Vicky Powys wrote :
> If I did lose the GPS unit, I'm still not sure how a compass would
> help me find my car in Eulo Bore type of country? If I'd turned in
> circles three times? Then what? I might know where north was, but
> not where my car was?
When you leave the car, take a bearing with your compass of the track that
you are on. e.g. east / west, or maybe 60 / 240 degrees, etc. Make
certain that you park your car on a straight stretch of road and leave it
visible from a couple of hundred metres or more. i.e. don't do what I did
once and park it under a tree 30 metres off the road.
Then when you want to return to the road, take a right angle bearing to
the road / track. i.e. head north / south, or 150 / 330 degrees in the
above examples. If you can't work out which of the two you should head
then I would give up going bush!
You then walk back and hit the road. Hopefully you know whether you have
to turn left or right to make it back to your car. You usually hit the
road within 100 or 200 metres of your car.
I found out the hard way up near Carnarvon in WA. I came back to the
road, but then thought the car was to my left. I walked about 400 metres
(I had been away from the car about 90 minutes), and didn't find the car.
I then walked back and found my car about 50 metres or so to the right of
where I came out parked under a tree and out of sight! I got a GPS after
that, and I no longer park my car way off the road.
I still try to remember to carry a compass with me. It saves on the
batteries in my GPS, and using it with the GPS gives me a much more
accurate bearing to my car. It also gives me a distance. From my
orienteering days, I learnt to count distance and so I know when I am
getting close (less than 10%). I then use the GPS for one last bearing.
This always gets me back to within 50 metres of the car which is more than
enough if you leave the car visible.
I always take a rough bearing from the sun by looking at my shadow. This
is good for most times except when there is heavy cloud cover or I have
been away for more than 2 hours.
>From my orienteering days I learnt to look at more than major landmarks.
I take notice of slopes, or gullies, or major trees, etc. A good
orienteer doesn't need to use a compass, but they have a map! But all the
minor features are very useful for making certain that you head back in
the right direction.
If you have a GPS, don't forget to take a bearing before you leave the
car!! I have done this a few times.
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