So one of our field day events with the Wilderness Trekking School included learning how to navigate by map and compass. Turns out this is a lot of fun! Plus the compass helps give you a good sense of direction and carefully studying and following a map you get a much better appreciation of the details of the land. It's also nice to be able to go off-trail! Admittedly it felt a little faux pas at first, but it was nice to have that freedom to go around wherever you want. :)
For this event we were given points to plot on our map, bearing 139 degrees relative to the spring of a river. and sometimes we'd get a hint like it's at 7600 ft., on the northwest side of a hill.
It's so cool the different techniques for actually getting to a location. For example, let's say you know where you are and you want to go straight to a point (which often is not the easiest way.. it may be up a mountain, through thick brush, or off the side of a cliff). You can set a bearing of 139 degrees and eye an object in the distance that lines up with that direction and walk towards it. When you get there, line your compass up again, find another distant object like a tree or whatever, and walk towards that.
Sometimes you don't have an object to spot and so you use a friend. What you do is find the direction you want to go and have them walk out in that direction. You motion to them right or left with your hand and get them to line up with where your compass points. They'll backsight, which means they do the same thing looking backwards to make sure you're 180 degrees in the opposite direction of where they were going, and when both people are happy with the alignment, the person in the back walks up to the person in the front. This works well, but the problem with it is that it's pretty slow going, especially when you have a large group.
Another option is to leap frog, where you have 3 people doing this alignment process. One person stays on the point that they know is in line towards the target, the second person walks out and gets aligned, and the third person walks even farther to get ready for the next alignment. This third person helps everyone progress that much more quickly.