ARTICLE WRITTEN BY PRIVATE FANG
Westmount, Quebec – 29 September 2023: In an effort to enhance our navigation skills, The Royal Montreal Regiment organized a training session in navigation for its members on 23 September 2023, including two inexperienced private recruits, one of whom is myself. This training was conducted under the supervision of our CO, LCol Jonasz. We embarked on a journey in pairs, venturing into the forest near Viking Cross Country Ski Club, relying solely on our map and compass. Our objective was to navigate the terrain and locate as many checkpoints as possible. These checkpoints were clearly marked on our map, along with vital information such as contour lines, terrain indicators, and designated trails. The more experienced members of our group played a crucial role in breaking down the map into these essential components and demonstrating effective techniques for navigating the topography. These techniques included:
– Utilizing prominent landmarks as temporary checkpoints before recalibrating both your compass and your overall sense of direction. While the shortest path to any point is a straight line, implementing this in practice can be difficult.
– Paying attention to the surrounding terrain and any existing trails. Identifying a body of water to the north and a trail behind you can help in determining your precise location.
After the exercise came the feast consisting of a variety of surprisingly delicious rations. Cooking a meal out of a bag was a first for me and it, in and of itself, was a fun experience. Overall, I highly recommend this activity to anyone seeking a brief escape into nature or an opportunity to engage with fellow unit members whom you might not typically interact with. A word of advice from this recruit: In my experience, avoid wearing breathable running shoes for this exercise as the only thing it will be breathing is murky, muddy, water!