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kxmode
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04 Feb 2011, 7:29 pm

Moss always grows on the north side of trees.
The sun generally rises in the east, and more or less sets in the west.
To establish south look for spider webs. They tend to appear on the south sides of trees.

Any other tips?


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04 Feb 2011, 7:32 pm

That's cool information! I already knew about the moss thing, but not about the spiderwebs. Now I'll never get lost! :D



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04 Feb 2011, 7:34 pm

And there are always the stars.

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04 Feb 2011, 8:21 pm

Moss and spiderwebs? Thats a myth (sorry).

By day use the sun as reference to direction, by night use the constellations (Orion being the easiest).

You can also (by day) put a stick in the ground vertically, and note where the end of its shadow is. Wait a little while, and mark where the end is now. The line going between those two points should run approximately east–west; you can then tell by the direction of the sun’s movement which way is north.



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04 Feb 2011, 9:30 pm

There's a method that involves using an analog watch and the sun. You point the hour hand at the sun (maybe use a stick's shadow to determine "at the sun"), and then you bisect the angle between 12 o'clock and the hour hand. That gives a north-south line, which you can determine north from by using the fact that the sun is in the southern part of the sky in the northern hemisphere.

And nowadays I guess there's always GPS.



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05 Feb 2011, 3:39 am

Dantac wrote:
Moss and spiderwebs? Thats a myth (sorry).


You beat me to it.

There is a chapter in Primo Levi's autobiographical "The Truce" where he tells of getting lost in a dense forest and remarks that to his dismay he looked to the moss to give him a direction and discovered that moss can encircle trees. Guess he, like many before and after him, learnt the voracity of this old tale the hard way.


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kxmode
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06 Feb 2011, 1:32 am

Why is everyone so eager to prove me wrong? It sounds like you have a need to prove others wrong.

I'm not pulling this off some tip site. It is based on my experience. While camping in Yosemite and McArthur-Burney Falls I noticed all moss grew on only one side of the trees. According to my compass the moss only grew on the north side of the trees. Nature does not lie. I know what I saw in both parks. If you find a tree that is encircled with moss that sounds less like the norm and more like an overgrowth to the point of becoming a parasite.


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06 Feb 2011, 6:20 am

Pretty easy to prove or disprove. I'll take my wee key chain compass out with me today, see if it's right.


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nodice1996
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06 Feb 2011, 9:13 am

kxmode wrote:
Why is everyone so eager to prove me wrong? It sounds like you have a need to prove others wrong.

I'm not pulling this off some tip site. It is based on my experience. While camping in Yosemite and McArthur-Burney Falls I noticed all moss grew on only one side of the trees. According to my compass the moss only grew on the north side of the trees. Nature does not lie. I know what I saw in both parks. If you find a tree that is encircled with moss that sounds less like the norm and more like an overgrowth to the point of becoming a parasite.


Maybe that's how moss grows there, but in most places I've been moss grows in a thick ring around almost every tree, and spiderwebs are rare. More reliable methods of determining direction are the sun and stars. I would probably look for Polaris (The North Star) if I where in the northern hemisphere. I'm not sure about the southern hemisphere, but it's doubtful that you'll go there.


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06 Feb 2011, 11:09 am

Apple_in_my_Eye wrote:
There's a method that involves using an analog watch and the sun. You point the hour hand at the sun (maybe use a stick's shadow to determine "at the sun"), and then you bisect the angle between 12 o'clock and the hour hand. That gives a north-south line, which you can determine north from by using the fact that the sun is in the southern part of the sky in the northern hemisphere.

And nowadays I guess there's always GPS.


Watches do not always keep good time and they can be set incorrectly. The GPS system is extremely reliable and GPS transponders consist of solid, error free technology.

If one is not an accuracy freak then the Sun and the stars are fine. The Earth is not a good time keeper. It looses over a second a year.

ruveyn



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06 Feb 2011, 11:46 am

Stars and sun.

Also take into account the planetary tilt.


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06 Feb 2011, 11:55 am

ruveyn wrote:
The GPS system is extremely reliable and GPS transponders consist of solid, error free technology.

You might be correct there, but a navigation system in a van that picked me up a few days ago certainly did *not* know how to well-direct the driver!


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06 Feb 2011, 2:12 pm

kxmode wrote:
Why is everyone so eager to prove me wrong? It sounds like you have a need to prove others wrong.

I'm not pulling this off some tip site. It is based on my experience. While camping in Yosemite and McArthur-Burney Falls I noticed all moss grew on only one side of the trees. According to my compass the moss only grew on the north side of the trees. Nature does not lie. I know what I saw in both parks. If you find a tree that is encircled with moss that sounds less like the norm and more like an overgrowth to the point of becoming a parasite.


Consider that regardless of where you are, the moss will grow thickest in the direction where it can get more sunlight. That means your geographical location can affect that (distance from equator), the topography can affect that (mountains or hills can block sunlight and make another direction be the strongest source of sunlight)... the vegetation around you can affect that (same as hills, a thick foilage to the north can block the sun and make the moss grow thickest in another direction)... you get the idea.

If you're in a bad situation it really isn't a great idea to entrust your chances of survival to a piece of moss. If you are surrounded by foilage so thick it blocks the stars and the sun you can still climb a tree to get your bearings.



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07 Feb 2011, 12:10 am

kxmode wrote:
Why is everyone so eager to prove me wrong? It sounds like you have a need to prove others wrong.


Its nothing personal, just aspies being aspies.

Quote:
I'm not pulling this off some tip site. It is based on my experience. While camping in Yosemite and McArthur-Burney Falls I noticed all moss grew on only one side of the trees. According to my compass the moss only grew on the north side of the trees. Nature does not lie. I know what I saw in both parks. If you find a tree that is encircled with moss that sounds less like the norm and more like an overgrowth to the point of becoming a parasite.


There are a number of significant situations where the aphorism does not hold true.

On a south slope of a steep hill. The moss will not get enough light. On the north side of a steep slope you can have too much light, or if you are far enough north. Where I live the sun rises in the northeast and sets in the northwest. At the edge of a forest this trick wont apply either, for the reasons above.

If its a wet area you wont see a noticeable difference. If its too dry you might not see enough to judge. For example, where I live we have a relatively low rainfall but a lot of swampy ground.

Near rivers, near lakes, mossy side will probably face the water. On top of hills it might be too dry. In sandy soil you wont find moss on the bases of trees. Near salt water I am pretty sure you wont see moss, but rather grasses.

Nature does not lie: you just haven't seen enough of it just yet.


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kxmode
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07 Feb 2011, 1:59 am

Thank you for making me go to bed frustrated and sad. Congratulations, you won. I hope you're happy.. .. .


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07 Feb 2011, 5:24 am

leejosepho wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
The GPS system is extremely reliable and GPS transponders consist of solid, error free technology.

You might be correct there, but a navigation system in a van that picked me up a few days ago certainly did *not* know how to well-direct the driver!


That could be a flaw in the transponder. The system itself (the satilites and the time adjusting algorithm) are accurate to one part in several billion. The GPS has become so essential to commerce and military operations that it is one of the best maintained systems in the world.

ruveyn