Learn your area of operations

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Learn your area of operations.  I was out the other day strolling about and I realized how well I know my neighborhood and the town that I live in.  I know the streams, ponds, rivers, lakes, creeks and seasonal water.  I know the woods and fields.  I bet you could blindfold me set me down anywhere within a five mile radius and I could point to it on a map.  You should be able to do the same too.

You have to learn you neighborhood well.  You should know what wild foods are edible and where and when they grow. There is only one way to do it.   Walking is best because you see much more than you do driving.  When you are in a car you don’t even notice all of the little hills that you go over.  When you are walking or riding a bike you notice each and every hill.   Similarly, when you are whizzing by at 45 mph you can’t really check out the landscape, flora and fauna (15 points using flora & fauna in the same sentence).

When you are walking you’ll begin to notice what the same plant looks like at different times of the year.  I usually walk a lot, but with the sun setting so early during these short winter days it’s tough.  Still walking is the best way to learn the area.  Take your time. Look around.  Really open your eyes.  When you see something don’t just look at it and take it for what what it is, but ask why or why not.   Zen.  Keep an eye out for where water may be, places to stash stuff or hide if need be, places to camp or forage, keep an eye out for things you can use now or at some time in the future.   When you see those red canes leaning over in the winter remember to come back in the summer for sweet berries.  Figure out where the electrical substations, powerlines, water and sewage treatment, refineries, chemical plants, factories, police, hospitals, fire stations, reservoirs all are.

You should own some map books of your state and the surrounding states. I’m not a big fan of the folding state maps.  They’re ok, but they don’t show enough detail for me.   mapI like these Delmore maps by state.  They show all the detail you really need, but it doesn’t list the name of every side street and it’s not a real detailed topographic map.  Delorme maps do have topo lines, roads, highways, campgrounds, natural and man made attractions, state parks, recreational areas, lakes, rivers, streams, railroads and trails.  You should own a map book like these Delorme ones for your state and each of the contiguous (5 points) states.  You also need a book for each of the states that your bug out plans call for you to traverse.  Like I said these map books are great all purpose maps, but for going afield I like the the old 1:24000 USGS maps.  The USGS topo maps are what I use when I go hiking.  They show as much detail as you could ever want.  They even show seasonal water.

If you don’t know how to read a map that is one skill you don’t want to delay learning.   Having a map and knowing how to read it can mean the difference between sweet, sweet life and a cold and shivering or gaunt and starving death.  GPS units are great, but have a compass and know how to use it.

I guess what I am trying to say is GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY!!©

Doing what I now do. Notice all the seals in the water and moi is the only one standing?

tThe waves are supposed to be 10 foot tall this weekend because of Ida.

Scrapings from a woodpecker.  This stuff id light up pretty well with just a firesteel I bet.  You’d never see this pile of sawdust driving around.

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2 Responses to “Learn your area of operations”

  1. Ticom Says:

    The Delorme atlases are excellent! First got introduced to them back in 1990.

    RE: GPS and compasses. The New England Region has many areas which are not GPS friendly as I have discovered in my wanderings. Similarly, there are also places, due to the high content of iron in the ground, where compass readings get a little weird. One should learn how to navigate without the aid of either.

    Local area knowledge is essential! I find it amazing when I talk to people who have no idea of what’s right down the road from them.

  2. Prepper News Watch for March 15, 2013 | The Preparedness Podcast Says:

    […] Learn your area of operations | Abraham’s Blog […]

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