If orienteering is something you've never heard of, or if you've never had a chance to try it for yourself, fret not! Despite being a wildly popular sport in many parts of the world, orienteering is relatively unknown in the US. It's not part of our public education system, and we don't see huge events with dozens of sponsors careening through our local parks.

So there's no need to worry if compass bearings, route choice, and aiming-off seem like foreign terms. Orienteering, at it's core, is about deciding how to get from one place to another. We do this everyday, whether it's going to work, walking to school, or trying to avoid traffic. 



    The path we decide to take to get from one place to the next. Often times there are multiple possible ways to get from one checkpoint to another. Each of these options counts as its own possible route choice.


    Using the compass to measure a specific direction. This can be done several ways, but traditionally it is done by turning a dial on the compass to find an angle relative to north. This is most useful when navigating off-trail through complex terrain.


    Intentionally travelling to the right or the left of a target landmark. By aiming-off, an orienteer will know for certain which direction they must turn once their reach their landmark. By doing this, they know for certain they must turn left after arriving at a trail in order to find the junction.


    Determining where you are in terrain after becoming lost. There are many ways to relocate depending on one's skill level. The most basic way is to retrace your steps to the last place you were certain of your location. One can also relocate by observing their surroundings and matching them up with the map.


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