Learning To Use A Compass

My generation is over-educated, under-employed, and a generally confused group, for reasons both within and beyond our control. As Edward Hoffer has written, “We are beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists.” Without a clear itinerary before us, we seem to be searching for a symbolic compass to help guide us along life’s path.

Lacking clear direction for my 30’s, I have become obsessed with the literal compass, which will be a huge part of navigating the Coast to Coast because as noted in A Coast to Coast Walk, the British find trail markers “unsightly.” The past two weekends have been spent walking Central Park, and my one regret is that we did not bring along the Garmin compass to practice becoming acquainted with its features. The compass was loaned to us by a friend and we barely know how to turn it on, let alone interpret its findings.

Next weekend, however, we have a date with REI and EMS. We tried to head over there last weekend but the city’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities precluded us from reaching the appropriate subway line.  Aside from the need to invest in some water wicking gear, we want to get a feel for the REI Workshops on compass navigation. Has anyone had any experience with the REI Workshops of this nature?

So for those following along with hiking experience, whether or not its on the Wainwright, what are the tools, clothes, etc. that you could not live without on your trip?

In addition, if anyone has anyone used a service like Coast to Coast help, I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences and whether or not you found the service worthwhile.

Feel free to leave a comment for a private message on Twitter @30WaysofWalking

Thanks for your thoughts!


About 30 Ways of Walking

Gina Liotta's writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Slate, The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, and The Healing Muse, among others. She lives, writes and teaches in New York.
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5 Responses to Learning To Use A Compass

  1. Greg Tibboel says:

    So I was thinking that it is pretty wet in England. Make sure you pack your cloths and sleeping bag in a stuffsack lined with a garbage bag. It is a pretty good system for keeping your stuff dry. I also know a lot of people that go backpacking with umbrellas. You might think about checking it out. I have tried it and it can be really nice in the rain and the sun. They make nicer ones for hiking.



    Have fun.


  2. Pingback: Packing List | 30 Ways of Walking

  3. Guy Avis says:

    I highly recommend top notch rainproof jacket and pants/trousers. I experienced hypothermia with the use of plastic top and pants during continuous rain and cold weather. Goretex raingear is a must. I used North Face rain gear. Also rain proof boots are essential. Hiking with wet feet is no fun. Also recommend a walking pole/poles. Not necessarily for balance but in addition to probing how deep the mud is! Enjoy. I mentioned above that the Garmin software sd format compatible with a Garmin hand held computer is a big help. There are of course other must haves.


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