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Extreme Navigation Class

Our guests wanted a trial by fire. To be thrown to the wolves, so to speak. Left to fend for themselves or to perish while trying… okay, okay, we’re exaggerating. They, did, however, mention the word “extreme.” But by this they really meant to make it real — to not hold back and offer a legitimate experience they could take to the bank for years to come. We delivered. While Wilderness Navigation is a highly perishable skill, with regular practice — and if they do their homework — it can serve them a lifetime.

Due to Covid-19 we are doing things differently. We refuse to help this virus spread so we are being super cautious. Instead of the regular classroom segment of our regular one-day Wild Nav class, we are doing the classroom portion virtually one day, then following that up the afternoon of the next day with the field portion. In this case it was a two-day program which we effectively split into three days. Doing it this way costs us more, but safety first, right?!

Day one was all the classroom stuff in a morning, delivered by Redline Guide Mike Cherim in a way we’ve now become accustomed to. It’s actually quite effective. We just had to alter the structure. This was done via Facebook Messenger. Day two Mike finally met our guests in person at our Basecamp. After a brief planning session using an incredibly helpful folding table, the class caravanned over to Echo Lake State Park where we regularly conduct field work. After that they went to the Intervale Overlook with its sight-lines to finish the day, gaining more useful skills.

Day three, which would normally be day two of our two-day course, was led by both Mike and Ken Hodges and was at first spent at Basecamp for a strategy session, then in the field off of a White Mountain hiking trail off of Route 16. The goal for the day was to find and implement the best route to summit the trailless 2102′ Popple Mountain, visit all of its spectacular ledges, mount a summit canister, sign the log inside, then create an alternate route for the return trip. This would involve one bushwhack that would have some early compass work supplemented with some hand-railing as well as some dead-reckoning, followed by two more compass-centric bushwhacks. The team also utilized one hiking trail and two ski trails. The mission: successful (minus scaring up a yellow jacket nest). The class did a fine job with the planning as well as the execution. Now they can honestly go pretty much anywhere they want. They no longer need trails to get around. This is empowering.

Day two, normally day one (it’s a Covid thing), is all about being outdoors from planning to execution.

Day three, normally day two, begins the day the same way: with a planning session. The class impresses us with their ideas.

Next challenge. Let’s not have to wade through. They all succeeded. The water is that low.

Some of this bushwhack’s rewards. Stunning.

Redline Guide Ken Hodges with a guest: “That must drop 200 feet!’


This isn’t on the summit, per se, but it’s pretty close. Close enough.

We get to be the first people to sign this logbook.

The exit offered up some of this awesomeness.

We stop at the river.

Crossing back. No problem.

Well done, guys. You’re ready to get out there.

Great job, class, and thank you for choosing Redline Guiding.

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