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From the New York Times-bestselling author of How to Read a Tree and The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs, rediscover nature by noticing the hidden clues all around you
“A truly vital book for any outdoor adventurer.”—Cabin Life
Before GPS, before the compass, and even before cartography, humankind was navigating. A windswept tree, the depth of a puddle, or a trill of birdsong could point the way home, and they still do—if you know how to look.
With The Natural Navigator, his first book, Tristan Gooley invited us to notice the directional clues hidden all around: in the sun, moon, stars, clouds, weather patterns, lengthening shadows, changing tides, growing plants, and habits of wildlife. A decade after publication, this modern classic still reminds us that we can find south by joining the horns of the crescent moon—and find adventure in our own backyards.
About the Author
TRISTAN GOOLEY is the New York Times–bestselling author of How to Read a Tree, How to Read Water, How to Read Nature, The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs, The Secret World of Weather, and The Nature Instinct. He has led expeditions on five continents, climbed mountains in three, and is the only living person to have both flown and sailed solo across the Atlantic. His more than two decades of pioneering outdoor experience include research among tribal peoples in some of the remotest regions on Earth.
Eagle Scouts don’t hold a candle or compass to Gooley, a professional outdoorsman if there ever was one and an engaging proponent of navigation au naturale in this compelling guide. Readers will learn how to evaluate clues in nature—from stars in the night sky to evaporating puddles underfoot—to discover where they are and how to get where they need to go. Gooley’s particular spin is that this subject is not just about survival skills; it’s an art form that can reveal to anyone willing to look hard enough the beauty and utility of nature’s patterns. It is, he writes, ‘about reintroducing a childlike curiosity to the journey.’ But it is also about applying discipline and scientific rigor to how we move through the world. Chockfull of incredibly useful information ranging from the simple (e.g., how to make a sun dial) to the more complex (e.g., how to outline the sun’s arc based on latitude), this book will appeal to veteran trailblazers and cautious nature-lovers alike. Indeed, for those prone to stick to the Discovery Channel rather than venture afoot, Gooley’s personal travel anecdotes alone are enough to make this worth a read. Inexperienced hikers will nevertheless want to keep a compass handy on their next outing, but with Gooley’s tome in tow, the journey will be all the more rewarding. — Publishers Weekly
[A] deeply poetic book . . . Mr. Gooley provides ample instructions, complete with diagrams of wind patterns and tide heights, for living and traveling like a natural navigator. — The Wall Street Journal
Tristan Gooley blends natural science, myth, folklore and the history of travel to introduce you to the rare and ancient art of finding your way using nature’s own sign-posts, from the feel of a rock to a glance at the moon. — Canadian Geographic
A Must-Have Gift for Seasoned Explorers and Cautious Nature-Lovers Alike. — Mountain Life
This in-depth book gives us the tools to reengage with our natural world in a clear and understandable way. I love it! — Bear Grylls, author of The Kid Who Climbed Everest and Man vs. Wild
The perfect book for getting you started on your own adventure. — Sir Ranulph Fiennes, adventurer and author of Race to the Pole
The Natural Navigator is a wonderfully stimulating book. Tristan Gooley sidesteps technology to celebrate our own powers of observation, and suggests that the art of natural navigation is something we should never have forgotten.
— Michael Palin
Before GPSes, people navigated by the stars, the wind and shadows on the ground. Tristan Gooley, an English adventurer, shows how it’s done in The Natural Navigator . . . This fascinating book is filled with surprising facts.
— Washington Post
His know-how won’t only lead you home, but help you find yourself. — Red Bulletin
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 . . . Even for readers who never intend to rely on these tips to find their way through the wilderness, The Natural Navigator is a great primer on how the forces of nature affect the landscapes and seascapes that everyone travels through.
— Science News
Provides a delightful refresher course . . . His enthusiasm for the basic facts of earth science and astronomy are part of the charm of The Natural Navigator.
— The Providence Journal
Packed with helpful illustrations, Gooley opens your eyes to the clues that the natural world happily shares with all of us, if we just take the time to look. . . . A truly vital book for any outdoor adventurer. — Cabin Life
As Gooley reminds us, navigation is, first of all, about understanding where you are. His marvelous book is a good starting point. — Mick Herron, Geographical Magazine
This wonderful book takes the skill set back several generations further, to the vanishing (but often surprisingly simple) arts of navigating by sun, moon, stars and natural phenomena. If this sounds arcane and unlikely, it’s not: armchair readers will revel in the beautifully written material on myth, science, folklore and history, and the fascinating details and tips . . . This is the sort of charming and inspiring book you want to recommend and buy for others. A must for any lover of the outdoors. — Tim Jepson, The Telegraph
The best nature writing changes the way you experience the world. Tristan Gooley’s The Natural Navigator will teach you how to find your way using not just the moon, sun and stars but spider’s webs, tennis courts and even ruts on a track. He throws in entertaining anecdotes from the history of navigation and from his own impressive Atlantic journeys, but really he’s giving you an addictive hobby, and a newly refined sense of time and place.