The Missouri Department of Conservation is giving advanced land navigators the chance to take their skills to the next level on an extreme orienteering outdoor adventure Saturday at the Weldon Spring Conservation Area in St. Charles, Missouri.
“Orienteering: Emphasis on the Features of a Topographic Map” is scheduled from noon to 5 p.m.
Participants will meet at August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in the main building, located at 2360 Highway D in St. Charles for an introduction, and then move to nearby Weldon Spring for a hike.
A reasonable degree of physical fitness is needed, since participants will be hiking four-to-six miles through challenging and rugged terrain in the conservation area, which borders the Missouri River and consists of more than 7,000 acres of steep, forested river bluffs and deep hollows.
The class is designed for those who already have a basic understanding of topographical map and compass use and want to extend their knowledge further.
Participants will get the opportunity to apply map interpretation skills to actual land features on this off-trail trek. They’ll work with MDC naturalists to identify landforms from a topographical map, including valleys, saddles, waterways and ridges. The adventure will offer the chance to discover hidden landmarks in the rugged and steep woods of Weldon Spring that everyday trail hikers rarely see, such as graveyards and remnants of settlers’ homesteads.
The program is open to participants ages 18 and older. Those ages 12 to 17 can also participate if accompanied by an adult. It is designed for those who have a working knowledge of an orienteering compass and desire more experience with reading a map. Dressing for the weather and wearing good hiking boots is encouraged, as is bringing plenty of water, some high-energy snacks and a flashlight.
The program is free but advanced registration is required by going to https://bit.ly/2S5HyFL.
(Editor’s note: Information provided by the MDC.)