Knowing where you have been is as important as where you are going! Mountain Men, hunters, trekkers, and Fishermen need marks to relocate a camp, hot spot, or destination. Markers were and are a great way to find your way.
Landmarks, waterways, topography, and markers are all important. Maps are great if you have one. Used with a compass, you can always locate places. Today we also have GPS, electronic trackers, map quests, and … These are all fine if you have a cell or satellite signal. Oh, and a fresh battery. Many of the places I hunt are so remote that electronics may not work.
A compass is a wonderful and simple tool. Take a reading, mark it on a landmark and you are on your way. I am amazed how few folks know how to locate East or West. A sunrise and sunset will get you started. Few Mountain Men had a compass. Usually just the leader or officer had any optics or primitive compass. Heck the Vikings used a lodestone hanging on a string to navigate the Atlantic Ocean.
One simple Trail Marker that I use is a pair of hand pruners. When I am travelling the wilderness, I prune any branches in my way. These pruned branches will be evident for years. On one hunting adventure, I got caught in a snowstorm. The storm limited visibility and covered any trails. I was able to navigate to the truck using my pruned branches. Pruned trails will also be used by critters.
Stacking rocks will also tell you where you have been. These monuments can last for decades to help you relocate special spots. Some folks use colored tapes to mark their trails, but everyone can see these unnatural and quickly weathered ornaments. You may not want to trash up the woods or tell everyone else where you hunt or fish.
Reflective tape or tacks are a great way to mark a trail when travelling at night. A flashlight can quickly show you where you placed your makers. I use a blue or green light to travel to my stand in the dark. These colors do not scare the critters as much as a bright white beam.
Finding your way home is as important as figuring out where to go!
For more Montana Grant, locate him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.