Turning around.....could save your life.
With hunting season just around the corner, I thought I'd pass on a little tip my dad taught me many years ago, back when I first started tagging along behind him in the woods.
I'm 54 years old, never even owned a compass until 8 or 9 years ago, and to this day I've never been lost while out in the woods. I've spent numerous days in all kinds of weather, in many different parts of the country - swamps, flatlands, rolling hills, mountains, and deserts. I've often times taken off either on foot or on a mule and covered many miles in search of new hunting grounds. Sometimes I'm out for only a day, sometimes I may be gone for 4 or 5 days. Most of the time I don't even bother with carrying a map, much less a compass. Not sure how many individuals I've come across in my lifetime, that were turned around and not sure where they were, usually wanting directions on how to find a certain trail or road back to their camp. Hopefully my little tip will help someone out in the future, and its one I think we should teach all of our kids. Its so simple most people probably would never think about it - its called turning around.
Thats it, no big deal, its not high tech, its not hard, its just common sense. Before heading out turn slowly around, all 360 degrees, and note where you're standing. Pick out landmarks and the lay of the land from where you are currently standing. Notice everything that could be of value, a hill, an old tall dead tree, a creek, an odd shaped boulder up on a hill, the position of the sun - these types of things. Then head out, but don't just head out never looking back from where you just came from. As your walking your constantly viewing new country and your mind will remember what it looks like, but only from the view you get heading in that specific direction. But you also need to turn around often and take a gander at what it looks like from the opposite direction and also off to both sides also. Depending on the terrain and how often it changes, you should be stopping and turning around and allowing the ol' brain to take in the view from the opposite direction. Because if you never do that, five miles down the trail when you decide to turn around and head back for the first time, its not going to look familiar. Make sense?
Take it from someone who's done this all his life, it works. Please teach this to your kids, and bring it up often to remind them, it very well could save their life someday. I make a game out of it with my two young sons, I'm always taking them out and purposely zig zagging, or cutting circles as we're covering country. Then I'll stop and ask them each to point in the direction the truck or camp is in. When I first started doing this, they didn't pay a whole lot of attention to where "they" were going, and sometimes they'd guess 180 degrees off. After all they were just following dear ol' dad, and surely he knew where he was at. The more we played the game, the better they got at it until now its pretty hard to get them turned around no matter how hard I try and confuse them. I'm not saying don't teach them how to use a compass or a map. What I am saying is teach them how to return to camp when they don't have one, because someday they may not have anything with them besides the gray matter between their ears.