Anyone here do orienteering or wayfaring

I just found out that wayfaring is like orienteering without the running. Googled it and found lots of hits in the UK but almost nothing in the U.S., let alone my area.

I hate running. But much to my surprise, I’ve been getting more interested in map and compass work. For reasons that should be obvious, hiking navigation around here offers much more than kayaking navigation. I’ve been gradually identifying more and more of the numerous and tightly packed peaks near home as one exercise. Also finding my locations on the unmapped roads from sighting on known features.

I’d like to find some other ways to practice these skills, and wayfaring sounds like a good fit. A search for local Meetup groups did not turn up anything on this–closest thing was an orienteering club. Any ideas?

Did it years ago in N. Florida but
called it “orienting”. We were going for accuracy, and like you were more into hiking than running.

You might find groups using GPS for geocaching, or Search and Rescue groups and see if any of the old timers (our age) are still good with a compass. They might know of of groups that would fit the bill.

Or you could search some Backpacking bulletin boards and collect some names of people that way.

walk , don’t run , lol …

– Last Updated: Sep-28-10 11:15 AM EST –

...... it's neat that you are becoming interested in foot hiking by use of map and compass !!

If you don't mind , I'll just make a couple suggestions ... don't go it alone but rather a duet as min. , nice to have companionship and share the adventure , and for safty reasons (especially in any remote area where others will not likely be , or within sounding distance) .

I don't but would also suggest you carry a "big" whistle , probably a good habbit to get into right from the start , even though you'll never use it , but then again ...

I like maps , all kinds of maps ... really glad there are maps of all kinds available for whatever it is I'll be needing it for .

I'm not (her & I aren't) long distance hikers (as in real wilderness XC) , and don't currently use a compass for our hiking excursions . The most we ever cover is about 16 miles max. round trip , and that on trails in the forest . Sometimes I'll blaze our own trail . That can be interesting w/o a map and compass at hand . Even though I know pretty much about where we are all the time because of familiarity with the areas and topo , you can at least wonder if you are heading the correct way . Blazing your own trail also almost always takes the steeper approach both up and down , where as the common open trails even though steep sometimes , are the easier routes . Going off trail is where it gets more fun , having a map and compass , and knowing where you are at all times on that map will be an important thing .

If I were to feel a particular hike was in need of a map and compass , I would chose one large scale and also carry the routes appropriate small scale topo maps ... large 1:50,000 - small 1:10,000 or less 1:5,000

Orienteering seems to be an organized sport (check points req.) , a competion event (race) ... wayfaring makes me think of someone who is touring w/o any particular agenda other than to just keep going where the wind blows (a travler , wayfarer) .

Can you provide us with some good links?

Found this one day

– Last Updated: Sep-28-10 10:47 AM EST –

searching for orienteering supplies, specifically a small durable protractor. also, led me to the rmoc link. Rmoc is in Nederland and it looks like they have a meet scheduled for Chatfield next month. I don't have any first hand knowledge of these groups, just passing info along.

I picked up a nice Brunton Pocket Transit for surprisingly cheap at a silent auction last year and have had fun identifying peaks from here at work. Take a trip up to Panorama Point (Golden Gate S.P.) and see what you can do there. The park service has put placards there identifying peaks that you can verify your sighting from.

Edit: If you meet up with the Nederland group let me know what your thoughts on it.

The “compass dude” site is good
If you don’t want to study the books or just need a quick refresher, this site has concise, nicely-illustrated lessons on the basics of land navigation:

I still think reading books will provide more info, though.

I found it after having studied the W.S. Kals book (my favorite, though a bit dry) and most of the Kjellstrom book, plus the sea kayaking specific books by Franco Ferrero and Ray Killen. Recently also read David Burch’s book and took notes of things that the other two didn’t cover in as much detail.

Panorama Point, the 100-mile view
Great place, and I like your idea. The hard part is obtaining a map that has both my viewing location and far-away peaks on it with reasonable detail.

I’ve been dealing with that right here in my neighborhood; the close stuff still requires three 1:24000 topos. To verify sightings for Rosalie, Logan, Evans, Spaulding, etc. requires three 1:50000 county-map topos. Spliced together, they take a LOT of floor space and would not be practical in the field. What I’ve been doing is to take bearings from the maps at home, write them down, and verify in the field, and vice versa. Working with even one of those maps on uneven ground with wind blowing didn’t lend itself to accuracy.

I did manage to test accuracy of sighting on Long’s Peak, which is visible from just above our house. Using THREE PAGES of the DeLorme atlas, I found it was 56.25 miles away by air, and my sighting was off by 4 percent. I’ll try it again and see if I can improve that; I recently switched from a Silva Polaris to an old Ranger CL5 compass to take advantage of the mirror and sighting notch. Will keep the Polaris for kayak navigation in conjunction with the deck-mounted Orca.

Same experience
with the DeLorme. I tried sighting up Eldorado canyon at S. Arapaho peak from work and drawing the angle across pages. There is some error. I’ve pieced together some of the BLM 1:100,000 maps with some reasonable success. You can pick those up directly from BLM at their office on Youngfield St. around 26th Av. They have been adding elevations in English so you don’t have to do the metric conversion anymore.

pikabike , noticed you mentioned …

– Last Updated: Sep-29-10 11:47 AM EST –

...... Longs Peak as visable from just above your location .

I see both taj and you are in CO. .

I'm sure you've both heard of Pikes Peak , it also is one of the 14ers and both peaks are on the front range .

Years ago I was on the summit of Pikes Peak ... 51 years ago that is , and it was covered deep in snow at the time .

From Longs Peak to Pikes Peak is a distance of 102.7 mi. at a bearing of 162.5 degrees .

When I was on Pikes there was a little jet airplane up there .

Oh, I forgot about those!
The USGS Map Store sells BLM maps, along with those from USDA Forest Service and other organizations. GREAT place with helpful staff. If you don’t see what you want on the floor, they will pull a map from their gigantic warehouse in minutes…all the quads for the entire U.S. (Yes, you can print your own online, if you prefer.) Lots of good books on not only maps but related outdoors subjects: wildlife, weather and climate, geology (huge and deep assortment), birdwatching, astronomy, critter tracks, hiking, etc.

Just make sure you bring ID when you go through the guard gate. It’s not like the pre-Oklahoma bombing days when you could just trot in through the direct Alameda entrance.

Can see Pike’s from just up the road

– Last Updated: Sep-29-10 2:51 PM EST –

On a good day, the view in walking distance from home ranges from just beyond Long's to fairly well south of Pike's. But Evans and its relatives are closer and make for interesting ID practice, since there are several 13'ers and high 12's packed closely together, sometimes blocking another depending on angle of viewing. One thing that helps is that they are above treeline so look light gray (or white from snow), whereas most lower peaks are dark green from timber. (Lower still, some are golden brown with green blobs--dry, grassy balds with intermittent bushes or trees.)

Other good--but more difficult--subjects are the "foothills" peaks ranging from about 7,000 to 10,000 ft. There must be hundreds of little peaks within even a 15-mile radius. And some of them look less distinguishable when viewed from higher up than when viewed from lower elevations.

It's all fun.

you mentioned a 4 % error …

– Last Updated: Sep-29-10 4:54 PM EST –

..... when verifying a sighting you took on Longs Peak at a range of 56.25 mi. .

It's possible the variation (declination) you used could have been in slight error , and that may account for some of the discrepency .

For example , the bearing I gave from Longs to Pikes (162.5) at distance 102.7 mi. , would not exactly read the inverse of 180 from Pikes to Longs .

From Pikes to Longs I find a distance of 102.7 (same) , but a bearing of 342.9 .

342.9 - 180 = 162.9 . As you can see there is diff. of .4 degrees when bearing taken from Pikes to Longs .

Local var. of each peak is slightly different . At Longs the var. at present is 9.23'E , but the var. at Pikes is 8.57'E .

(as a side note , I also find at Longs the var. is changing by 0.8'W/yr. ... and at Pikes 0.7'W/yr.) .

The tools I used to determine the findings I gave are too long to post links to here , but if you wish I will forward (paste) them to you by email . You may find them helpful in prep. for field work , thier accurracy is considered very good .

Just as a side note of interest , from 10,000' msl , I can hold my thumb out and with my thumbnail cover a complete major cities , such as Balt. , Richmond or Phili. .

Small diffs over distance
That non-reciprocality thing is weeeeeeiiiirrdddd. I have assumed it’s acceptable to use the same declination correction regardless where in the front range I am. There is a NOAA website wherein you type your zip code or lat/lon and it provides a declination figure for a given date. When I threw in nearby zip codes, I found that they generated a lot of different figures. Since they were in the low 9-degrees ballpark, I just use 9 degrees as the correction.

I figure my sighting inacccuracy is likely to cause most of the error, but it’s interesting that Taj found the DeLorme atlas “had some error” when he did his sample sighting, and he was using a transit, which I assume is meant for this kind of job and therefore more accurate. Maybe not.

Next time I have the chance I’ll get the BLM 1:100000 maps and check against those.

BTW, you’d get a laugh out of the Fish-N-Map maps. They switched the symbols for true north and magnetic north, and the declination figures are way off. This was the case in ALL my Fish-N-Maps, not just one of them. When I called the company (they’re in Arvada, CO) to ask about the reversal, their “cartographer” said, “Nobody uses compass anymore” and he seemed a bit fuzzy about the compass rose. When I pointed out that NOAA’s site gives a very different declination number for the area, he said, “Oh, well, the government site is probably the right one.” I got the distinct impression that a graphic artist did those maps, not a cartographer. Probably much cheaper to hire.

yes , NOAA’s NGDC site …

– Last Updated: Sep-30-10 9:19 AM EST –

..... that is one of the tools I used for the var. #'s I posted . Glad you are aware of it (one of the links I would have sent you) .

You might like to check out the ACME Mapper 2.0 ... also Mountain Peaks of Colorado in Wiki ... in case you haven't yet .

For foot hiking nav. purposes and the relatively short distances traveled , minor discrepencies in declination shouldn't be a problem .

I have no knowledge of the Fish-N-Map maps , but they sound to be more of a generalized picture than a nav. tool ... and since they show nav. info. they really must be a hoot .

My better understanding of a compass became clearer when I learned that the compass "does not" point to magnetic north pole .

Page error
I would bet that if I didn’t have to transfer lines over different pages the DeLorme would have been more on. I triangulated my position with the transit using a BLM map and three nearby peaks (So. Boulder Peak, Eldorado Mtn. and Ralston Buttes) and came up within several feet of accurate. That much error could be the width of a pencil line, depending on scale. A friend at work makes maps of wind and solar resources. From what he tells me about the different standards used by different mapping organizations its a wonder we aren’t all lost.

After several beers, I do a random walk

Check out your local SAR unit.
I joined my county SAR unit a couple years ago. Map and compass skills are stressed since they are vital on a search. When you are walking a grid you need to keep on line which is very difficult on an open grid search when you might not even see any other searcher for long stretches of time because of dense brush. Except when doing a hasty search, we bushwhack on a search.

Our unit does many assists with the surrounding counties so you never know what to expect on a search. Our unit was doing road block duty during the summer for the Oak Flat forest fire. We might be looking for a AC down in the mountains or a missing Alzheimer sufferer on the coast. Our unit sent a team up to participate in the search for the missing child (Kyron) up in Portland. We were billeted in a new, unused prison in the Portland area. It was a very difficult area to search in and it rained for the first two days of the search.

Your SAR unit probably has many different specialty units. My county has an ATV unit, a mountain rescue unit, snow unit, mounted posse, man tracking unit, swift water rescue unit, dive team and a dog unit.

My wife and I now are each training a search dog. We train at least twice a week with the unit in the field. We’re retired and SAR has become our retirement job. Now my wife and I always carry a beeper and keep our SAR packs in the trunk of the car.

I’d expect from your location your SAR unit would have some interesting searches and would be quite busy with call outs. It sounds like you’re looking for something different and SAR might be for you.