Following are a few navigation tips to help you return safely.
Trust your compass, especially at night.
Hiking at night is slower. Take special care at dusk as many get lost at this time, as you adjust to the change in pace and visual references.
There are often unmarked tracks along spurs and gullies. Be wary of relying too heavily on tracks for navigation, as they are often marked incorrectly. Use minor tracks as a guide only.
Determine the number of steps it takes you to walk 100 metres along tracks, open bush and thick bush. Use this to pace count and help measure distances between features and along roads and compass bearings.
Use obvious features as ‘attack’ points for checkpoints i.e. Instead of trying to navigate directly to a checkpoint along a bearing over a long distance, navigate to a nearby feature, such as a knoll, and then navigate to the checkpoint. This reduces the chances for error when following bearings for long distances.
Always be aware of your position and match the terrain to the map. This will ensure that you pick up any deviations from your route early.
The bush along spurs and ridgelines is generally more open and faster. Bush in gullies is often thick and slower.