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How do you plan your trip?

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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby rlown » Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:31 pm

Indeed,

Before GPS, i did map and compass. My Glen Aulin/cold mountain map was taped several times during numerous trips there (before fish removal.) With my garmin rhino 530, i can double-check rather quickly if i'm on path and refute others with me about where we really are. (i carry the rhino as it has the radio feature. on my trips we all carry radios)

I never have the gps on when hiking, unless off-trail. it's completely unreliable unless i strap it up near my head. I haven't figured out yet to meld it to my shoulder strap, without it bouncing around as i hike.

So, long story short, i use both. I preplan on Garmin Mapsource, project onto google earth as a test, replan and re-project. I bought the software, and others might be more comfortable with the topos (i was 15 years ago). With Google Earth i can actually almost walk my trip, find cliffs and avoid them, or other opportunities for a shorter off-trail, and i absolutely love it.

Russ



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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:17 pm

Well, that's the thing about backpacking: there's only one right way to do it, which is the way that's right for any given person. ;) My own preference is to test and develop my routefinding abilities without the aid of newfangled gizmos.

Of course, the Sierra spoil us--the landscape is open enough and distinctive enough that people like me can get away with a no-gizmo policy. In the situation Buck describes, I agree that a GPS really would be extremely useful.
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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby hikerduane » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:48 pm

I'm glad to hear much wiser folk than I, don't use a compass either. Ya can't get too lost, the trail is thatta way, the highway is over there, so forth. Well, until a low cloud rolled in that one time.:)
Piece of cake.
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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby dave54 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:27 am

Depends on the trip.

If it is local and I know the area I may not even consult a map. The big 'destination' trips I will use paper topos, on line topos, topo software, NF visitor maps, and research on line. If I can get an older map I will look at that also, as sometimes older maps will show features omitted from current editions.

After all my planning is done and I arrive, as often as not the planned route is discarded and I wing it. :lol:
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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby markskor » Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:18 am

"After all my planning is done and I arrive, as often as not the planned route is discarded and I wing it."
A plan after my own heart. I cannot tell you how many times that this same thing has happened to me too...starting out at the trailhead for a 10 day trip and finding myself two days later on a different trip/route entirely...or just sitting at some high lake for three days and foregoing the rest of the "best laid plans" so thoroughly devised months earlier. Such is backpacking.
Glad to hear that somebody else thinks the same.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby dave54 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:49 am

Yeah. For the lack of better term: serendipity hiking.

Some of my current favorite 'secret spots' are idyllic treasures I accidently stumbled across on an unplanned cross-country shortcut.
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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby hikerduane » Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:31 pm

Hey Dave, ever hear of a small lake N/NW of you, that is full of neon fish? On one of my weekend rambles, I was xc hiking and came across this small lake full of them.
Piece of cake.
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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby dave54 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:45 pm

Haven't heard of anything like that. Do you mean neon tetras, the tropical fish? I would think it's too cold for them.

The Caribou Wilderness has around 600 lakes. But most are too shallow and dry up in drought years.
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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby hikerduane » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:15 pm

They reminded me of the ones we sold in the dime store.
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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby markorr » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:42 am

Glad to hear that I'm not the only Luddite that doesn't own a GPS. From the way Backpacker mag is written you'd think we'd all be lost without one. I do however use my altimeter watch quite a bit in conjunction with a topo. The compass is pretty much reserved for settling disputes over the names of various peaks. As for trip planning I use the _Trekking California_ guide by Paul Richins as a starting point since it includes a lot of off trail suggestions and then look at the maps to see what else is cool in the area. This will only be our third summer in the Sierras so we're still hitting all the known favorites.

Speaking of Backpacker mag, what are people's thoughts on it? I used to really enjoy it, now I find it pretty sophomoric, other than the recent "lifelist trips" issue. Even the annual Gear Guide was a letdown this year. I'm thinking of letting my subscription expire.
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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby TehipiteTom » Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:14 pm

After all my planning is done and I arrive, as often as not the planned route is discarded and I wing it.

I'm a compulsive planner, and I take a lot of pride in my planning, so my general inclination is to do the trip as planned.

Of course, I can wing it if I need to. I still remember the time in 1997 when I found out at the ranger station that my planned route couldn't be done because of a fire in Monarch Wilderness, and I had to come up with an alternate route on the fly with my trip members looking on.
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Re: How do you plan your trip?

Postby oldranger » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:11 pm

The person I'm most like is Markskor. The longer my trips the more likely I am to wing it after the start. I do spend all winter planning and was pretty sure what my schedule would be until last week when I read the snow survey results and decided that it is likely to be as close to "normal" as it gets. That ruled out my proposed early season trip to a lake in a north facing cirque a little below 10,000. Instead I have opted for a first trip just after memorial day out of Hetch Hetchy into the Pleasant Valley and Saddle Horse, Irwin Bright, and Table Lakes. The only problems with this trip is I have had mixed reports about whether Saddle Horse and Table Lakes have fish and I am concerned about crossing Piute Creek during what is likely to be close to the peak runoff. I'm also not crazy about the 4,200 feet of vertical climb up Rancheria Mtn. If anyone has any advice please lay it on me. So any number of things can make me change my plans. My planning involves my past experience--I seldom do something that doesn't expand or link to a past trip ( I think that is more coincidence than plan). I also pay attention to this board and the experiences of the members. Finally, I scrutinize maps and google earth to make sure that my crosscountry travel will not involve bonefide class 3 terrain where if you slip (however unlikely) you might die and are likely suffer a significant injury. I'm just not that sure of myself.
When in the field I rely on my topo and eye for the terrain. I carry a compass but have never used one to navigate in the sierra (I have in oregon when caught in the fog and the forest all looked the same). I generally hike solo which eliminates arguing over route selection. Even when my daughters revolted on our last cross country trip, I selected the alternate route and rejected their proposed route. The only time I would accept someone elses judgement when I disagreed is if I thought the route would work but would be more difficult than the route I would choose (generally this occurs when they see an "easy route" ahead but didn't "read" the map carefully for the unseen portion of the route. I'm not beyond saying I told you so. Once when correcting the mistake didn't take much effort I allowed my companion to take us to the brink of a cliff. Probably why I hike alone!
Anyhow it is good to read how others plan. Oh GPS? My oldest daughter gave me one that fits on my wrist. I use it all winter and spring when skiing and day hiking. I kind of keep track in my head distances and elevation gains and how long my ski trip or hike takes. I use that to help me decide how far and how much elevation gain I can handle on my Sierra trips. The GPS stays at home when I'm in the Sierra. I think there is a quote in Zen and the Art of Motocycle Maintenace about the mountain selecting your pace (much more articulately, though). I generally just kind of wander down the trail or cross country. The topo and its little brown lines are my friend!

Keep planning, less than 3 months to HH day!

Mike
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Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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