Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Survival in 5th Grade - Orienteering!

A couple weeks ago the 5th graders had a whole day of orienteering - first learning the basics of compass use, practicing that in an open field - and then.....we were set loose into the wilds (literally Cohutta Wilderness).  As the adults, we weren't supposed to correct or set them on course, but to guide, or tell them to "check again" etc....We were at their mercy!  Around 11 or 11:30, we were dropped off on a road, given a setting (see, I've forgotten the proper term already - was it "bearing"?) and that would should bring us back to the practice field.   If you're following the logic here, that means we have to go in a STRAIGHT line from point A to point B (felt like point Z).  This means over hill and dale, through thickets, through trees, up and down cliffs, over rivers streams, bear lairs, mud sloughs, swamps, sinking sand and other minor obstacles. (Please  -  am I not allowed a little exaggeration??!!)  Here are a few pics of our (long) day. 

At first, everything checked out peaceful and calm...(albeit a little blurry)

We all headed over to the council fire to learn the theory of compassing.

No problem - only a couple hundred feet of scenic flatland

Here we are.  It's a little chilly, hence the fire.  However, the "counsellors" were running out of wood - no problem, they sent some of the 5th graders out into the woods to find some, and a couple of the dads did some quick chopping.

Listen carefully - your life could depend on it!!

Aaahhhh, NOW we're talking!  That's more like a fire!

No help to us in the "time of trouble"....

OK, we need to get this sighting straight.  One dad doesn't trust that compass - he's got his own on an iPhone app!

The abandonment drop off point for one group - there were at least 5 groups of 5.

Lunch break on the "trail" already for our group. 

Are you sending us in the right direction?

I think I'll sit right here and wait for a helicopter.  Don't worry about me, you go on ahead....

Into the deep..........steep?...........weep!

Hey, we can barely see you!

Oh no! Where IS everybody?

Oh, here they are taking a break by a lovely creek!  We MUST be close to "home" (but oh no - we were actually still about an HOUR from home with a couple more MOUNTAINS to go over!!!!!)

Let's take a break, shall we?

Whew, at last we made it back!  We were only a few hundred feet off.  Total distance covered was about  twenty fifteen   ten  one (and a half) miles. (SURELY it was more!?)

We were treated to a hotdog and burnt fire-roasted baked beans supper! Delicious!!

Thank you Southern's OE program - that was super fun and VERY educational!  (and the only lasting (physical) momento is a sore shoulder from grabbing onto a tree as I went over a cliff - must have strained a ligament - we won't even mention the psychological counselling and potent meds needed afterward).

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