I often hear survival experts say that remaining stationary in an emergency is the best way to go. I understand the logic. It is easier for rescue personnel to find you if you stay in one spot, but what if you know that nobody is looking for you? Maybe you live alone and nobody knew you were headed into the wilderness. Perhaps a natural disaster has struck, and you have elderly parents that live in another city and need protection. What if an EMP blast takes out the power grid and your kids are stuck at daycare 20 miles away. How do you find your way?
The pioneers of this country were able to accomplish as much as they did because of their navigational skills. They were travelling in a completely foreign land and were still able to find their way all across this great nation. There are several techniques for land navigation, many of which have been around for thousands of years. There are also some more modern strategies that are worth mentioning. In this article I will cover every option you have to accurately point yourself in the right direction.
Let us start with the most primitive methods of orienteering. The motto ‘follow the water’ has been an effective navigation method for as long as man has wanted to travel. In most cases, small water sources lead to large water sources. Large water sources are where people and animals congregate. If you find a stream or river, there is a good chance that rescue is around the next bend if you follow the water.
Humans have always stared up at the sky and utilized the positioning of the sun to determine direction. You can also use the sun for the stick method of determining a more precise true North. Shove a stick straight in the ground and mark the point of the shadow created. Wait 15 minutes and mark the next point. Connect the dots and you have created an East/West line. Then draw a line perpendicular to that, and you have your North/South line.