How to find your way around: in the countryside (II)

You may find it useful to review the post where we talked about the orientation in the city. Today we will give some tips for knowing how to situate ourselves in the countryside or in the mountains.

Perched eagle

When travelling, especially if you are going to the mountains for the day or for camping, it is useful to carry a compass. With today's technology, mobile phones often have a built-in digital compass, although it's better not to rely entirely on technology and carry an "analogue" compass in your backpack. Or at least carry the necessary elements to make one at any time (see this article where we explain how to make a compass).

Indications on a footpath

If we go hiking to relieve the stress of the "mundane noise", let's take a good look at all the details that nature offers us and let's be surprised by them as if we were innocent children. In this way, we will enjoy our walk more, we will get to know our surroundings better and, incidentally, we will pick up elements that will help us in case we intend to return along the same path: a curious stone or a beautiful plant. It is useful to turn around from time to time to see what the path will look like when you walk back the other way. This is especially advisable at a crossroads.

Try to carry a small notebook with you, especially when you go to a new place. It will be essential to write down all the detours and roads you take.

Depending on where you walk, trees can harbour lichens. Think of them as growing on the north-facing.

There are more and more signposted hiking trails. If so, look carefully at the markings and never lose sight of them. The colours do not mark the difficulty, as is often thought, but the length of the total route (which you do not have to walk the whole way): red designates those routes of more than 50 kilometres, and yellow, those of less than 50 kilometres. The green ones are a separate case: local and shorter routes. If a long time passes and you do not see any markings, it is advisable to retrace your steps. If you see the marking next to a cross, the meaning is clear: do not go there. The cross next to the colour is usually drawn at crossroads, which are the most conflictive points on the routes.

Stone with indications

Be careful: if you see other coloured markings (purple, blue, signs with ribbons, etc.), do not trust them. They are signs made by a group of hikers on their way to a specific place, but they are not official marks, so it is not advisable to follow them.

Another very useful aspect for orientarnos is the wind. If we study their characteristics, they can tell us which way is north. For example, the Tramontana wind, which is cold and turbulent, comes from the north and the Levante wind, which blows in the Mediterranean, comes from the east.

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