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it will work even if you have a digital watch. As long as you know the time, all you have to do is draw a watch face on a piece of paper, then proceed as above.

Another navigation method is to

follow the path of a river. This method is useful (with some caveats, below) because human settlements are typi- cally on or very near rivers. Following a river is more likely to bring you to civilization than, say, wandering aim- lessly in the wilderness. It’s true that most rivers flow north to south. But that’s a bit like saying “most” snakes are not poisonous. Unless you’re famil- iar with specific snakes (or rivers), a mistake can be costly. It’s also true that, except on completely flat terrain, rivers flow downhill: from higher elevation to mouth. Of course, rivers may meander in any direction, often for miles. Unless you know, for certain,

where the source of a river is, it’s best to rely on one not for true compass points but rather as a method to get you to a populated area. Following a road is probably a better idea, if you can locate one. There are numerous methods of

navigation using the stars, but these require not only an unobstructed view of the night sky but also hiking at night, which is not recommended if you’re truly lost — there are too many ways to get injured. Still, another tip: If the moon rises before the sun sets, the illuminated side will face west. If it rises after midnight, the illuminated side will face east. However, if night has fallen, stay

put, make camp and wait for rescue. ¿

JOSH PIVEN is the co-author of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook series. Visit


Use this checklist to make sure you’re prepared before you head out on a weekend hike.

Know the area. Research where you plan to go, and talk with someone who’s hiked or camped in the same location.

Don’t hike alone. Take a buddy. Better yet, travel in groups of four to 10. That way, if someone gets injured, you can leave a buddy with the injured party while a group of two travels to get help.

Leave an itinerary. Whether you’re hiking with or without Scouts, make sure others know where you’re going and when you will return.

Prepare for emergency situations. This includes weather, injury, dehydration, losing your way and more.

 STOP. Make sure the group members know what to do if they become lost or separated from the group.


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