Don’t get lost in the woods |

Don’t get lost in the woods

Shauna Farnell

BRECKENRIDGE – When exploring remote areas of the High Country, it’s easy to take for granted how little it takes to get lost in the woods.

“When people are out in the backcountry, a lot of times they realize they don’t read maps as well as they thought they could,” said Leslie Ross of Babes in the Backcountry, who, in conjunction with Summit Huts Association and Colorado Ski and Bike Tours, will conduct the fifth annual Navigation Workshop July 13-14.

“Map skills take practice,” Ross said. “There are so many fine details little gulleys and land figures. Even if you grew up using maps, you can always learn more. In Colorado, a lot of our hiking is up above treeline. People often forget that weather can come in, and how easy it is to get disoriented. There’s false summits and all sorts of confusing land features.”

The workshop is a two-day course at Francie’s Cabin in Breckenridge that helps participants strengthen their route-finding skills with compass bearings, topographic line interpretation and use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

“For folks that do a lot of hiking and backpacking, doing a fourteeners tour, or the Colorado Trail, the GPS is an incredible tool for people who want to travel to places that are pretty remote,” Ross said. “In the backcountry with a map, people tend to look at it and see what they want to see. Or, you see that this is where you are and that’s where you want to be. They look at the guide book and try to remember. When you’re hiking, you forget those details – how many miles to something, where to turn, etc.”

The orienteering skills provided by the navigation workshop will help individuals travel the backcountry year-round. The workshop involves two nights of hut accommodations at Francie’s Cabin, which is equipped with indoor composting toilets and a wood burning sauna, classes, and field work in the Crystal Lakes Basin Area. Sleeping bags and backpacks will be transported to the cabin by truck. Francie’s Cabin is a 2.25-mile hike from Breckenridge.

The Navigation Workshop is July 13-14. Space is limited to 16 participants. The cost is $150 per person including two nights at the hut, dinner, breakfast, coffee, tea and snacks, two days of classes and field work, equipment demos and giveaways. The workshop is open to men and women over the age of 18. Those under 18 should be accompanied by an adult. If families or groups of five sign up together, the fifth person is free. To register, or for more information, call (970) 453-4060 or visit the coed summer workshop section of Registration closes July 12.

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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