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Let Nature Lead the Way to Fresh Water
Before I get to how nature can lead you to fresh water, let me tell you about an experience I had outside of Cody, Wyoming. I was out hiking up a mountain with my daughter and some other youth. While I am a careful camper, I check things at least twice; I missed the fact that we did not have enough tablets to sterilize our water. Oh, the choice we had. Drink the water without sterilizing it or go without. Before we chose the latter, we decided to use our outdoor skills and let nature lead the way to fresh water. Below are a few signs that will guide you to water. Some of these will be sources of fresh water that does not need to be purified, while others will still need to be sterilized.
Yes, I said mountains. What is the old saying? What goes up must come down. Well, this is true when it rains. As rain hits a mountain, it runs down the hill. It will stop at the base of a mountain in the form of a stream. The best way to find water this way is to walk along the mountain in a parallel fashion. As you walk across the mountain in this fashion, you are more likely to come up on a stream or pond.
The presence of trees is an indication that water is in the ground but it may be too deep to dig for. A better approach is to look into the forks of the tree. These are areas where water can collect. This source of water does not need to be purified if it seems to be fresh.
One unique aspect of bees is the fact that they do not stray too far from a water source. As a matter of fact, the water source will be in a three mile radius of their hive. Once you find the hive, sit down and watch the bees. Note the direction they are coming from. If you follow this pattern, you will find water that is easily accessible but may need to be sterilized.
The finch is one of many birds that will not fly too far away from a water source. The key is to observe the direction by which the finches are flying but do not jump to follow the first finch you see. Make sure that there is a pattern to the direction of the flight before you start to follow the birds.
While it is true that you should take a map with you when you go out in the backcountry, the tips listed above will give you another technique that you can use to find water.