This section is from the book "Bepler's Handy Manual of Knowledge And Useful Infomation", by David Bepler. Also available from Amazon: Bepler's Handy Manual of Knowledge and Useful Information.
Allen Thompson, the old White Mountain guide, says: "When I am in the woods I never use a compass, in fact, I don't need any. There are three sure ways that I have for finding out the points of the compass. You will notice that three-fourths of the moss on trees grows on the north side; the heaviest boughs on spruce trees are always on the south side; and thirdly, the topmost twig on every uninjured hemlock tree tips to the east. You just remember this and you'll never get lost."
At any hour during the day-time, even in a dense fog or blinding snowstorm, the right direction may be readily ascertained by a very simple means of finding the position of the sun. All that is required is to place the point of a knife blade or a sharp lead-pencil on the thumb-nail, when a shadow will be cast directly from the sun, however dense may be the fog or snow.