I’ve been taking part in Humber College’s Outdoor Education program since September. It’s a fun program which has seen the group head out to Algonquin for a backpacking trip back in October to test our skills. This weekend as a part of the Orienteering class the group spent some time at the Humber Arboretum which lies directly behind the North Campus testing our skills.
As seen above, I’ve begun using a GPS tracking app Sports Tracker to map my route and elevation during the Orienteering course. I’ve have to say that it’s worked out pretty decently, most of the time I was on track with the exception of a few back trackings to re-orient myself. Having to orienting one self with nothing more then a map and a compass is challenging, not to mentioned that the map that we used was from 1972. Yes, 1972! So far back in time that Finch Avenue ended before the Humber river and highway 427 was just being constructed and had not reached this far north. Now the use of an old map was not without reason, the area surrounding Humber river has become heavily developed in the last 30 odd years. If we’d used a new map it would have been easy to orient oneself without the compass and simply just use buildings and paths as land markers.
The northern stretches of the Humber river near the North Campus as beautiful, the Arboretum is a wonderful place to explore and the valley supports numerous wildlife. During the session I’ve run into several deer, including a large buck with very impressive antlers as well as some coyotes which were rummaging through the woods for their next meal. Sadly as with most if not all wild-spaces in Toronto, the impact of people was painfully obvious. Even in the thickest of woodlots there was garbage scattered about. Along the way I’ve ran into well over a dozen make shift shelters with alcohol containers strewn about, it seems that the valley has some seasonal residence.
The most random thing that I’ve even encountered was the sight seen above. A party in the woods. I honestly don’y know what to make off it at all, and I don’t think that I want to. As for the orienteering itself, I feel quite confident using a map and compass at the moment. I’ve been pretty much on target with all of the markers, never being more then 5-10 meters from any marker I was looking for. Now that being said, this was of course in a controlled environment where you could easily see campus and building around it so at no point did I feel lost. The real test would be to do this in the middle of Algonquin.