Mountains on your next Pacific Northwest adventure. Lay the edge of the compass on the line between the two landmarks on the map, with the Direction of Travel arrow pointing from Mt. Ellinor to Mt. Washington. Turn the housing until the compass’s meridian lines are parallel to the map’s longitude lines. (Make sure the “N” on the housing points toward the top of the map.) The index mark indicates the true bearing – but not exactly the bearing you want to follow. To find true north, you have one more step. Correcting for Declination The needle points to magnetic north, not true north – by not accounting for the difference you can find yourself hundreds of miles off course. Since topographic maps are oriented to true north, you will have to correct for the difference, this is called declination – typically 20° East for the Pacific Northwest region of Washington, while it is about 20° West in Maine. Current topo maps list the declination value normally, but the value varies over time… So check the map’s revision date or, consult the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) magnetic declination,, The problem can be easily corrected by utilizing some basic math! Subtract the declination from your compass bearing for west, and add it for east.. Sure, easy to do when you have it in writing in front of you right? An easy way to remember this is with a mnemonic saying: Maps Tell Almost Everything. Translation: Magnetic to True Add East. Avoid Metal Don’t spread the map on the car hood at the trailhead and then put your compass on the map. Metal interferes with the magnetic needle. Finding Your Location Lost in the Pacific Northwest? If you can see two or more known landmarks separated by at least 45°, you can triangulate – zero in on your position. Plot their bearings, and where they cross is your location. Don’t forget to correct for declination. Following a Bearing With the compass set to your intended direction of travel, hold it level and turn until the red or arrow end of the north – seeking needle (often called “Red Fred” in compass class) is in the “red shed” on the housing. Now pick the most distant identifiable tree or landmark you can see that lies on your bearing and hike to it. Simply rinse and repeat until you’ve reached your destination and continue to #BeTheTraveler in the Pacific Northwest! #Adventure #Feet #Workout #Camping #Glamping #Hiking #HoodCanal #OlympicPeninsula #BeTheTraveler #Fun #WeekendGetaway #Nutrition #OlympicPeninsula #PNW #UpperLeftUSA #Mile #Walking #Training #Planning #Travel #Health #HoodCanal #Fitness #PacificNorthwest #Outdoor #Backpacking #Recreation #BeTheTraveler, 24 Nov 2019 06:31:17 GMTThe Traveler

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