You will need to be able to read a map for Spring Challenge - especially if you’re the team navigator.
It will also be handy if you know how to use a compass and have practised with it. Particularly for the 6 and 9 hour events, it will make life a lot easier if you can follow a compass bearing. It might sound scary and confusing but it’s straightforward with a bit of practise. You won’t be allowed a GPS, and normally it won’t help anyway.
Here’s a few options to get you started:
Your local orienteering or tramping club will be able to help you to learn and practise navigation.
Just for Girls Adventure Training run Spring Challenge navigation clinics that are aimed at beginners. Click here for the link to the Facebook page. These clinics are run by Nora Audra, an internationally successful adventure racer and 3 time winner of the 12 hour Spring Challenge. She has also written a super helpful article called Using a Compass 101.
The inside word is that Karen Muller (Fit for Life) and Rosie Shakespeare (Freedom Fitness and Coaching) will again join forces to run their popular Spring Challenge preparation sessions. These include help with basic navigation, team work, transitions, nutrition, equipment and clothing, and training ideas.
Another option is to ask the man in your life for help learning to navigate and use a compass, but this may lead to more confusion than clarity. “Yea yea I did it all the time back in Scouts.” Chances are however that when it comes down to it, the details are a bit foggy, and you’ll both end up in a right muddle.
There are certainly other options out there but these are the ones I’ve had great experiences with and learnt a lot from.
What on earth is a rogaine?
I like to think of a rogaine as a treasure hunt for big kids. It’s an event where teams of 2-5 people use a map to navigate to checkpoints. There is a certain time limit, ranging from 1 to 24 hours, and the checkpoints are worth different values. You choose your own route to get the highest possible score in the time frame allowed.
The type of maps used and navigation required is very similar to what you can expect at the Spring Challenge event. It’s a great way to train with your team mates and practise your navigation skills. Keep an eye out for rogaines in your area. Google and Facebook make this easy, just search “rogaine + <insert town/region>”.