I’ve been lost three times, once in Vermont, once in Montana, and once in what was Rhodesia. In all three cases I figured out where I was in about a half hour. The reason for my sterling record is this: I do not boldly go where no man has gone before. I’ll make the trip, but I will be practically peeing my longjohns in terror. I always carry three compasses: a big Silva with a mirror, a smaller Silva with a mirror, and a little bubble compass that I pin on my orange vest.

Most important, I pay attention to where I am and where I am going. I shoot back azimuths occasionally, and am not above making notes about times, distances, terrain features, etc. Most of the hunters who get lost, I think, do so because they’re tracking game and forget to do stuff like this.

I learned to use a compass in the Maine woods when I was 13. It has stood me in good stead ever since. And no compass has ever refused to give me directions because the moon was not in the Seventh House and Jupiter was not aligned with Mars.