How to navigate using your senses

Survival Skills

Learn how to navigate using only your senses. Understanding this survival skill may help you someday if disaster strikes and you are lost in the wild. A basic knowledge of navigation is something every adventurer should have. Not only is it essential for your own safety, it can enhance your outdoors experience. Follow these simple steps to find your internal compass and learn how to navigate with your senses.

Mother Nature's Compass

Pay attention to your surroundings! Mother nature is constantly changing her course. Knowing what's going on around you is the first step. When you are at a high point, take a look around and examine what's going on with a critical eye. Storm approaching? Dense vegetation? Is there a bear near the trail or just a memorable rock? Take mental snapshots of easily recognizable landmarks.

Use your eyes! Up! Down! And all around! Constantly monitoring what is around you is the easiest way to capture minute details that could be brewing into big consequences.

Use your ears! An echo can be used to approximate distance. A one second return is roughly 500 ft. away. Masters of this technique would tell you that cold moist air carries sound better than hot dry air.

Feelings do matter! The south sides of rocks are warmer than the north. Gusting wind may mean a storm is on the front! Look at the terrain under your boots. Wet canyons may translate to flashflood potential!

Learn the prevailing winds - the direction most wind generally blows in the area. This can help you get oriented if you lose your sense of direction. You may not need to call the weather station either - you can generally tell the direction of prevailing winds by looking at how vegetation in the area is shaped.