Posted by: James Wapotich | October 31, 2012

The Art of Pathfinding – How to Not Get Lost in the Woods

The Art of Pathfinding involves learning how to read the trails, understand the local topography, connect with the natural world and go deeper in your relationship with unseen world around us as it is embodied in our local Santa Barbara Backcountry.

Los Padres National Forest Interpretive Hike Day Trail

You may have seen in the news, stories about people getting lost on our local trails. Last year a hiker got lost along the Santa Ynez River behind Santa Barbara, and earlier this year two hikers got lost while hiking to Cathedral Peak.

Through this class you will learn skills and awareness that will allow you to remove the word lost from vocabulary. This class is not about being a survivalist or living off the land, but rather it’s about learning how to see the land as a more familiar place and how to read the trails so that you can find your way anywhere.

This 2-day workshop will take place in the Upper Santa Ynez Recreation Area and make use of the Blue Canyon and Mono Trails. The trails are mostly level and average 3 miles each. We will have plenty of time to hike each trail.

The class will be from 11AM-4PM on Saturday, November 17th and 9AM-4PM on Sunday, November 18th is structured such that people wanting to car camp in the area will have the opportunity to do so, as well as have some time for their own exploring – including the nearby Agua Caliente Hot Springs

Because of the lengthly drive it’s recommended that participants carpool. I will assist in coordinating all of that, including the car camping. For more information regarding the workshop, the location and the details please contact me at (805) 564-6946 or

The class is $75 per person, or bring a friend and save 20% each, limit 12 students. Must be able to comfortably hike 2-3 miles.

James Wapotich, is an experienced backpacker and has hiked many of the trails in our local backcountry, he is a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger with the Forest Service and is the author of Trail Quest, the weekly hiking column in the Santa Barbara News-Press.

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