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Backcountry Navigation Recap

On Saturday April 23rd SheJumps headed out to Northfield Recreation Area in Northfield MA to learn some backcountry navigation skills. I have been wanting to have an event like this for a long time. I myself don’t know how to use a compass and during pervious events we found that many women also wanted these skills. I worked with Jordan from Eastern Mountain Sports Haldey MA to put this clinic together.


The day started out with learning some basics, from terms to counting paces. Then we took a look at the map and learned how to line it up with the compass. From there Jordan spent time teaching us how to orient ourselves to find the first marker. “The main idea is that you use your compass to line up the two points and find out the direction of travel. You can also estimate how many meters away the marker will be. Then you take your compass and with your back to the marker you angle your body to match the direction of travel. Then you walk in that direction until you arrive at the post.” – Mary Sabelli frequent Northeast participant. This was not easy! There are so many ways to lose your pace, get too focused on the compass, or start veering off in another direction.


The morning was spent practicing in one area and also learning other techniques like leap frogging which can help you stay on course despite walking through dense forest. After lunch partners headed off into the woods to see how many markers they could find. All pairs would have stayed out probably all night if we let them! It was awesome to see women feeling more confident and using the skills they had learned earlier in the day.

Here are a few quotes from the day

“Thank you so much for hosting this event! I feel far more confident using multiple variations of maps to navigate.”

“Learning the basics was very helpful. Gave us a good opportunity to chat with each other and take the pressure off. Thanks so much for my new found confidence!”

“Great base to start from, I’m excited to practice and get a little more comfortable.”


This event was exactly what I set out to make happen at all my events. Build confidence, skills and community. I was so excited to see women planning to get together for hikes and to practice the skills they had just learned. This is just the start of the summer events for the Northeast SheJumps team and I’m really excited about all that we have planned! A huge thank you to all of our partners for this event, Eastern Mountain Sports Hadley MA, Ecolips, Little Red Wagon Coffee and Munk Pack.

Make sure to keep checking on the SheJumps Northeast website for upcoming events. As well as our facebook group – SheJumps Northeast Region for the most up to date information and meet up groups!

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