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The ability to use primitive and modern tools of navigation is key to a safe trip into the backcountry.
In 2001 a search and rescue team performed a successful missionfinding the injured and lost subject and directing the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to the pickup point. The team of ten gracious volunteers had used a GPS to navigate in. They felt great pride as the helicopter turned and left the location. Imagine how quickly their pride and sense of safety vanished when the GPS batteries went dead. The team had made a fatal error. Not one member knew enough about using a map and compass to navigate back to safety. Fortunately, they swallowed their pride and radioed the USCG rescue helicopter again asking for assistance. After a long wait, the helicopter returned and hovered over their base campproviding a sound vector that helped the team navigate out. The reason for telling this true story is to emphasize how important basic navigation skills are. Take the time to learn them before jumping to the wonderful world of technology.