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Thread: Wilderness Navigational Tricks

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    Default Wilderness Navigational Tricks

    Post em here....I'll start with this one

    South from Zenith Noon

    You'll need to build a sunrise/sunset table first, and from this it's easy to plot a series of zenith noons over a period of time. Zenith noon provides the traveller with a solid due south. (you'll need to work in 24 hour time (much better then am's and pm's) to make this work...)

    Here's how it's done. Let's say sunrise is at 0723, and sunset occurs at 1703. First add - 0723+1703 = 2436 then average - 2436/2 = 1218

    Zenith noon occurs at 12:18

    Besides knowing south, it makes it possible to determine declination in the field when working map and compass...


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    Senior Member WolfVanZandt's Avatar
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    You're saying the sun is due south at zenith noon?

    You can set a peg up on a sunny day and see where the tip of the shadow rests at two times. The line between those two points is the east-west line. From that, you can determine north and south.
    True enough, my final home is still out there, but this is most certainly my home range and I love it. I love every rock I fall off and tree I trip over. Even when I am close to dying from exhaustion, a beautiful sunset doesn't lose it's power to refresh and inspire me and that, in itself, is enough to save me sometimes.

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    Senior Member ClayPick's Avatar
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    Checking in with the weatherman for the wind direction can be helpful. Mine is NW for the day. It’s a bit of info that can help a person from getting turned around in heavy cloud cover. Best thing is to follow the dog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WolfVanZandt View Post
    You're saying the sun is due south at zenith noon?
    At our latitudes here in the States, zentih noon will see the sun bearing a true azimuth of 180 degrees, due south. If your compass has an inclination needle and scale, it can be used as a crude sexant to determine an approximate latitude. Besides the compass, and a watch, all that is needed to make this happen is an artificial horizon. This can be made by souping up a small patch of ground a bit to reflect the sun's image...

    If you're working a north/south trail, then where that line of latitude crosses is a fix. From there, it's a only a matter of a little extra map and compass work to pin down one's position

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    Another method of locating South is by using the Gemini - Procyon line...

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    First, you'll need to wait till Procyon is about halfway up the night sky. Starting just a little below Castor extend a line a little to the left of Wasat, down through Procyon all the way to the horizon. Where this line meets the horizon should be fairly close to a bearing of 180 degrees......
    Last edited by le Metis; 12-17-2012 at 01:42 PM.

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    Come summer, Orion and the other key winter constellations will be long gone. However, we can use the summer constellation of Scorpio to find a pretty good South as we did with the Gemini- Procyon line....


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    First, this is a huge constellation that fills the sky. It can't be missed. Now, note the three stars in the "head", and the three stars in the "tail"

    When either the head, or the tail is straight up and down, you've got a South bearing - head south when the tail stands up, and tail south when the head stands up...

    In the above image, you'll note that the three stars in the tail are fairly vertical. As such, we are looking due South....
    Last edited by le Metis; 12-17-2012 at 01:46 PM.

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    Senior Member Winnie's Avatar
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    Tristan Gooley has put together some interesting ideas.
    http://www.naturalnavigator.com/

    BBC made a 3 part TV series using the above natural navigation techniques.
    http://www.naturalnavigator.com/all-...lead-home-bbc/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winnie View Post
    Tristan Gooley has put together some interesting ideas.
    http://www.naturalnavigator.com/

    BBC made a 3 part TV series using the above natural navigation techniques.
    http://www.naturalnavigator.com/all-...lead-home-bbc/

    Thanks...bookmarking these links


    Never considered frost shadows .... seen em before, but never considered them as a navigational tool until now. So, a big thanks again.....

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    Senior Member Daniel Nighteyes's Avatar
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    Let's simplify this just a bit. [And I'm simplifying my instructions because I assume you all can fill in the details.]

    Assuming that you've got the time (and once basic needs are met there's a LOT of it), drive a stake in the ground and draw a circle around it. Then, at sunrise, mark the shadow's position on the drawn circle. Do the same thing at sunset.

    On the drawn circle, place a mark halfway between the sunrise and sunset marks. A line from the base of the stick to that mark will point (more-or-less) true North.

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    Senior Member Daniel Nighteyes's Avatar
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    There's also a much quicker way to determine North, by using an analog watch (the kind with hands). I don't remember it so will have to look it up but, as the Governator once said, "I'll be BACK!"

    PS: Didn't take nearly as long as I thought. Here 'tis:

    http://lifehacker.com/289805/use-you...h-as-a-compass
    Last edited by Daniel Nighteyes; 12-17-2012 at 02:40 PM.

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    If I am going to look at stars, the north one doesn't move, and is easier for me to find, then the Gemini- Procyon line. For the day time, using the method that Wolf specified takes an hour tops to determine direction. Zenith noon takes all day, unless you already know what time dawn and dusk are.

    For me, I just look at my compass. Also, since I am in the mountains, it is really easy to determine north and south faces.
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    Senior Member Daniel Nighteyes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by finallyME View Post
    If I am going to look at stars, the north one doesn't move, and is easier for me to find, then the Gemini- Procyon line. For the day time, using the method that Wolf specified takes an hour tops to determine direction. Zenith noon takes all day, unless you already know what time dawn and dusk are.

    For me, I just look at my compass. Also, since I am in the mountains, it is really easy to determine north and south faces.
    Speaking of that, another and extremely simple technique -- one that does not require finding North (or South, or East, or...) -- is to establish one or more baselines. If one can establish one or more easily-visible or -findable North/South baselines -- East/West baselines, or any long baselines of any kind/direction -- through one's area of operations, navigation becomes a simple matter of determining where one IS in relation to said baselines, and where one WISHES TO GO in relation to said baselines.

    One other absolute truism -- if you've got nowhere in particular you need/want to go, it is impossible to get lost. [Think about it...]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Nighteyes View Post
    There's also a much quicker way to determine North, by using an analog watch (the kind with hands). I don't remember it so will have to look it up but, as the Governator once said, "I'll be BACK!"

    PS: Didn't take nearly as long as I thought. Here 'tis:

    http://lifehacker.com/289805/use-you...h-as-a-compass
    One of the fastest way to determine a north bearing is simply by putting one hand on the Big Dipper, and the other on Cassiopeia

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    Quote Originally Posted by le Metis View Post
    One of the fastest way to determine a north bearing is simply by putting one hand on the Big Dipper, and the other on Cassiopeia
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    Senior Member wareagle69's Avatar
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    this is a truly lost art which also fascinates me....I will be posting on this thread tricks and tips that work for me in my area of the country....they will probably work in other areas but as that I live here,,i cant prove or disprove my knowledge.
    getting to what is the easiest for me at night-a clear night is two things.....the moon and stars
    cassiopia and big dipper never set below the horizon...where I am at in early twilight cassie will be in the west and big d will be in the east.. right now at five in the morning that is opposite and they rotate counter clockwise.
    ive always heard north star the brightest in the sky...I have not found that to be true....I use the two aforementioned stars to locate...once I figure out some computer things I post a few helpful pics on that
    always be prepared-prepare all ways
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