I love the woods, I really do. Oh, how it feeds my soul, walking up and down the trails, listening, looking, letting my mind wander. It feels so good!
I went out early on Saturday to see if I could find a couple markers before my girlfriend and her son showed up. The woods were certainly changed from Thursday. It had snowed so the pine and cedar scents that filled the woods on Thursday had disappeared and where there had been many birds chirping and chattering to each other, there was now only silence except for the crunch, crunch of my boots as I walked. Oh my, did I ever walk. By the time I left the woods, I had been out there for 10 hours. I found my markers, I ended up in a swamp that I didn't mean to end up in, I cooked dinner in the woods, I heard Barred Owls again, and I ended up exactly where I was supposed to be in the dark. That's a good day!
I tried a different Orienteering course on Sunday, Van Raaltje Farm in Holland. This one gave me bearings on each post for the next post I was to find and if I didn't find the correct one, I couldn't go on to the next - in theory. In reality, it was far too easy for me after traipsing around the woods the past few days, finding my way with a compass and a map. It was good for a beginning course, but I'm not a beginning Orienteerer. Still, I was outside, the sun was shining brightly and I was content.
Ooooh, my Night Nav test is coming up in a couple days. That will make me LN5 certified. Here's what the instructors say about the course: "This course ranks among the highest levels of land navigation and exceeds the requirements for a NASAR SARTECH I (Crewleader), the pinnacle of search and rescue training. It is more difficult than Adventure Racing and is considered an advanced Orienteering course. The course is designed to match the difficulty of the US Armys Advanced Land Navigation Course used for Pathfinders, Rangers and Special Forces training."
That's pretty bad ass!