How do you plan your trip? | High Sierra Topix  

How do you plan your trip?

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

How do you plan your trip?

Postby rlown » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:33 pm

Ok.

So i want to plan a trip, to let's say Wallowa in NE Oregon. I pull up Garmin mapsource and plot my route. Might project it onto google earth to see how it lays, fix it and then upload into my GPS. Yes, i'm fully electronic at this point, but i still carry a map and compass as a backup.

What do you all do for planning? I don't really like the big map and pen thing anymore.

Russ



User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5351
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby Buck Forester » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:55 pm

I still love physical topo maps and I spend a lot of time with them, as well as guidebooks. There is a huge stack of guidebooks and a selection of topo maps in each bathroom in the house, ha! If it's an area I'm not as familiar with I'll Google it for any kind of information/trip reports. I've also fallen in love with Google Earth and I spent a LOT of time checking out remote areas all over the place, from remote Sierra basins to remote South Pacific islands. But it's still hard for me to beat a topo map and a worn guidebook for dreaming and planning trips.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
User avatar
Buck Forester
Founding Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Lincoln, CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:50 am

I'm pretty much with Buck on this. I love to browse topo maps. For a lot of my trips, my standard procedure is this:

1) Look over the topo for a trailless basin with unnamed lakes that looks like it's probably spectacular;

2) look for other worthy destinations in the vicinity;

3) study the ridgelines for passes between the basins;

4) figure out how to link them all up into one loop.

This method hasn't failed me yet; every trip has been spectacular.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:26 pm

I'm with Buck and TT, give my a topo map and I'm ready for an adventure.
I have received two garmin's in the last year and sold both, I've never used my
compass, and mainly carry it with me for the mirror(signal).
The topo gives me all the info I need and even with that your bound to run into
surprises, like a cliff that wasn't shown or a rock slide that makes a pass inaccessible,
these surprises may change my intended route, but keep things fresh, exciting, and
challenging which to me is the essence of exploration.
I don't want to know everything about my route ahead of time, unless of coarse
it may pose some sort of life threatening danger.
Secor's book is a must and Phil Arnot's "Range of Light" book is also quite good
for those who have not done much x-country hiking or who are ready to experience
the trailless frontier and boldly go where no man has gone before!
Sorry couldn't help myself, Trekkie for life.
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8041
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby rlown » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:38 pm

i'm guessing you don't play with google earth much. the tilt and rotate features are amazing. in some cases, i've seen more on that than i ever got from a Topo. Plus, my topo map is on the Garmin Rhino if we have serious questions about route.

I use trail books for reference in helpling my planning. I don't really trust everything they say.

Just my opinion,

Russ

PS: when you project your route onto google earth from Garmin mapsource, you actually see diferent paths and you do need to adjust to be more accurate.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5351
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:33 pm

Hi Rlown

Yes I have played with google earth, but when you've been going to
the mountains since the 70's it all ready gives me a 3-d perspective on things.
So for me its only a toy/gadget that doesn't get me to excited.
I understand having your route downloaded to gps for a reference in a difficult
section and can see how it would be useful, but as mention I enjoy the unknown.
Different stroke for different folks.
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8041
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby hikerduane » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:41 pm

I think about where I want to go and get the maps out and start plotting and replotting loops, as I do solo trips on my vacations. A neighbor gave me his guide books, Winnett? some years back after his son got out of HS and he no longer went bping. Not knowing everything about what to expect works for me. I usually forget what I am supposed to be looking for anyway once I get out there. I don't study the topo's for months before a trip like I used too, dang computers.
Piece of cake.
User avatar
hikerduane
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Meadow Valley, CA, Carson City, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby Buck Forester » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:08 pm

...Phil Arnot's "Range of Light" book is also quite good...


I second the "High Sierra - Range of Light" book by Arnot... I've spent many hours in that book. His descriptions stir the imagination and get the adventure juices going, for me more so than most of the 'factual' guidebooks that say things like, "after hiking two miles up the creek you'll come to a meadow, take the trail that heads to the right...", which is fine, but Phil really has a way with words.

I guess another reason I love Google Earth so much is because there's no way I'll be able to take all the trips in this life that I want to take, and I can "explore" in a virtual way that still excites me. Try crusing over Glacier National Park with all that topography with Google Earth 3D, it's just stunning!

But ahhhh... a well worn topo map in hand is like a long time friend. I never throw my old, severely used maps away, even though they have been replaced many times with newer ones. Just knowing the trips they've accompanied me on brings back memories.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
User avatar
Buck Forester
Founding Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Lincoln, CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:22 pm

Topo map day dreaming is still tops for me. I'll sneak a peek at Google Earth now and then, but, topo map gazing has been a tradition with me since my youth. I remember once in the early 70's looking at a map I had of the Klamath Mtns (an area later to become the Russian Wilderness) looking at a lake seemingly well guarded by steep slopes everywhere--looked tempting--it's name was Big Blue. That became my first backcountry fishing dedicated trip (trips had a serious peak bagging target previously) in '76 when a buddy told me he had heard about this place while stopping off at some bar in the Klamaths. The same buddy was looking at topos with me in '76 and I pointed to a cluster of trailless lakes deep in the heart of the Kings Canyon backcountry. "Those are so remote you'd need a helicopter to get there", my friend joked. Those lakes were the Dumbbell Lakes and I didn't in fact get there until 1993 with my wife. As the years went by, the topo map daydreaming has evolved to include the sipping of some very nice brew--either ones we brew (best), or a big Belgian ale, or a hyper hoppy West Coast double IPA., or something along those lines. I generally seek out trailless targets to camp at and these should be lakes that have fish, hopefully large ones. I'll check guidebooks (such as Secor) and the 'specialty death march book' (Arnot), but I take great satisfaction in doing off trail routes that I've never heard of anyone doing. That's half the fun--I like to work out routes on my own. I wish I could be as exploratory about the fishing, but I tend to have way too much information at hand. I've been better the last 4 years in this regard--I've haven't resorted to my magic sources, so there have been plenty of "unknowns" on my big annual trips. When I plan a trip I tend to calculate approximate hiking speeds (tend to be a bit faster than reality) if only to gauge what is feasible in day. I need to do this because my one big trip has recently been capped at 5 days, so this presents some serious challenges for those long trips. I also plan with the knowledge that I have seldom kept to my itinerary once in the field ("A general in the field...."). I like to improvise while out there, according to mood and conditions. Nowadays with one big trip per year, my plans tend to develop over awhile as various "options" move up the rankings and get revised as I think of better ways to do them.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 2439
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Location: Fresno
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:09 am

I love browsing Google Earth...but it's not my starting point. I start by browsing the topos (and with word of mouth, and guidebooks, but mainly the topos), from which I can get at least a broad sense of where I want to go. Google Earth is helpful in refining the route, or gauging feasibility.

Never used a GPS, though. In fact, I haven't used a compass since 1992. Give me a topo and a line of sight and I'll figure out the route.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:25 pm

TehipiteTom wrote:Never used a GPS, though. In fact, I haven't used a compass since 1992. Give me a topo and a line of sight and I'll figure out the route.


Indeed that is true for me too. As a matter of fact, I have never used a compass in all my years of off trail travel. When my dad and I first started our off trail trips back in the late 60's he carried a compass but it was such a poor one that the only time we ever placed any faith in its readings was when it agreed with our interpretation of position based on topography (the same was true of a pocket altimeter he once carried). Needless to say the compass was soon left behind. I will admit that having a compass would make it easier when I'm at those mid elevations surrounded by dense trees that very much limit the line of sight, but that on recent trips that has only added to the challenge--last year's Tunechuck trip (49 of 51 miles off trail) was a classic in terms of miles of off trail navigating through wooded country w/o a compass (I'm guessing a third of the off trail distance was through wooded country). As for GPS, I don't use it for recreational purposes at all, but I do apply it in the name of research, where it is a bit more critical that I can reproduce rock sample location to exceedingly high accuracy. The same is true for a compass, although the use the compass in field geology is to measure orientation of rock structures (given that any non-GPS located position is by the same line of sight and topographic criteria used for hiking).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 2439
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Location: Fresno
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby Buck Forester » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:51 pm

I have a top-end Garmin GPS (well, it was top-end a few years ago when I worked at REI, I'm sure it's a paperweight now), but I never did use it for hiking. I got it mostly for sea kayaking in case I got socked in with fog and needed to find my route back.

I backpacked once into a remote area of Yellowstone National Park, called Fairyland Basin, with a group of guys and one of them was techy and carried a GPS. The terrain we hiked through much of the way was flat and thickly forested, off-trail. He couldn't always get a signal due to the forest density, but when he did it was actually very helpful because there were zippo visual geographic points for reference. For miles and miles it was uniform, flat, dead-fall infested forest. There's only one semi-sane way to get into Fairyland, which is a very steep descent down a canyon wall, and we knew finding that point of descent would be tricky. None of us had been there before. My techy friend had downloaded the coordinates and it was pretty cool to see how far we were away at any given point, and which direction we needed to head through the forest. It was pretty handy to have the GPS in this situation.

I type too much.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
User avatar
Buck Forester
Founding Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Lincoln, CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ballpeen, playero1, Troutbuoy and 6 guests