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So let's say you're lost in the woods.
First of all, what the hell, how are you lost in the woods, how do not have an emergency plan, a map,
a cell phone, something, but OK,
let's say you're lost in the woods, let's say forces unknown have dropped you off here
and left you to fend for yourself. OK. You know that
given you have no references from the outside world – let's say it's cloudy,
as it is – so you don't know where the Sun is. You know that humans will generally wander
in a very large circle around and around and around
until they collapse from exhaustion. But you know that if you keep going in one direction,
if you manage to keep going straight, then you might well survive.
But how do you know you're keeping in one direction without a compass or a map?
Well, you should know, this is something that most people know, that moss
grows on the north side of trees like this
Because moss prefers damp conditions, dark conditions, and in the Northern Hemisphere
the north side is going to be damper and darker because the sun will normally shine on the south.
It's opposite of course in the Southern Hemisphere, sun's mostly in the north there,
so moss will grow on the south. But I'm currently in the Northern Hemisphere – I know that much at least –
so this must be the north side of the tree.... No.
No, actually, that's not true at all because north
is that way. North side of the tree:
no moss. Because it's actually much more complicated than that, which is something you
might not know.
You should not use moss for emergency navigation,
because the micro climates in the area – particularly here, I'm in Ravenna Park in
Seattle, this is just a ravine with very little in the way of sun
from any direction – the micro-climate here means that the west side of the tree
is actually going to be the darkest and dankest and mossiest.
So if you're in a flat plane in perfect conditions, well perhaps
it might help you, but for emergency navigation your best idea...
Well, look, let's put it this way: I'm not Bear Grylls
the best way of surviving is not to get lost in the woods in the first place.
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