Growing up in a rural area of Connecticut, I have always loved the outdoors. It’s been a while since I’ve done any outdoor activities, and have been wanting to do something adventurous lately. I recently came across L.L.Bean’ s Outdoor Discovery School. They offer demonstrations, classes, and adventure trips near areas where there are L.L.Bean store locations. I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to get outside and connect with some new people who share the same interests! The closest one that they offered was an orienteering adventure in Macedonia State Park. It sounded like a fun daytrip, so my friend and I decided to participate! The spots fill up quickly, so we had to sign up a few weeks in advance. They have a description of the adventure trips on the website, with location details and instructions on what to bring. Orienteering was the perfect place to start. I did an Outward Bound excursion in Oregon back in high school, so I know how to read a typography map, but haven’t used compass navigating since. Orienteering is a sport in which people use a map and a compass to travel along a route they do not know as quickly as possible.
The group met at Macedonia State Park in Kent, CT today. There were 6 of us from all different areas of Connecticut. The instructor from L.L.Bean was very nice and helped us to practice basic map and compass skills. After that, we decided which direction to go in, and began our climb. The hike itself was much harder than I thought it would be – the group had chosen a fairly treacherous path to take. It took about an hour to get to the top, but was worth the spectacular views from the overlook. The descend down was much harder and took almost double the amount of time, but ended up being a really great hike. The only thing that I didn’t like was that we really only learned basic compass skills. I was hoping to brush up on some more advanced skills, like how to shoot bearings. This is something that I had previously learned how to do, and would’ve loved a refresher. I’m hoping that L.L.Bean will start to offer different levels of adventures/classes.
Overall, it was a fun experience and a great way to spend a Sunday. I would highly recommend the L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery School, but would suggest signing up way in advance to secure your spot! I hope you enjoyed reading, and please let me know if you have any questions or comments! To learn more, visit: http://www.llbean.com/llb/ods/33?page=outdoor-discovery-schools&nav=gnro-hp