In a previous article “Estimating The Width Of A Stream” I described a method of using trigonometry to estimate the distance across a stream for the purpose of obtaining the proper materials such as a rope or log to safely cross it . However, there is a much easier way that can be used to estimate the width of a stream or height of a tree. It uses a stick to reference the distance or height and transfer it to the adjoining ground so that can be measured.
Begin by grasping a short stick, pen or pencil like a conductor would hold a bation. Hold it out at arm’s length and slide your thumb up or down the stick to match the same width of a stream or height of a tree in the distance behind it. You may need to back up in order to match the relative size of these items. Then, keeping the tip of you thumb at the side of the stream or base of the tree, rotate it 180 degrees or 90 degrees respectively to the adjoining ground beside it. Where the tip of the stick matches the horizon line on the ground, spot a landmark like a rock or flower as a marker. Then you can walk up to the marker and measure the distance between that and the pivot point on the stream bank or tree base by pacing it out or by using a tape measure or known length of cord.
When estimating a distance or height, be sure to position yourself at a perpendicular angle (or 90 degrees) to it for the best possible accuracy.