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Trip Preparation For Hiking Vs. Package Holidays
Imagine you are a tourist in a new city. You found one of the best package holidays you’ve seen in a few years and are now enjoying your luxurious holiday rental in the popular downtown area. Everything you need is only a short distance away. Even as a “tourist,” you really are not too concerned about getting lost and rightfully so. You can always ask a local resident or purchase a map from the local gift shop. Now, picture another scenario.
You have decided to get away from the fast-paced city and this vacation you are going to head experience the great outdoors and are looking forward to a hike through a beautiful, scenic national park. You have done your research and purchased the essential items, including a GPS unit to navigate your way through the park. Or, maybe you opted for a traditional map or a compass. These items are great, but it is always a good idea to have some knowledge of traditional navigation skills to fall back on. Maps can be lost.
You could break the compass or the batteries could run low. Or, you may find that your GPS device does not work in the area you are hiking. As mentioned above, it is always best to be prepared by having some basic knowledge of navigation that depends only on your intelligence and eyes. Fortunately, it really isn’t that complex or difficult to understand. You may even surprise yourself as far as how much you already know. For instance, most people are well aware that the sun rises in the East while setting in the West, but keep in mind that this is not an absolute truth. It is sometimes harder to judge during the middle part of the day or being away from the equator. The sun will be south of you in the Northern Hemisphere, but after approximately an hour it will have moved enough so you can get an idea of the general direction. Also, note where the sun is at half-hour intervals so you can create a mental directional line of where it moves which will provide you with an East-West line. Once you have an East-West line, you can then easily determine North which is 90 degrees to the right of West and also South direction which is 90 degrees to the left.
Finding your way at night can be more challenging but you can still use the stars. You can use some of the major constellations such as the Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt. The Big Dipper is a group of stars resembling a cooking ladle, and the two stars at the bottom of the scoop create a line pointing to the North Star. If you find the Orion’s Belt, you will see that three of its stars form a fairly straight line across the East and the West. As you see, you can use the stars to find the general direction just as you did with the sun. Generally, the most important thing is to have a back-up plan and refresh yourself on some of the basic navigational knowledge. You might be glad you did!.
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