A Tracker's


The Basic Practice

We learn to trail by following trails.  It is the one essential practice behind everything in Trailing Wildlife.  In addition, you will deepen your experience on trails if you journal your time doing it.

A black bear's scat full of beech nuts.Trailing Wildlife has a different journal for each level of skill, but it always includes notes about recent weather and the substrate as well as a place to draw a map of the day's route.  It is recommended that you take a few minutes to journal each time you go in the field, regardless of whether or not you actually follow a trail.

For students working in groups, especially young people, the goals of the journals can alternatively be accomplished by telling the story to a listener who knows the journal requirements and asks probing questions as needed.  It’s always a good idea to draw the day's map.

So, the Basic Practice is:

  1. Going into the field in search of a trail
    1. Following it, if you find one you like
  2. Journaling that experience

In Trailing Wildlife, you will find a variety of exercises, which are offered as guidance while you continue the Basic Practice.  Many can be done while you are in the field; so, those exercises do not require much additional time.  While none of the exercises replaces the Basic Practice, some of the early ones especially are meant to set good habits in relation to your form as you follow a trail.  In those cases, it pays to give more attention to how you practice than to how much distance you cover while doing it.  Generally speaking, though, please do not skip the Basic Practice in order to do an exercise.

© Nate Harvey, 2015