I’m getting ready to make a long, and from what I’m told, boring drive from Indiana to Badlands National Park for a few nights backpacking. When I mention the Badlands, I seem to get mixed responses. Those that weren’t fans liken it to a wasteland and wonder why I would even want to go backpacking there. Others loved it and said it “felt like I was on another planet.” Time away in the backcountry can only be good. Right? I’m pumped, regardless.
Assuming we stay on course, we’ll be doing a roughly 22 mile loop. There will be no trail so I’m brushing up on my orienteering skills. If you want to learn the basics of navigating with a topo map and a compass, I would recommend Be Expert With Map & Compass: The Complete Orienteering Handbook by Bjorn Kjellstrom. I’ve read it a few times. The skills it teaches have got me out of a pinch more than once, and kept me mostly on the right path in the wilderness, if not in life.
In addition, I’ll be able to track against our planned course on my phone (even without a phone signal) and on my new GPS watch. This is my first for using either of these while backpacking, and it feels kind of like cheating. I feel too connected, when the point is to disconnect. So we’ll see how it goes.
Look for a trip review coming soon, along with reviews for some new gear I’ll be trying out: Osprey Aether AG 70 pack, MSR 10 liter dromedary bag, and a Garmin Fenix 5X GPS watch.