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Tips for Finding North If You’re Lost in a Forest

If you ever go hiking and become lost in the woods it is typically recommended that you find a relatively open area, stay put, and wait to be rescued. Rescue workers will have a much harder time tracking you down if you move around. If, however, you are positive that you know which direction the trail, a road, or an inhabited area lies, then getting your bearings and locating north can help you find your way.

Knowing certain signs to look for on and around a tree can give you a very good idea of the direction of each cardinal point. Look closely for details such as:


Moss, as you are likely to have heard before, grows more abundantly on the north side of a tree because it is the side that receives the least sunlight. Keep in mind that some moss will likely grow sparsely on the northeast and northwest sides of the tree as well.

Spider webs

Conversely, spiders tend to make their webs on the south-facing and sunniest sides of a tree. If you find a tree with moss clearly favoring one side and a spider favoring another, then you’ll likely have a good idea of where the north-south axis lies.

Tree rings

Cut tree stumps, if you happen to be near any, can also help show you the way if you are lost in the woods. Tree rings tend to show more growth on the north side of a tree, meaning that there are more spaces between each ring than on the south side.

Find Out More from a Western Canada Arborist

If you’re going hiking or camping in the woods around Western Canadian cities such as Edmonton, Calgary, or Kelowna, then you better brush up on wilderness safety, including how to get your bearings in the woods. For further clarifications on how trees can help point you northwards, contact the friendly and professional arborists at ArborCare Tree Service Ltd.

At ArborCare Tree Service Ltd. we know our trees. With over 30 years of experience offering tree care services such as tree removal, tree trimming, tree pruning, and tree fertilizing, we can help you learn how to deal with trees out in the woods and how to take care of the ones in your yard.

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