Nice start. You have promise.
1) "Humans are predictable creatures, much more so for us their fellows than any other animal, and you, the route finder, should look for the patterns which come out of our routinized interaction with the landscape and use them to your advantage."
I actually find the opposite true. Modern "Man-trails" tend to be the least predictable and many times we have come across an ATV trail in AK and taken it, only to jump off later: our rule is when the trail's angle with your direction is > 90, jump off.
2) As for the requirement that ace map and compass geeks make good route finders -- no. Navigation skills (map and compass) are not a sufficient nor necessary condition for route-finding artistry. So many Native/Aboriginal/First Nations people when shown a map have no idea of where tehy are or how to read it, but can find the best routes out there.
3) Suggestion: go mapless and learn how to really read the landscape without the crutch of other people's eyes.
4) Intuition and feel, in my experience, are more valuable than logic, when wandering wild landscapes, and when travelling in groups of "strangers" proof through travel is better than argument.
5) The best way to learn off trail travel in AK is with a bicycle. You will be severely punished for your errors and rewarded for your finds.
6) Learn to love to lead and fight for it by finding the best route and calling out "trail" when you do. You will learn more by travelling with someone of nearly your skill level, or maybe a little better, than by yourself or with people who know less than you do. Swinging leads with an equal partner is fastest and fun and best learning.
7) To learn what different animals really prefer, take time to travel parallel trails across country traveled by two or more (caribou vs sheep or bears vs moose).
8) Moving fast for some reason is more effective than puzzling slowly in brush on thin trails.
9) Learn that ridges, streams, walls, edges, have trails if animals are there.
10) Avoid west Patagonia, west NZ, and Tasmania: no animals and wicked bad brush
11) Animal trails are easy to find but the real skill comes in holding them.
12) There are really three levels: macro, meso, and micro scale rouetfinding. macro is where you're going today and a map is helpful as usually you'll be unable to see where you started at the end of the day. meso is where you're going in the next hour, maybe less, maybe more, what you can see ahead when you are looking up; micro scale is where you put your feet when your head is down. When you are fully skilled, you will find that you are always meso-scale routefinding and that looking ahead with your head up keeps you from having to look down.