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The Direction Connection


Direct Connection

Navigating your way in the wild. Finding your way in the woods can be as simple as ensuring you're on the correct route or as serious as a key to survival. Here are a few methods to find your way:

Sun

That giant fireball in the sky isn't just a sunburn machine it's actually a useful directional tool. Placing a stick in some level ground, make a mark at the end of its shadow. This will be your west mark. After 15 minutes or so, make another mark as the shadow moves. This will be your east mark. Drawing a straight line between the two points give you west to east. Standing wtih the west mark to your left and east to your right faces you approximately north.

Stars

Bigfoots and bears may be out at night, so it's best to know where you're headed.

No sun, you say? No big deal. In the northernn hemisphere, the North Star is only 1 degree off true north, and is the last star in the handle of the little dipper constellation. An imaginary line drawn to the ground is your guide.

Vegetation

If you're lost, you may also be hungry, but before you start eating the local flora, see if it can give you some directional clues first.

In the northern hemisphere, growth should be more lush on a southern-facing side of a tree. Vegetationn and moisture on slopes facing north will be cool and damper since they receive less sun. In the winter, southern slopes will end up losing snow off trees first

GPS

Global positioning systems, or GPS, can be invaluable for those who plan ahead and bring them along for the trip. Modern GPS units are packed with features that allow you to track your route, determine distance and show direction, altitude and even a digital compass. A paper map and traditional compass are useful to have in conjunction with a GPS and allow you maximum visibility into wherre you are and where you're headed.