Sit. Rep. #87: Staff, Mast & Peak

Trip Planning:

1- Let us take a few minutes to learn about planning & logistics from history. A good example and a good lesson comes from the Race To the South Pole that started in 1911.  Remember that it was “summer” down under.  Summer temperatures are on average during December are a high of -14 F (-25 C) with a low of -19 F (-28C).  January runs from -15 F (-26C) high and -21 F (-29C) low.  The South Pole is a desert with almost no precipitation during the whole year.  At the pole, the precipitation is about 2″ (59mm) per year.

    The two teams were headed by Roald Amundsen who lead the Norwegian and by Robert Falcon Scott, who headed the English.  The Norwegians set up many cache points along the route.  They used sled dogs pulling sleds.  The humans used skis to transverse the continent.  Scott’s team tried to use motorized sleds and ponies and dogs.  The motors and ponies died and the dogs were sent back to base camp.  Scott also added one member at the last minute to his team but did not increase his food caches.  Scott’s men then had to pull the sleds by hand that increased their food requirements and slowed the team down. Scott & his team ran out of food and ran into some horrible blizzards on the return trip from the pole.

    The Norwegians won the race on December 14, 1911.  And, sadly, Scott’s team died.  There is a permanent research facility named after both team leaders called: Amundsen-Scott Pole Station.

2- Were the Norwegians lucky?  I believe not.  They planned well and then executed their plan.  Scott’s team did not plan well and did not have reserves for the unexpected weather that they ran into.  Planning can and does make all the difference.  Luck shines brightly on the well-prepared.

Y- How can you make gold soup?
Z- Just add 24 carrots.

Hiking Tip:

3- A helpful hint while hiking:  Take a look around at all / everything you can see.  Look 360 by 360.  By that, I mean for you to look all 360 degrees horizontally.  And look 360 degrees vertically.  Take specifically a good look at the trail behind you.  Why?

    If you ever have to reverse direction the trail will not look the same as going forward.  Even trails with Blazes do not look the same.  Make this a habit. Also, look at camp as you are leaving so you have a mental picture of what camp looks like from the opposite direction.

Map Hints:

4- There are 4 Norths.  Most folks only talk about 2 or 3.  Four is the correct number.

  1.    Polaris the North Star.  Note: Earth’s “precession” takes about 26,000 years to wobble all the way around.  The North Star changes about every 6,500 years as a result of precession.
  2.    Magnetic North Pole.
  3.    The North Pole where the earth spins on its axis every 24 hours.
  4.    The North Pole called Grid North that is 90 degrees from the equator.  Most maps use Grid North.

Note: # 3 & 4 are identical at 0 deg. and at 180 deg. longitude.  The difference between the two is so small that most folks forget there is a difference.

5- The broad term that describes the difference between your compass and the North Pole / Grid North is Deviation.  Deviation is caused by things like iron or steel objects, power lines, watches, knives, table frames, belt buckles, cell phones, GPS units, vehicles, railroad tracks, motors, rebar in concrete, metal door frames, other compasses, ore deposits, magnetic rocks, lava, and the list goes on…

Compass Rose

5B- How do you correct for deviation?  Get away from the source / the thing that is causing the deviation.  There is no automatic or formula that will help except getting away from the cause.

6-Declination is the difference between the Magnetic North Pole and Grid North.  And there is a formula to correct for this deviation.  Note: the magnetic field of the earth is constantly moving.  Therefore you need to get the latest declination reading so you can apply the formula correctly.

6B- The earth has 2 agonic lines where the declination is ZERO.  No math is involved there.  The isogonic lines are where the declinations are all equal.  Some Scout Handbooks and Fieldbooks have declination maps.  Each topo map should have the declination in it’s Compass Rose.  The degrees of declination on the given published date of that map are from the center of the map.  Neither the agonic lines nor the isogonic lines are straight.  They curve around.  Be careful when assuming where the lines are.

6C-  When the declination is “westerly,” the magnetic pole is west of the grid pole.  When the magnetic pole is east of the grid north pole, that is called an “easterly” declination.  What you do with a westerly declination is to ADD some amount of angle to your compass to get the correct number of degrees from North.  Easterly declination means you subtract the correct number of degrees from North to get the correct number of degrees to set on your compass.

   Example:  West Declination of 4 degrees.  If you want to travel due East which is 90 degrees from Grid North.  You add 4 degrees to your compass heading.  So your compass reading is 94 degrees to get you headed to due East at 90 degrees from Grid North.

A: Why did the Vampire want The New York Times newspaper?
B: He heard it had great circulation.

7- Flag definitions:

  • K- Halyard: is the hoist rope that is used to raise & lower the flag using halyard clips to attach the flag.
    L- Hoist: is used to mean the width of the flag.  Hoist is also used to mean to raise the flag to the top.
    M- Old Glory: is a nickname for the flag that is said to be coined by Sea Captain William Driver.  He exclaimed “Old Glory” when the newly presented 24-star flag was unfurled in the breeze.
    N- Peak: is the highest point that the flag can be raised.
    O- Point Of Honor or Union: is the blue field with white stars in the canton.
    P- Staff:  flag pole on land.
    Q- Mast: flag pole on board ship.

C- What does a witch call her garage?
D- The broom closet.

Planning and adaptable,

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