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Orienteering 102: Bushwhacking

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Ready for a more challenging orienteering experience?  This workshop will be a guided hike and hands-on orienteering lesson off course and off trail. The goal is to enjoy a great hike in one of the most picturesque places in Virginia, get comfortable hiking off-trail, and learn and practice the following techniques:

• How to plan a route using a map

• Taking a bearing using a compass

• Adjusting for declination

• Following a route through rugged mountain terrain

This workshop is intended for those with hiking experience, and has a difficulty level of moderate to strenuous. No previous experience with orienteering is necessary, but the participant should be familiar with reading topographic maps. There will be approximately 7 miles of on-trail hiking, and approximately 1.5 miles of off-trail that will involve bushwhacking and some steep pitches (both up and down).

Plan: Meet at River Rock Outfitter in Fredericksburg at 7am. Drive 2hr 15min to the Reeds Gap parking lot and hike south on the AT. Hike up to the first overlook for snack and classroom portion of orienteering workshop. From there orienteer 1 mi (bushwhack) downhill to the Mau-Har Trail, hike on trail for a little, then orienteer 0.5 mi uphill back to the AT, and hike north back to the parking lot. The terrain will include broad mountainsides, some tight valleys, open forest, and dense laurel groves. We expect the hiking to take about 6.5 hours (9:30am – 4pm), but this may vary considerably based on speed of the group. On the way back, there will be an optional stop at the Blue Mountain Brewery (25 min from the trail head) for some well-deserved refreshment at a classic local brewery. We will plan to be back at River Rock by 7:30-8pm at the latest.

What do you need to bring:

• A compass, preferably with adjustable declination (options available at River Rock).

• A new waterproof National Geographic map of the Blue Ridge around Lexington is included in the price.

• Lunch, plenty of snacks, and at least 3 liters of water.

• Wear long pants, sturdy hiking shoes with ankle support. Also consider extra layers in case of cold weather. I will post an update as the trip nears with expected weather concerns, but as always, prepare for anything!!

Cost: $65

Call 540-372-8708 or come by to River Rock to reserve your spot!




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