https://www.flickr.com/photos/mbiddulph/
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mbiddulph/
The shadow stick method
Credit: Clayton Hamner

The shadow stick method

Though rescue experts suggest you should stay put and wait to be found when lost, there are times when medical necessity or a faint hope of being found means you’ll want to get moving. With any luck you will have a hunch as to whether salvation lies north, south, east or west. During a sunny day, ideally around noon, you can determine direction using the shadow stick method.


Prop up a straight stick (at least three feet long) so it stands vertically and casts a shadow on a flat, smooth area.
Mark shadow of the stick
Credit: Clayton Hamner

Mark shadow of the stick

Mark the end point of its shadow with a small stone.
Wait for the sun
Credit: Clayton Hamner

Wait for the sun

Wait half an hour while the shadow travels due to the movement of the sun.
Mark the shadow
Credit: Clayton Hamner

Mark the shadow

Mark the new endpoint of the shadow with a second stone.
Mark the direction
Credit: Clayton Hamner

Mark the direction

Draw a line between the two stones. This line will point from west to east, with the second stone you placed being the eastern terminus.