Getting disoriented and turned around is easy without visual reference. There are lots of visual we should see but often overlook; itís part of situational awareness (SA).

You bring up a good point though about compasses being off (sometimes by a lot). I carry more than one and check them with known references. That SA thing again. My GPS also has an electronic compass and the GPS receiver tracks your direction of travel; either can be used to check a compass. Make sure you set-up the GPS for magnetic rather than true or you will have a built-in error. I always (almost?) use magnetic north as a reference just to remove that possibility of confusion.