SIMPLE "HOW TO" ABOUT THE HIKING AND MILITARY COMPASS

Page 2 - STAYING FOUND

There is more to working with a compass then detailed in the first of these emails, the first page of this series. The intent is to introduce things that way. What we want to do is get a simple, basic understanding of the compass and its use. If one "gets" the basis for how the compass works, they will always be able to use it.

The LORD has gifted me with the ability to write, and the ability to teach. I always know what to intro first, and how to build the basis for future learning. Number one is that you do not rush it.

I have on my desk in front of me the book "Staying Found", the Complete Map & Compass Handbook, 2nd Edition, by June Fleming. The ISBN is 0-89886-397-X. I had to order it, and Borders Books in Winston, 727-8834, (I think the area code is 336), got it for me in a couple of days. It was $12.95 plus tax. It is a thin book, but don't let that scare you. She packs a lot into it.

COMPASS USE

What I am going to do is read along with the author, and explain to you what she is saying. I will not print the text, only follow the baseline of her teaching. It should be like we were both sitting together, and I wanted to make a point.

Many times I will just purely write my understanding, having looked over the book. (What I actually do is allow the LORD to order my steps, and almost everyone will follow what is being written.)

IN THE WILD

What you don't realize is that actually using a compass in the wild is not easy. You have many obstacles in your way. What trail have you gone down in a straight line?

There is a paradox in that the further away you are from an object, the less accurate your compass bearing taken on that object will be. The other leg of the paradox is that you need to sight on objects as FAR AWAY as you can, in order to get an accurate reading of what direction to travel. (The above paragraph is purely from my desk.)

The author writes that there are an infinite number of "60 degree bearings," and only one that you want. The example I used last time was like traveling on the tines of a fork. If you start out on one bearing, or tine, you probably won't arrive on the same tine.

What you want to do is artificially impose a particular straight line of travel on an un-cooperating world. And here I thought this was not going to be a spiritual topic.

What you can do is pick an object or landmark that lies somewhere on that straight line between you and where you are going. Heading towards that, however you get there, puts yo back on your line. You know that, however you have wandered, and what you have had to go around, when you get to that point, you are still bearing with the right direction. God is good.

Sometimes there is no landmark, and you send a friend up the trail to be that landmark. Line them up with you compass setting, and walk to where they are. That gets you back on the bearing. Friends are sometimes a great help, especially when they point you back to God.

Sometimes people head for a line, a ridge, a river, or a fence. Aiming to the right or left, they know which way to travel when they hit it. We always know in our spirit when we are not quite on the mark, and which way to go to get Home. I did not plan this spiritual part.

If you come to a large obstacle, you need to plot around it. Keeping written track, head to the right, by your compass, fifty paces, (or whatever you need to.) . Using your compass again, for another 90 degree turn, this time left, maintain a line that gets you past the obstacle. Then, take another 90 degree turn, to the left, and walk your fifty paces again.

What you have done is plotted your way around an obstacle. God sees what will be in our way and will, if we let Him, get us around the problem. End of page 2. Paul.