Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry) | High Sierra Topix  

Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

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Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:56 pm

Reading some comments made on a current thread the subject came up about ducks.
My personal feeling about these eye sores is that all of them should be destroyed on
crosscountry routes.
If a ranger puts them up where the trail may have been destroyed or very difficult to
find than that is fine because folks on trailed routes expect a trail and may get lost
otherwise, but having dozens of ducks placed all over on off trail routes is ridiculous
and many times it only tends to confuse the hiker.
Ducks, arrows, or any other signage should be destroyed, this is crosscountry travel, if
one needs these aids than they should stick to the trails.
Where have you seen the most ducks on a particular crosscountry route?
What are your thoughts on ducks? Should a crosscountry route remain just that or should
it include these aids for those who may need help finding there way?
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Re: Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby mokelumnekid » Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:21 pm

I go back and forth on this and (superfluous multiple) fire rings. Sometimes I do take them down, sometimes I don't bother. I never put them up myself- why? Their presence hasn't diminished my enjoyment (too much), but it does seem excessive. Curious about what others think.
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Re: Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby Jimr » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:33 pm

I think I've seen the most small ducks on the west approach to Lamarck col. The large ducks were minimal and very helpful to assure we hit the right col as the wrong one has you in a completely different watershed. The small ducks were very excessive and basically, useless. There are so many ways to move up that slope and every one was fine. It's just a mirage of zig-zags up a slope with many possibilities as long as the end-point was known. I knocked down several of these unneeded little eyesores.

I appreciate a small duck once in a while to assure my reckoning is on-track, but, for the most part, they're just unneeded.
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Re: Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:28 pm

I dislike the presence of ducks, but I consider it too much wasted energy to destroy the huge number of them that I encounter--I'm not in such great physical shape that I want to divert my calories for duck destruction. I have certainly seen them everywhere I've been off trail. There are a few ducks I've encountered of somewhat marginal value--those that mark a cutoff of a hairline offtrail route from a trail in brushy terrain, for example--but when taken in the context of the huge number of false positives even such ducks are minimally useful at best. There are far too many erroneous duck placements for these to constitute a useful (or safe and reliable) navigation aid for the off trail hiker.
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
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Re: Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby 87TT » Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:26 pm

With very rare exceptions, I go out of my way to knock them down. As bad as graffiti.
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Re: Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby quentinc » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:26 pm

I knock them over when it's easy to do so. There's a real arrogance in the people who set them up, as if they somehow magically know what the best route is. There have been too many times in the past when I've followed ducks that marked someone's ridiculous route to nowhere.
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Re: Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:34 am

Like others have stated, I often knock them down when they are close, but I usually don't go out of my way to do so. If folks can't find their way with a compass, GPS or some kind of sense of direction, they should stay on the well marked trails. However, the one instance that I can see their benefit is if you don't have a compass or GPS and there is a light dusting of snow. In that case, I can see that they might be useful. What's most annoying is when people put ducks next to a well marked trail. Why?
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Re: Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:21 pm

There have been numbers of threads on several boards over the years on Sierra Nevada ducks. On each we experienced backpackers, hikers, and climbers overwhelmingly dislike crosscountry ducks and many knock them over. Heck one can read such in several popular guide books. Amazingly I can't ever recall reading a post where someone actually admitted they placed ducks. Oh many have speculated they are kids on group trips with adults, boy scouts, and various novice adult types who read some how to in the woods books. Obviously those placing them then reading these threads must be embarrassed to admit so. So WHO are the duck placers?

There are so many of them all over that I simply find it hard to believe they were mostly placed long ago before the modern era. I've litterly knocked and kicked over thousands. Thus I have a suspicion there is a hard core of visitors much like the obvious many illegal fire and firering makers that read these threads but still do so smiling like evil imps from a secret closet. Usually from one duck to another is in visual view as though they are not reading the landscape but rather merely looking for the next rock on a boulder. How mindlessly inefficient! I wonder how much energy and effort not to mention a waste of time slowing their travel all that must take? I suspect some of these people are prone to obsessions where they have some kind of subconscious psychologic drive to continue their habit even though they know it has little value.

So again WHO are the duck placers? Has anyone here ever seen an adult duck placer actually doing so? I would like to question one of these people to find out what it the source of their behavior. Heck post a WHY as a sock puppet to remain anonymous.
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Re: Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby Cross Country » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:47 pm

To the best of my knowledge on this forum only one person claimed to know a relatively easy way into Edith Lake - me. The reasons are the route that I took and why it worked for me. Almost no one else took my route. I took it 7 times. There is one section of the route which is about an hour long that is extremely difficult to find going in and not so hard going out. The 1st time I hiked to Edith I saw the route out to Hetch Hetchy but my car was not at Hetch Hetchy. The 2nd time in I came in from HH. I didn't even try to find that best route because I knew that I wouldn't be able to do so. I loved Edith Lake. I knew I would come back, and probably do so several times. On my hike out I ducked that nearly 1 hour section.

The next time in I thought that because I had ducked it I could find the route in without carefully following my cairns. My overconfidence got me in a couple of very difficult situations. I backtracked and carefully followed my ducked route. Each of the following 7 times I did too. The last time was 14 years after the 2nd time and all my cairns were still there. The 1st 8 times I went there (72-79) the fishing was excellent. The last time I was there (87) it stunk.

My guess is that very few people ever saw one of my cairns. Apparently no one writing on HST has seen one.
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Re: Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby Jimr » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:47 am

I've constructed one duck in my life, but it doesn't count. 2009, crossing the inlet stream from Dingleberry lake, I was resting and watching a pack train going by. When I proceeded, I noticed one of they guys lost their leather hat, so I put it high on a boulder and held it with a duck. Upon my return, the hat was gone and the duck was re-arranged in a sort of thank you sort of message. I destroyed it.
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Re: Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby Tollermom » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:47 pm

I just finished bouldering up to Echo Peak from Upper Angora in the Lake Tahoe basin. Wrong path and you end up on the cliffs. As a novice, I found the ducks helpful. But there again, I'm not an old-hat-been-there-done-that-if you don't magically know the way tough luck-hiker.
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Re: Ducks in the Backcountry (Crosscountry)

Postby sparky » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:08 pm

I have never made a duck, or destroyed one, on or off trail
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