Orienteering/Navigation

Magnetic declination refers to the angle between the geographic North Pole and the magnetic pole located in the Arctic Ocean. You will discover that good hiking and topographic maps always indicate the local magnetic declination via a declination diagram, which includes one arrow pointing to geographic north (commonly labeled as True North, or TN) and…

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A map and compass make up two of the 10 essentials recommended for safe backcountry travel, but they’ll do little good if you don’t know how to use them. Misuse could even turn a situation in which you’re simply confused into one in which you’re totally lost. The bottom line? Learn proper technique before your…

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Last fall, National Geographic introduced a free, user-friendly web tool that automatically breaks up USGS topographic maps to fit onto standard 8.5 inch x 11 inch printer paper. If you’ve ever used any standard-sized USGS topographic map, you are well aware of the over-sized dimensions that such maps typically come in. That means that if you download one in its entirety—and you can…

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I admit it—Pokemon Go is a pretty awesome game. Basically a digital treasure hunt, it combines so many great elements into one smooth game: finding new places that you would never have found otherwise, walking around outside, stacking up points by finding treasure. As a parks director, I like to see people outside, and if…

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It was at AMC’s Gorman Chairback Lodge, somewhere around 1:30 in the morning, when I overheard a visitor ask a friend with whom he was traveling, “Do we have butt cream?” It wasn’t all that unusual a query, really. You see, this duo was part of a European team competing in the 200-mile Untamed New…

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Paul is in trouble. Midway into our ascent of the Valley Way Trail in New Hampshire’s Northern Presidential Range, his pace slows considerably. His face, sweat-soaked and somber, maps the struggle within. He’s an experienced hiker, but the burdens of a 40-pound backpack and weary, 66-year-old thighs are conspiring against him. Nonetheless determined, he leans…

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