Navigation and map reading are the two very important skills needed in the mountains, far from people. In fact, in some schools, it is taught as a subject or extra-curricular activity. Not only during trekking or hiking but map reading and navigation skills may come handy on various other moments. It is always handy to find your way yourself by just using navigation skills.
Following are the importance of navigation and map reading skills in trekking
1. Basic trekking skill
Map reading skills in trekking is one of the most basic skillsets one should have. It is one of the many skills that a trekker needs to use most frequently during his trekking period. It mostly comes handy if you are trekking on isolated or human uninhabited areas.
2. Always on track
During trekking, it is of utmost importance that you stay on track. Getting off the track can be hazardous especially in a snow-covered terrain where you can be easily lost. If you are a navigator and have maps reading skills you can always remain on the track. Good map reading skills in trekking can help you in lots of ways.
3. Will save your life
Small Mistakes in trekking may lead you towards death during walking to high mountains. Sometimes if unwanted accidents occur at the trekking terrains and you get separated from your group or one of your group members goes missing. Instead of waiting long hours for help to arrive, you can do something for yourself as well as your colleagues. To conclude map reading skills in trekking may save your life as well as your teams.
4. Independent traveler
Sometimes you want to be away from people and want to go on a solo adventure to find your inner peace. If you cannot navigate your ways in the trekking then you cannot go to your solo journey. If you want to be an independent traveler and want to go on solo hiking treks deep in the mountains you must learn map reading skills.
5. New trekking trails
If you are working for the trekking community and finding new trekking trails you must be very good at map reading and navigation. Not average but you need to be best to be able to find new trekking routes. It is a very hard task and the only team of professional navigator and map reader will efficiently do it.
6. Avoid danger
When the trekking trails becomes dangerous and non-accessible or other dangers such as landslide, avalanches occur they are indicated on a map. Even if they are not indicated on the map certain signs or boards are kept to warn the fellow travelers. If you are a good map reader or navigator you can always avoid such dangers.
As we can see navigation and map reading skills in trekking are very important. It’s good if you are a good map reader but if you are an amateur and want to be an expert map reader how to do it?
Following are the ways you could learn map reading
1. Get yourself a teacher
The most important step in learning how to read a map is to get yourself a teacher. Find someone who is expert and experienced in map reading and navigation activities. If you have a good teacher you can learn map reading in no time.
2. Teach yourself
You always may not have a teacher around to teach you things. If that’s the situation what you can do is teach yourself. In this age of technology, you can find and learn most of the things on the internet. Get a computer, open the browser, and just enter basic map reading skills in trekking. Surf the websites, watch tutorials on how to learn map reading for beginners. You can even buy various books on improving navigation skills and learning map reading so that it helps you in trekking.
3. Know your map’s features
Get yourself to know the features of the map for efficient map reading. First, select the type of map and try to know about it. Not just map type you must know it’s all features like the title, north arrow, grid references, legend, and the scale of the map. Not just the map and its lines but the features and scale put a huge difference in its precise use. So, before you go out on your trekking journey be well acquainted with the features also.
4. Keep practicing
First, learn then keep practicing your sills to polish it. The best way of practicing is to get a map of your well-acquainted place and try to read it. First find the north direction, set your map to the north, find yourself and try to find the landscapes indicated into the maps. The best way if improving map reading skills in trekking is to use your map reading skills in trekking so keep practicing.