The number one question we’ve received from friends and family when we tell them about the Rebelle Rally is, “how do you prepare for something like that?” Well this is our first time, but as far as I’m concerned, the best answer is practice.
I won’t lie, when we got the notification that we were officially registered, my brain was filled with loads of excitement and also a slight panic. This is my first time navigating a trip with no GPS, and it’s over 1300 miles! My initial instinct was to sign up for just about every navigation class I could find within 200 mile radius of my house. Yes, I really did that. At one point I’d signed up for about 8 different workshops, which was totally overkill.
The Rebelle offers an online navigation course for competitors available through the competitor portal, along with several other helpful resources for preparing, too. They really do their best to make sure you’re set up for success. I also took the Wilderness Navigation course from the Mountaineers, and it was fantastic. If you’re in Washington, I’d definitely recommend it.
The Mountaineers course had approximately 15 hours of online content covering everything you need to know about using topographic maps & compasses for planning a route. After the online portion was completed, the class met up at Green Mountain for a group “field trip” to practice plotting bearings and navigating our way from one trail to another, climbing through lots of thick brush as we made our way to the our designated coordinates (as seen in the image above). It was a very fun and surprisingly challenging exercise that really boosted my navigation confidence.
Once I completed that course, I realized that there’s only so much you can learn about how to read a map & how to use a compass. The rest is really practice. So, I withdrew from my million classes, and I’ve started booking practice weekends instead.
“So how do you practice?” I’m glad you asked! My strategy is to have my husband give me the coordinates of various landmarks at areas we’re headed to adventure in. Then, I’ll plot them on a map and (hopefully) navigate us to the right spot. It’s a fun way to mix up our usual adventures and get some good practice in. Angie and I are currently planning a dunes adventure in Oregon to do exactly this, so we can get some solid practice together before October.
We’ll be back here & on Instagram to post updates as we go!