Navigation 101: Using the Sun to Find Your Way

 In Blog, Rafting, The Great Outdoors

We live in the technology era. Rarely will you see someone face nature without a GPS, but what if technology fails you? Wouldn’t you want to know how to find your way back without it?

How to Use the Sun to Find Direction

If you were ever stranded in the middle of who-knows-where, without a map or GPS, just look up. Long before electronic navigation systems existed, people used nature’s way to navigate. Following the sun is the oldest, most reliable non-technological method to determine direction. It can be tricky, though. Learning to master this skill takes time. With that being the case, why not start now?

Sun Positioning Tips You Should Know

As our planet spins and travels through space, it tilts towards and away from the sun. This movement affects the position of the sun for every season:

Summer: The sun rises over the northeast horizon and sets behind the northwestern horizon.

Spring and Fall: The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Winter: The sun rises in the southeast and sets in the southwest.

Finding NorthFinding East

This is easy to do during spring and summer. For the other two seasons, first locate the sun in the early morning.

During the summer: Since the sun rises in the northeast during this season, once you find the sun, east will be a little to your right.

During the winter: East will be a little to your left.

Finding West

Because cardinal points are equally distributed into quadrants, east and west are direct opposites. If you’re facing east, finding west should be fairly simple – just turn around. West should be directly behind you.

Finding North & South

OK, let’s say you’re facing east again. To find north, all you need to is turn 90 degrees to your left, and to find south, turn 90 degrees to your right. Simple, no?

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