This is an issue that relates to alot of survival type situations, camping, backpacking, hiking, hunting, fishing at lakes with no established trails, etc.. I think this is an important thread to have here, as alot of us at NWFA are outdoor enthusiasts. So Id like to have this thread for tips and discussion of ways to navigate without the aide of a compass or GPS. Gps are so dangerous, due to people getting to comfortable with depending on them in the woods. As many of us have heard before, they are a mechanical device with batteries and can fail. So IMO people should have the skills necessary to confidently know which direction they need to travel if those devices fail. I guess I'll start a list of ways to find direction, and give a breif description of them as theyre listed. Feel free to correct me if Im wrong about something and also add to the methods and list. We should probably also talk about methods that dont work as well. #1. Using a wrist watch to find South(In the Northern Hemisphere). Holding the watch level, point the hour hand towrds the sun, and draw an imaginary line between the hour hand and 12:00(1:00 if daylight savings time). The imaginary line is pointing towards your gross southern heading, and knowing south will give you basis to find North, East and West. (In the Southern Hemisphere, you point the 12:00 symbol at the sun and draw the imaginary line between that and the hour hand to give you North.) This works best during the middle hours of the day #2. Stick and its shadow This works best during the middle hours of the day as well, in the morning and the evening it wont be anywhere near as accurate. The very best time is a couple hours before noon. Find a relatively straight stick of any length that will cast a nice long shadow on the ground when stabbed into the dirt. Also find three or four small marker sticks or rocks. Push the stick into the ground, and where ever you see the top of the sticks shadow cast on the ground, mark that point by placiing a rock there or stabbing another stick into the dirt there. Every five or ten minutes, use a stick or rock to mark the shadow tips new position. You will soon have a line of markings, giving you an East- West line. The sun rises in the East and sets in the West, so the first mark you placed is eastward, and the last is westward. drawing a perpendicular line to that will give you North-South. #3. Dead Reckoning This is good to use if your traveling through dense trees and underbrush, where its harder to keep visual track of your direction. Its also more to keep on a straight line, than actaully finding direction. Wherever your standing, pick an object that is easily identifable from a distance, like a unique dead standing tree, or a large rock outcropping. This object should obviously be easily within your sight through the brush, which may only be 20 feet away. Then, pick an object at your present location that is clearly visable from the first object you chose. Walk from the object next to you, to the object you picked ahead of you. Once you get to it then pick another point in a straight line ahead of you in the direction you want to travel. Standing in the middle of those three points that are visible to you, you can see whether or not your line of direction is straight. Walk to the next point, pick another ahead, and look at the one behind. This will keep you from wandering off course. #4. Navigating by the moon If the moon is rising before the sun sets, the lighted side will be West. If the moon rises after midnight, the lighted side will be the East. This gives a good East-West reference during the night when the moon is visible and not full. #5. Stars One way to navigate by the stars is using the North Star. To find it, find the big dipper, and cassiopeia. Cassiopeia looks like a W on its side with the middle point of the W pointing towards the big dipper, and is East(or to the right) of the big dipper. If you draw an imaginary line straight out from the middle W point, about halfway to the big dipper, then draw a line using the two stars that form the outer lip of the dipper straight out about halfway to cassiopeia, they should intersect at the North Star. Draw an imaginary line straight down to the earth from the North Star, and you'll have true north. There are many other methods including magnitizing a needle or piece of wire and placing on a leaf in still water, hanging a magnitized razor blade from a string, ect but Im not as familiar with these as somebody else may be on here. If you know more methods please post them. The only method Ive heard of that isnt really true, is moss only growing on the north side of trees. Ive seen this to be true rarely, but usually the moss grows all the way around trees and is not reliable method.