Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Orienteering is a big deal. It’s something that we don’t get to practice very much. This is because we have created easier methods for telling direction.
Streets get us to where we need to go and they have done away with the need to orienteer.
Navigation is a practice that most of us need more work on. If you disagree, head into the woods with only a map and compass. Find your way to a landmark and then find your way back. You will quickly find it’s not as easy as you thought!
Let’s talk about a simple technique for finding your way in a situation like this. What if you don’t have a compass? Can you find North?
Would you believe me if I told you can do this with some sticks and stones on a sunny day?
- Start by finding a clear area where the sun is shining. Drive a stick into the ground so that it casts a shadow on the ground around it.
- Place a rock at the tip of that shadow
- Wait 20 minutes and watch the shadow change. The tip will change location.
- After that time place a rock on the new location of the shadow’s tip.
- Now draw a line between the two rocks.
- The shadow moves opposite the sun. This is your East/West line.
- Your first dot is the westerly direction
- Remember, the directions are set up in a clockwise orientation. So if you know West and East you are going to be able to find North and South.
This is not 100% accurate and can be off by some degree. However, if you are dead lost and you have no compass, this method can at least point you in the direction of a town or highway or even a stream!
These could all lead you to rescue.