First thing’s first: everybody should be traveling the backcountry with a map and compass, and some kind of electronic navigation. Even if it’s just an app on your phone, GPS navigation can help you find roads, waterways, ranger stations or even towns. And if your tech goes down, you still have map and compass as a back-up. But let’s say those items are lost when your pack falls off a cliff or sinks into the river. Now you have to navigate by memory or by logic. Ideally, you’ve studied the map of your chosen recreational area until you could draw it from memory—but let’s face reality. Few people go that far. Yet even if you can remember something simple, like a road to the east of the wilderness area, you can use the rising and setting sun for bearings, and eventually make your way to that road. But what if you can’t remember where anything is, or you’ve survived a plane crash or some other event that has dropped you in unknown territory? Then you have to go by logic. You can use natural features as navigational aids. Follow a waterway downstream. Follow a valley as it descends. Use some landmark or handrail to avoid wandering in circles (a real thing). In the old days, rivers were the highways through the wild, and even today – there is ample human activity near rivers. This also keeps you near a water source, which is vital for your survival.