My wife’s new iPhone comes with a diminutive booklet of instructions printed in type so small that my O-loupe with 2.75x mag is needed just to bring the letters into focus. (The center of the Pawtuckaway map is pellucid by comparison.) The legal department at Apple seems to have urged more than usual lawyerly elusiveness on whoever wrote the booklet, for it contains no page numbers. You’ll have to take my word that the rookie iPhoner is informed that:
iPhone contains an internal digital compass located in the upper-right corner of iPhone. The accuracy of digital compass headings may be negatively affected by magnetic or other environmental interference, including interference caused by the close proximity of the magnets contained in the iPhone earbuds. Never rely solely on the digital compass for determining direction. Compare the information provided on iPhone to your surroundings and defer to posted signs to resolve any discrepancies. Do not use location-based applications while performing activities that require your full attention.

by Peter Amram

In Sermons in Stone, a cheery rumination on that staple of off-trail orienteering in the northeast, the stone wall, the author, Susan Allport, declares:

Taken together, the states of New England and New York had more miles of stone walls [in 1871] than the United States has miles of railroad track today. The work that went into them, according to one estimate, would have built the pyramids of Egypt one hundred times over. It has been said that two men could build about ten feet of stone wall a day, an estimate that included the time required to gather the stone and lay a foundation. (p. 18)

Think of that the next time you gratefully scamper alongside some long-dead farmer’s boundary, in hopes of locating a little orange-and-white triangular box kite.

by Peter Amram

Jim Crawford of NEOC alerted me to yet another instance of Lit-O, in which the written page yields a union of life, art, and orienteering.
It was a very high-profile race, featuring a unique chase start, and it began at 10:13 p.m. on Friday, April 14, 1865. The start triangle was in Washington, D.C., centered precisely on what is now 511 Tenth Street, where there was then, and there is still, a theater. Oddly, the Finish was vague: anyplace in the Deep South. The two leaders were traveling together, rogaine-style. Their trailing competition consisted mainly of a detachment of twenty-six men from the Sixteenth New York Cavalry.

by Peter Amram

The hero of Kim, Rudyard Kipling's classic of adventure and intrigue in India in the late 19th century, is a young Irish orphan, Kimball O'Hara. Kim enters a school specializing in geography and cartography. His covert sponsor for this education was the cynical and exacting British Secret Service, and Kim was being prepared as an intelligence agent for the Great Game: the struggle between the British and Russians for control of Central Asia.

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