The Lost Art of Finding Our Way | Book Recommendation

John Edward Huth

How did the Polynesians make their way across the ocean to find Hawaii some 1,500 years ago? Why did the Hubbard-Wallace-Elson expedition to Lake Michikamau in 1903 fail and what could Hubbard have done differently so that the expedition didn’t result in his death? And what are the urban myths that can get you in trouble… and which ones are actually helpful?

I found this book in the Point Reyes bookstore when taking a break on a busy weekend filled with trail patroling and answering whatever questions the seashore’s visitors asked me. That evening, even though I craved nothing more than hot soup, my comfy sleeping bag, and sleep, I couldn’t resist but dive into the book.

The average reader might not find it entertaining but for me, this book was a page-turner. John Huth explores and explains all the ways people navigated this beautiful place we call Earth long before there were GPS devices and phones.

He introduces the ways humans traveled the world, using only environmental clues and simple instruments. He explores what is lost when we blindly follow the directions given to us by modern technology instead of dipping into the inner capacity to find our way that we were born with.

Astronomy, meteorology, oceanography and ethnography play an important role and are introduced in the book, deeply connected with the people for whom “paying close attention to the environment around them was, quite literally, a matter of life and death.”

The Lost Art of Finding Our Way is an excellent book to study during long winter nights or on a hot summer day, trying out the techniques immediately.

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