I try to spend several hours outdoors each day and enjoy taking in the landscape while viewing the mountains and learning what the environment has to offer.
One of the first things I did was getting situational awareness to the surrounding area and learning the boundaries. You can easily see for five plus miles in each direction. I’ve learned to associate the terrain features with corresponding roadways. Monument Sand Dunes to the East. A small private airport to the West. Creston to the north and the open area heading to New Mexico to the south.
Using Google maps I learned the valley is a big tic tac to box of road ways. County road 112 east and west, State Highway 17 and County Road 265 run north and south with one on each side of the valley. The satellite map view may also show creek beds and depressions not visible from ground level.
Try to get a street map and geological map of your area. Look at key features and assign them a name or number then share that information with your fellow team members/preppers. It will keep everyone on the same sheet of music.
Get out and walk your area to learn what the ground is like. Is it dusty, muddy or hard packed? How do your footprints pattern on the ground? Look for footprints that are several days old to see how they appear.
Look for trails and scat left by the local wildlife to actually see the trails used by the animals to get to feeding grounds and watering holes. I have a better understanding when the refer to “Alice falling down the rabbit hole” after walking around here and sinking every now and then because I was walking over an old rabbit den or coyote den.
The scat or animal waste will give you an indication of what’s out there and how healthy they are. Also check out the human trash, was it left behind by previous adventures or did it blow there in a wind storm. I tend to see a lot of alcohol containers which would lead me to believe that any people I come in contact with during my travels may be intoxicated.
Also plan some night trips because things tend to look different after dark especially with a low or no moon night. I learned a lot from reading a book by Tom Brown Jr on tracking. Then by applying it during military field training exercises. You can learn more about his tracking school @ trackerschool.com. Some other notable people to research for outdoor survival skills are Cody Lundin and Matt Graham. They appear in various TV programs; Dual survival, Bushcraft build off and Dude your Screwed. You may actually learn a thing or two from them.
Lastly review your states firearm statues so you won’t be in violation during your travels and you’ll get a better understanding that other trekkers you come in contact might be armed.
BLM and the Forest service have a different responsibility and view on things. You might feel that they work for you because your taxes pay for their programs, but that’s not going to immediately help when you run afoul of them and your having to wait for your day in court. In some states, people can open carry sidearms and most people do.
Be safe and healthy my friends.