[color=Red Size=5]Finding North without a compass
Take a longer stick, and place in the ground, and make sure you have several shorter sticks handy.
In a clear area near to your camp, place the long, preferably strait stick in the ground as vertically as you can. It will take a good portion of the
day to make this work.
As the fist shadow is cast from the long stick, place one of your shorter stick in the ground at the tip of the shadow, you can do this several times
over the day, making sure that you also catch the last shadow cast by the stick.
In the northern hemisphere the shadows would be cast mainly on the northern side of the stick, north being half way between the first stick you put
in the ground at the first shadow, and the last stick you put in the ground at the last shadow, on the side the shadow is cast.
In the southern hemisphere, the process is the same, but the shadow would be cast on the southern side of the long stick, meaning the the mid spot
between the first and last shadow on the side the shadows fall on is south.
This is something many of have seen in action, but often we miss what is happening, if you ever watch a sundial this is exactly what is happening,
noon on the sun dial would be North in the Northern hemisphere, and South in the Southern Hemisphere.
A practical application of this concept is making a garden, I have seen ornamental gardens, and rock gardens, where the long strait stick is an
obelisk of some sort, or a reflection ball, and the shadow arc is represented by the flower or vegetable bed, each hour being represented by a
different flower or vegetable.
Using your watch
In the Northern Hemisphere:
Find an older analog watch, on with hour and minute hands that is set accurately.
Bisect (that is, find the center point of) the angle between the hour hand and the twelve o'clock mark (the number 12 on the watch).
The center of the angle between the hour hand and twelve o'clock mark is the north-south line.
If you don't know which way is north and which south, just remember that no matter where you are, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
In the northern hemisphere the sun is due south at midday. If your watch is set to daylight saving time bisect the angle between the hour hand and the
one o'clock mark instead.
In the Southern Hemisphere:
Use an analog watch as above, and point the watch's twelve o'clock mark (the number 12) toward the sun. If your watch is set to daylight saving time,
point the one o'clock mark toward the sun.
Bisect the angle between the twelve o'clock mark (or one o'clock mark if using daylight saving time) and the hour hand to find the north-south line.
If you're unsure which way is north, remember that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west no matter where you are. In the southern hemisphere,
however, the sun is due north at midday.
Sorry, but this does not work with high technology, so digital watches are out, so you might want to think about purchasing a GPS and many MANY
batteries if you must have high tech toys for direction finding.
Other less accurate methods
There are a couple more methods that float around, but are not dependably accurate. Moss generally grows on the north side of trees, but it is not
something that is 100% dependable or accurate. Another method that is even less accurate, is looking at the movement of the clouds.
People will tell you that the clouds from west to east, which is statistically true, for the northern hemisphere, but not so for other hemisphere,or
tropical regions. But it is not accurate at all for finding north at any one point in time.
You can also look at the way trees are leaning, generally speaking, trees lean towards the sun, so if you are in a forest in the northern hemisphere,
and are in a forest with all the trees leaning in one direction, it is a safe bet those trees are leaning south, the opposite for the southern
hemisphere, the trees would be leaning in a northerly direction.
You can also find North-south using the stars, and the methods vary depending on if you are in the northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere, and
equatorial, (that would be equator) regions, but we will leave that for another segments.
edit on 5/17/2012 by RyanFromCan because: (no reason