I’m the kind of person who gets in the car, plugs in the place I need to go, and listens to googlemaps tell me the steps I need to take without looking at the whole set of directions, or even the map, unless I’m just double checking the I put in the right destination. So orienteering didn’t come super easy to me.
Last night we’d had a lecture, workshop on how to find our bearings using a compass and map, and how to match up true north on the maps to our magnetic norths on our compasses, in order to get from point A to point B. I was having a lot of mental blocking, and was so heartened by how nice everyone was about explaining things to me again, and helping me figure it out. It was so cool that we have people going into fields like EM, FM, anesthesia, psychiatry, etc. They’ve spent years doing stuff like river rafting guiding, being in the Canadian military, hiking in Denmark, being a gardner and majoring in philosophy, and writing books on meditation. And we’re all here helping each other learn how to find their way through the woods. Such a unique group. Lol
The morning of the race, I was a little nervous, as it was snowing out, and we didn’t know what to expect. So I overdressed, overate and overhydrated, and then we were given a map of the camp grounds, as well as a topographical map, with 7 destination points marked on and off the trails. We were given 3-5 minutes to look them over before we had to go start, and had to come back with pictures of each piece of marked flagging Dr. McCracken had laid out for us.
Again, my group was Duncan and Jordan, 2 super compassionate, friendly people. Our incentive was to have fun, learn how to get our bearings and get to where we needed to go, and also to be great team players. So we had a great time and took tons of selfies, and didn’t get upset when we lost the trails and took a little longer than expected. The day cleared up and warmed up a little, and it was just such an enriching experience to be able to work together with two other people who were working to be as aware of their surroundings as possible, and translate the information on the maps into ways we could use it to our advantage. It felt like we were all trying to allow for everyone else to take the time they needed to figure out how to understand the logic of our plans, or offer alternative perspectives, that we could all trust would be respected.
When we came across other groups, sometimes we paired up to figure out how to find a piece of flagging, sweeping a wide swath of area together, careful to make sure everyone stayed within earshot and eyeshot of the person next to them. No one felt competitive, and even the people who ended up getting it all done in 88 minutes attributed it to just being really lucky. I assume eventually things might not stay as respectful and friendly, with the biggest emphasis being on humility and fostering strong learning environments, but I’ve got to say- it’s pretty freaking nice.