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  1. #1
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    How Did You Get Un-Lost?

    With trails, getting lost can be bad if you think you're on the right trail. But I did a little off-trail forest route-finding exercise last weekend and discovered that I am not as good as I thought I was.

    My plan was to hike up a road, turn left, and bushwhack to an old house foundation on an abandoned road, 5 miles tops - based purely on my topographic memory. I almost made it...

    Per GPS tracking (which I ultimately had to resort to later) my bearing at the turn was exactly correct. The terrain influenced my path, but my heading was dead on. Then a big ravine pushed me a bit off-line. I didn't remember it from the map. After getting around the ravine, I somewhat veered West instead of South-West, and that put me in no-man's land. Since it was cloudy/drizzling and the breeze was swirling a bit even in the depths of the forest, I had no way to reference a direction (yeah, I've heard of a compass), and I was actually heading N-NW. I thought I remembered the lay of the land and the general direction of the ravines, but they all started to look the same. Finally, due to time constraints, I had to get out the GPS. Luckily I had a signal, or I would have been back-tracking, or walking in ever-widening circles until I found something familiar. Kinda disappointing, but I guess a compass would have fixed everything had I referenced it even one time before I changed course at the ravine.

    Mine's kind of a no-brainer, but just wondering how people get lost, and eventually figure themselves out of their predicament.

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  2. #2
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    Well, since I live in one of the most densely populated states, it's pretty easy for me. Even in a 30-50 mile trail system, if you pick a direction and hold it, you'll wind up at a road inside of an hour or two.

    Anyway, if you're wayfinding without a compass, you're asking for trouble. You can hack it with generalities (the analog watch method, star gazing, etc...) but at the end of the day, one of the hardest things you can do is hold a straight line without constant reference.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    at the end of the day, one of the hardest things you can do is hold a straight line without constant reference.
    Yup. Even on flat, featureless ground, it's hard when you don't have a long distance open view to a landmark to key on. So, if you lack the long view or the landmark, or both, straight lines are basically impossible.

    In my work, I've got plenty of experience walking transects through all sorts of terrain. Standard tools include a map and compass, as well as a counter so you can count your paces (which you have measured beforehand so you can measure the distances you walk in the field). The more irregular/uneven the terrain, and the more obstructions (trees, thickets, impassable water, etc), the harder it is to follow a straight line. As GPS tech got better, I eventually moved to using GPS for this work. I'd load survey points of my transect into the GPS so I could find the points regardless of my approach.

    I'm not too shabby at dead reckoning navigation over shorter distances in a pinch, but never does that include following a straight line through the woods.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    Well, since I live in one of the most densely populated states, it's pretty easy for me. Even in a 30-50 mile trail system, if you pick a direction and hold it, you'll wind up at a road inside of an hour or two..
    Same here. Most of the places I ride I'll end up at a street or at least a fire road to reference. The two places I ride most I'll bump into a street or highway in short order.

    Otherwise if I can't figure out where to go by retracing steps or using landmarks I just cheap and breakout a trail map or Google maps.
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  6. #6
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    I've always had huge issues getting a mental layout of the land. I joke that it's how I became an endurance athlete (out lost so often for so long). I use my phone GPS.

    I find that relying on trails as indicators is really challenging. In my area (CT), trails are often many short segments interconnected and depending on the area, new trails could pop up at any time. I could rely on the other things (features, topology, etc.) but I'd rather not go to that length when I'm just out enjoying a ride.

  7. #7
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    What is worse than getting lost is losing your bike! I tried to take a short cut through the woods off of a trail I've ridden many times to another that paralleled it, (or so I thought). I encountered an area that had been logged in the past, so it was nearly impassible. I decide to park my bike, and bushwack on foot, ( only about 50 yards right?), and after 10 or so minutes, I realized that the two trail must have diverged from parallel a while back. Oh well, I will just get back on my bike and....My bike! Where is my bike? I spent nearly an hour backtracking and wandering around trying to find it. A black bike is not going to jump out at you in the woods in the evening.

  8. #8
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    Keep riding and make random turns? I call lost extra milage. Sun, map, compass on my Iphone all work well.

  9. #9
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    Bread crumbs.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  10. #10
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    I define lost as, "not knowing how to find my way back home" and I've only been in that situation once.

    I was riding the top of a broad ridge (Bangtail Divide in Bozeman in 2000 or 2001 - just before they reworked it into what it is now). I was dilly-dallying and didn't pay much attention to the fact that it gets dark early in October. Then I ran into a giant slash pile. Shoot, they're logging my favorite trail and there's logs and junk all over the place! I should have turned around right then and there but thought I could pick up the trail on the other side of the logging operation.

    By the time I crawled around, over, and through the slash piles it was dark and there was NO WAY I could find the trail again, if it was even there. I tried using my lighter to see the trail but it wasn't bright enough. I tried crawling on my hands and knees to feel the trail. No dice. At one point I seriously considered holing up under a tree until morning.

    I don't even remember how I got back to the dirt road that led back to my car but I did, at 10pm. It was almost pitch black and cold. As I started rolling down the dirt road I heard a crashing sound coming out of the woods. Was it a bear? A moose? No, it was a herd of cows that got onto the road and trotted and (sh*tted) in front of me for the next mile and a half.

    I finally got back to my car, frozen, exhausted, and covered in cow poop.

  11. #11
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    I had one (sort of) experience. In my defense, I had a genuine concussion from a bad wreck earlier on the same ride. It was a place I didn't know at all, not well marked, with tons of intersecting trails.

    Eventually I realized I was positive that I had come past the same tree and intersection three times, without even realizing I wasn't making progress toward where I wanted to be.

    I didn't have great reception, but I had enough to get google earth to load a satellite image including my location which was just enough to give me my bearings. Based upon that info I had a not so solid game plan and finally at some point I came out on a dirt road right as a kid was coming past on a dirt bike. I flagged him down and he told me where I needed to go from there (on roads) to get back to where my car was parked.

    It was eye opening.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by EABiker View Post
    What is worse than getting lost is losing your bike! I tried to take a short cut through the woods off of a trail I've ridden many times to another that paralleled it, (or so I thought). I encountered an area that had been logged in the past, so it was nearly impassible. I decide to park my bike, and bushwack on foot, ( only about 50 yards right?), and after 10 or so minutes, I realized that the two trail must have diverged from parallel a while back. Oh well, I will just get back on my bike and....My bike! Where is my bike? I spent nearly an hour backtracking and wandering around trying to find it. A black bike is not going to jump out at you in the woods in the evening.
    I did the same thing with a video camera once. I wanted to see how well my camouflage clothing matched the surroundings so I set it up and walked about 100 yds. I turned around and went back and it took nearly an hour to find that camera - which, of course, is also camouflage.

    But I feel better that so far everyone else seems to have the same problem navigating as I do.

    To add: The idea that 2 trails are parallel or perpendicular at some point seems to be fraught with uncertainty as to where, how long, and how really parallel or perpendicular they are. That is another factor in my failed attempt that I didn't recognize until EABiker mentioned it.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    I define lost as, "not knowing how to find my way back home" and I've only been in that situation once.

    I was riding the top of a broad ridge (Bangtail Divide in Bozeman in 2000 or 2001 - just before they reworked it into what it is now). I was dilly-dallying and didn't pay much attention to the fact that it gets dark early in October. Then I ran into a giant slash pile. Shoot, they're logging my favorite trail and there's logs and junk all over the place! I should have turned around right then and there but thought I could pick up the trail on the other side of the logging operation.

    By the time I crawled around, over, and through the slash piles it was dark and there was NO WAY I could find the trail again, if it was even there. I tried using my lighter to see the trail but it wasn't bright enough. I tried crawling on my hands and knees to feel the trail. No dice. At one point I seriously considered holing up under a tree until morning.

    I don't even remember how I got back to the dirt road that led back to my car but I did, at 10pm. It was almost pitch black and cold. As I started rolling down the dirt road I heard a crashing sound coming out of the woods. Was it a bear? A moose? No, it was a herd of cows that got onto the road and trotted and (sh*tted) in front of me for the next mile and a half.

    I finally got back to my car, frozen, exhausted, and covered in cow poop.
    This happened to me and 3 buddies on a familiar trail and we had lights! But storm damage rendered the entire area completely alien. We fanned out for about an hour trying to climb over and through all the fallen timber and locate the trail. We couldn't believe that it was that easy to lose our way.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  14. #14
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    I've only been lost once. Actually, turned around. It was the late 90's and I had moved to Oregon's Coast Range from Southern California. I went on a exploration ride and kept getting deeper and deeper into the forest on overgrown logging roads. I wasn't familiar with how the sun arced above the 45th parallel in the late fall and got turned around.

    I figured my dog and I were going to have to spend the night but I saw an old growth stump I'd seen earlier and raced out of there. I got back to the car as soon as became pitch black. Wife was not happy.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  15. #15
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    Just ride until you hit a more traveled trail or road.

    I got crazy lost on a ride while visiting my parents in Southern VT. I picked a route based on vague directions from a local shop. No phone, no GPS, no map. Long story short I stumbled across a couple kids on a ATVs on a well traveled 4x4 trail, they lead me back to large farm, from there I poked my way back to a main road and pedaled a long slog on pavement to a pay phone (yes there are still pay phones in rural America). My dad was nice enough to come pick me up. I recall I ended up close to 20 miles from where I parked.

    A good rule of thumb is if you find a well established trail (snow mobile or ATV or hiking trail) that will lead you to civilization. My mistake was following a trail that was hardly used and it got me all turned around.
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  16. #16
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    For rides or hikes in unfamiliar areas, I set a point of interest (POI) in my Suunto GPS watch, that way if I get lost I can use the backtrack function or navigate back to the POI.

    I also make a point of telling someone where I will be going and when they should expect my return.

  17. #17
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    I've been lost a whole bunch of times if by lost you mean not entirely sure where you are and not entirely sure how to get back to the car. Even got a little turned around on my ride yesterday even though I know the park pretty well, but I was in an area I'm not hugely familiar with. Going in and getting lost is part of the adventure for me I guess.

    I use a combo of GPS and offline maps to find my way. I've never had too much trouble figuring it out eventually. I think the key is to remain calm and find a landmark that matches up to your maps or your memory.

  18. #18
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    GPS phone mainly but if I am riding in a place I don't know I make sure I have a laminated map in my backpack.

  19. #19
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    Dead reckoning just jives with how my brain works, probably conditioning from a lifetime in the woods. On long multi day stuff always a physical map/topo. Can't say I've ever been lost per say. Way off course yes, lost no.

    Where I live inordinate amounts of people get lost. Even with a feature as unmistakable as the Columbia Gorge people get lost for days or forever. Some people should never leave the parking lot.
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  20. #20
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    I get lost by not paying attention or by making wrong assumptions. Once I lose my bearings, I try to reconstruct my path and backtrack. Failing that, GPS. Failing that, out comes the compass.

    After losing my bearings, I find I won't immediately recognize a familiar trail at an intersection. It takes a few minutes to finally recognize where the hell I am.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  21. #21
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    we used to do stuff like this in Boy Scouts...they would blindfold us, driveus to some place, drop us off, and we had to get back. This was in the 70's, so there was no GPS etc. Usually we had compasses, but as we got better, they would just drop us off and we had to use intuition. I loved doing this. I have a pretty good sense of where north is all the time, so that helps. In Scouts, I never got lost...guys would fight to be in my group...it was also the ONLY thing I was really good at in Scouts

    Currently, I have a compass on my phone, and an old Atlas compass from the 80's.

    Before any new ride or trip, I study the maps of the area for weeks, ( I am a map nerd for sure) finding natural and man made objects to guide off of. The biggest thing I look for are rivers or streams, and I get the direction of their cut in the land.

    I do a lot of bushwacking when I ride, so I am used to getting out there and turning back.

    We were always taught, in Scouts, that if you get lost, don't panic...just stick with a direction and go with it. Especially stick with rivers and streams. I tended to know the directions of our watersheds, and could sometimes rely on the flow of water to give me a sense of where I was on the map. This helped me find "civilization" many times
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sXeXBMXer View Post
    we used to do stuff like this in Boy Scouts...they would blindfold us, driveus to some place, drop us off, and we had to get back. This was in the 70's, so there was no GPS etc. Usually we had compasses, but as we got better, they would just drop us off and we had to use intuition. I loved doing this. I have a pretty good sense of where north is all the time, so that helps. In Scouts, I never got lost...guys would fight to be in my group...it was also the ONLY thing I was really good at in Scouts
    an ecology professor did this to my class when I was in college. It was the first time anyone ever did this to me intentionally, but I spent my childhood wandering around the woods, so it wasn't a big deal. I wasn't entirely sure of my ability to dead-reckon until this, though. I kinda hung back and let other people in the group point the way. Eventually, I started getting rather strong feelings that we were going too far. turned out, my impressions were dead on, but I wasn't confident enough to really say anything. At this point, though, I'd definitely say something...and if nobody in the group wanted to listen, I'd go off on my own.

    Since then, off-trail backcountry navigation has pretty much been a work skill for me.

  23. #23
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    Growing up in an avid outdoors sports family. My dad made it a point to buy us all compasses at an early pre-teen age. Showed is how to use them and made us have one on person whenever we camped or hunted in desolate areas. As Harold stated growing up wandering the woods you become accustomed to looking for landmarks going in and focal points. Associating that with mountain biking is a whole nother challenge though. At speed and on trail itís easy to lose your bearing of what direction you are going. A compass still works but a gps unit would be better. I always grab a trail map at the trailhead even if itís a familiar trail system Iíve been on numerous times prior. Better safe than sorry. Someone mentioned bread crumbs further up. Not a bad idea although not fool proof with critters eating them behind you. Plus moisture plays a key role in failure going with that old trick.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  24. #24
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    I normally always have TrailForks updated on my phone and rely on that. Last year I was up in Cable, WI with no cell service riding Rock Lake. I came to an intersection that wasn't clearly marked and ended up take a different trail for about three miles before I double checked my position with TrailForks. The trail I was on was new so it wasn't on TrailForks and it went parallel to the trail I was supposed to ride for a long time. Good thing was that trail was a lot of fun (way better than Rock Lake) but my plan was to ride the imba epic so I backtracked out.

  25. #25
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    How Did You Get Un-Lost?

    I didnít, still lost. Care to send out a search party?
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  26. #26
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    Itís easy in the mountains. For most of the places Iíve lived and played outdoors, a general understanding of the landscape and drainage patterns, and a sense of direction has been plenty to keep me from becoming lost when traveling cross-country. None of the geology fieldwork Iíve done over the years had any trails nearby.

    That said, Iím not arrogant enough to claim I could never get lost; there are some really subtle landscapes that in combination with heavy forest could get you in a pickle.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    an ecology professor did this to my class when I was in college. It was the first time anyone ever did this to me intentionally, but I spent my childhood wandering around the woods, so it wasn't a big deal. I wasn't entirely sure of my ability to dead-reckon until this, though. I kinda hung back and let other people in the group point the way. Eventually, I started getting rather strong feelings that we were going too far. turned out, my impressions were dead on, but I wasn't confident enough to really say anything. At this point, though, I'd definitely say something...and if nobody in the group wanted to listen, I'd go off on my own.

    Since then, off-trail backcountry navigation has pretty much been a work skill for me.
    it has also become pretty natural to me as well...

    in the past 25+ years, there are only 2 places I got disoriented in, and one is downtown Cincinnati for some reason. i always get turned around there, and I have been there a billion times

    I used to get turned around in NYC, but it was easier the past few times I went. I also get disoriented when the marching band goes to Disney in Orlando, but that is because I am not driving...not paying attention to the route
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  28. #28
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    NYC is easy unless you end up at the corner of First and First.

  29. #29
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    Haha, my parent had an apartment on 1st and 1st. Amazing location...four or five subway stops converge near there.
    As to being lost, the Grand Teton is almost always in sight somewhere...
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  30. #30
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    US Army land nav.
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  31. #31
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    Smoke signals, bread crumbs, landmarks. Just donít choose moving and changing landmarks.

    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  32. #32
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    I just go back from where I came.
    Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
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  33. #33
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    Hunting morels means hiking up and down through ravines all day. You have to have a compass. And don't lose your partner.
    Walk long enough and you hit something.

  34. #34
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    okay
    Last edited by tealy; 2 Weeks Ago at 07:58 AM.
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  35. #35
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    I always take a compass and my phone. although you have to know how to use a compass.

    We had an issue out sailing at night and came across a magnetic interference in the ocean. not sure what happened but the compass and even the GPS went wrong. There was another vessel near by on an approaching heading and we had to come off our course. when we returned to what we thought was our original heading was wrong. luckily it was a clear night and we had been looking at the sky. We knew where Mars was and able to figure where we needed to be. about an hour later everything had corrected itself. we were off by a few degrees but able to make it back on course.
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  36. #36
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    I got lost a couple weeks ago. I started on a trail that leads to other trails that I know of and been on numerous times got to a point at the end where I know where I was. It was getting very cloudy in they were chances of showers so I turned around. Thought I was going back the exact way. I was not. It's starting to pour. I was lost and drenched. I couldn't take out my phone because my phone was not waterproof. I knew I was going towards the car, as far as going south but I got to a trail where I had to either take a left or a right. I took a left, went through some long puddles of mud. Kept going to a point where I said "this can't be it". I turned around got to an abandoned old wooden house with plaques of the old, departed husband and wife. All while it was pouring rain. I felt like I was in a horror movie!
    Turn around again went back to the trail where I took a left and then a right, went down that trail to the left and finally found the road. I was about 3 miles away from my car. I thought I was going to be killed by a human killing family (Texas chain saw massacre) , or a bear. Luckily I wasn't in a horror movie that day

  37. #37
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    The compass in a phone can become uncalibrated. I've seen this happen on my older Motorola Razr, and I read it can happen on iOS devices too.

    You can recalibrate it using the "figure-8" technique shown in the animation in this article.
    All Li es Matter

  38. #38
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    I tend to veer off in the wrong direction on twisty trails and roads where the choices are to continue and hope the course corrects, or backtrack and lose progress/altitude. Even though I carry a compass and pre-plan my routes with satellite images, I sometimes still get lost. It does not help that the polarity on my compass sometimes flip-flops. That happened on a recent ride in the mountains. I thought I knew where I was going but ended up entering civilization 15-miles off track and no clue where I was. I asked a guy in a house along the road for directions, and ended up having to ride that 15-miles in the dark on the shoulder of a highway, after I was already totally bonked. After that, I broke down and got a GPS to bring along on my rides, although I still prefer to read the lands and use my compass.

  39. #39
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    One of my first badges in boy scouts (well cub scouts) was my orienteering badge. probably should have been first aid. That was second. I also carried a bottle of ever clear. Got a badge for that too. Emergency preparedness. Has many uses

    Who knows how to use a Sextant?

  40. #40
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    Ever noticed when using Google Maps the hesitation with your location. The dot of your location is stagnant then in an instant jumps a mile or so to your actual location. Then itís stagnant again as you continue to move. And then it jumps to your location again. Should be called Google Hesitation Maps.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzcat View Post
    It does not help that the polarity on my compass sometimes flip-flops.
    This does not happen mid-ride. The compass needle can LOSE polarity, but it's not flipping back and forth. What's most likely is that you're encountering local magnetic anomalies, usually from iron deposits. I've dealt with these before when navigating with a map and compass before, and encountering them at walking speed SUCKS. When you approach them slowly, the compass needle deflects very slowly (imperceptibly if you're not paying close enough attention). You'll wind up miles from your intended destination if you don't catch it. Reading the terrain on a good quality map, you can catch that sort of thing. Unfortunately at the time, my boss handed me crappy map photocopies. This is one of the scenarios that convinced my boss to switch to GPS for working transects.

    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Ever noticed when using Google Maps the hesitation with your location. The dot of your location is stagnant then in an instant jumps a mile or so to your actual location. Then itís stagnant again as you continue to move. And then it jumps to your location again. Should be called Google Hesitation Maps.
    Yep. I've noticed this on a lot of phone navigation apps (either Waze/Google Maps, which are both Google at this point), especially when driving, since you can cover a lot of distance between location updates. I find it especially frustrating when I'm in a parking garage, or am parked elsewhere, and the app hasn't yet figured out which direction I'm pointed or what road I'm next to. I have to move before anything registers and that hesitation has resulted in me just winging it and occasionally taking the wrong turn. Would be nice if the app, upon finishing calculating directions, would say, "Head N/S/E/W on xxxx Rd." once it had a general location for me. But nope, it's just silent until I'm actually ON the road. My old Garmin Nuvi was never like that. But I bought that before lifetime map updates were a thing, and I wasn't spending a bunch of money to update the map every 4 mo (what Garmin wanted me to do). I do get tempted from time to time to buy a new one with lifetime map updates and traffic, though, and stop using my phone to navigate in my car.

  42. #42
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    Knowing how to tell direction and time by the sun, or other clues of nature, along with knowing how to walk in the dark without a light are useful skills.

    Train yourself to have a fair feel for the passage of time; after several hours without looking at a time piece, quess...and see how close you are.
    "Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway" John Wayne

  43. #43
    Barely in control
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Ever noticed when using Google Maps the hesitation with your location. The dot of your location is stagnant then in an instant jumps a mile or so to your actual location. Then itís stagnant again as you continue to move. And then it jumps to your location again. Should be called Google Hesitation Maps.
    Exactly. I mean if it's so slow, what do pay these people-I mean I let these people farm my personal data for?

  44. #44
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    For real exploring expeditions I use a handheld Garmin. Pre-plot and download a route makes it easy. If you're really going off the beaten track record your track, then if you really get geographically embarrassed you can go back the way you came.
    Also battery life is much better than a phone and you can carry a couple of spare AAs

  45. #45
    damned rocks...
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    When I go ride to places where the possibility of me not being able to return to base camp at the end of the day or not reaching some target place by whatever unplanned reason, I always load my phone with a map of the region, carry a powerbank with several backup batteries, carry a solar charger, and something to keep me warm if I have to sleep outside.
    So if I get lost I'm still having fun and making the best ou of it.

  46. #46
    Formerly of Kent
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    A map, a compass, and the ability to do cross section and resection.

    GPS doesnít always work, kids.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Death from Below.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    A map, a compass, and the ability to do cross section and resection.

    GPS doesnít always work, kids.
    my father in law calls it death by GPS or Death by phone.

    its easy just follow the street signs. not too confusing.How Did You Get Un-Lost?-img_20180831_151254837_hdr.jpg
    Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

  48. #48
    damned rocks...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    A map, a compass, and the ability to do cross section and resection.

    GPS doesnít always work, kids.

    Quote Originally Posted by azimiut View Post
    my father in law calls it death by GPS or Death by phone.

    its easy just follow the street signs. not too confusing
    That's what the sleeping bag is for .

  49. #49
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    The one time I was really lost was during a 20 hour adventure race.
    In the middle of the night we realized the maps we were given had roads that did not exist listed and roads that did exist were not listed. This meant we were very far from where we wanted to be.
    After wandering for a few hours we found a road/trail. One of my teammates exclaimed "I have a really good feeling about this trail" so we followed it. It eventually led us to exactly where we wanted to go (a checkpoint). The people who were working at the checkpoint stated "I don't know how you came that way, but we're glad you're here!"

    After that experience I learned a lot and took an active role navigating in the woods whenever I was there. I spend a lot of time in the woods and rarely feel lost, even when visiting areas for the first time, but I am a lot more cautious now.

    I was in the desert last month for the first time and that was a new experience. "you can't get there from here" came to mind as I would see where I was going in the distance, but the trail would snake in an entirely different direction to avoid canyons/steep slopes/etc.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    A map, a compass, and the ability to do cross section and resection.

    GPS doesnít always work, kids.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Rarely if ever I have run into lost groups with a topo. Maybe they want to corroborate but not clueless. It's always people with a phone app or GPS that seem to get turned around. Trail names, numbers, intersects, inlets, etc. don't always alaign with what their device is telling them at which point they get confused.

    It would be interesting to see some type of data or study to bear out any uptick in lost or disappeared people vs the proliferation of electronic devices that do the thinking and visualization for you. It seems almost all the idiots that get stranded on mtn passes in winter by vehicle are merely following their gps without any critical thinking.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  51. #51
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    I once got lost early on in taking up mountain biking. Riding with a pretty good size group in Big Bear Ca. Not at the resort but off on some other trails bordering the area. A very hot 90ís mid summer day. Being new and out of shape the whole group I was with were veterans at the sport and in excellent shape so they rode out ahead. Stopping periodically to let me catch up. Of course every time I caught up to where they were waiting theyíd take off again. Not letting me rest for more than a minute. I pressed on not knowing the trail system and very out of shape. After several times of them stopping and waiting they apparently got fed up with waiting and continued on. I rode on wondering where and when I would come up on them again. After a lengthy time I finally came upon a fork in the trail and was clueless to which way they went. A 50/50 chance I chose a direction and went with it, I chose the wrong direction which I found out later. I rode for miles and miles in unbearable heat. Ran out of water and ended up on some fire road. Instead of continuing on the single track on the other side I took the fire road thinking it would take me down. It went back up then back down etc. for miles. Finally at my wits end and about to have a heat stroke I stopped to admire a big ass rattlesnake. As I was watching him coil and strike here comes a Blazer 4X4. I waved them down and explained my situation. The two nice gentleman loaded my bike up and drove me down to the town of Big Bear, where I finally had my bearings. I rode the remaining couple of miles on pavement back to the cabin.

    Upon my arrival Iím greeted by the whole group which were all showered up and enjoying a nice meal out on the deck. Laughing and worried, stating they were about to send out a search party for me, right! My sister and brother in law leading the group. They said that at the fork in the single track they carved my name in the dirt with a branch facing the direction to go. To this day some 25 years later Iím still not sure if I believe them. I never saw such a sign and at the time I wasnít about to go back to prove them wrong. Trust me, on occasion during family and friends get togethers I have to relive that nightmare and the fact that I missed the sign. Doh! Hereís your sign.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  52. #52
    Professional Crastinator
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    This past weekend yelling did the trick. Oh, and listening.
    I lost sight of my ride leader after picking up a huge branch in my crank arm. At that point I was playing catchup and, over a dome-shaped rock, bared left instead of right. I ended up on a gnarly steep downhill. I was amazed that my buddy had left no skid marks or anything. Then, when I saw a lizard sunning itself on a rock, I knew he hadn't been that way. I figured on backtracking, but I yelled his name anyway. It took a little bit of yelling, yelling, and intently listening, but I got back on track after climbing ~200ft back up the ridge.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    My sister and brother in law leading the group. They said that at the fork in the single track they carved my name in the dirt with a branch facing the direction to go.
    That's kind of a dick move. Did your sister like you very much?

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