Book Review: The Natural Navigator: A Watchful Explorer’s Guide to a Nearly Forgotten Skill by Tristan Gooley | Science News

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Book Review: The Natural Navigator: A Watchful Explorer’s Guide to a Nearly Forgotten Skill by Tristan Gooley

Review by Sid Perkins

By
10:47am, March 25, 2011

Before navigation was a science, it was an art — a craft that relied on observing nature’s subtle clues and then deducing one’s location or the best route to reach a destination. Besides obvious directional clues such as the rising sun or Polaris, the North Star, there are innumerable more subtle signposts. In the Northern Hemisphere, for example, branches of many types of trees, seeking to maximize their exposure to light, grow more horizontally on the sunny southern side than on the shade-soaked northern side.

Gooley, a longtime adventurer who teaches what he calls “natural navigation,” has compiled an intriguing trove of tips and tricks from cultures such as the Inuit and Aborigines. As he explains each technique, Gooley reveals the scientific rationale for why it works. For instance, the complex interactions between sun and shade, surface texture,

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