View Full Version : What's the best thing you've learned here?

04-07-2006, 01:47 PM
This site is a gold-mine of information, especially lots of stuff that's not easily (if at all) found in any book. For me, it's the subtle things that I find most valuable. Here's the best thing I've learned here (besides the fact that the dogs-on-trails debate can turn really ugly really fast :D ) ...When hiking in the winter or even a cold day in Fall or Spring, adjust your layering so that you're just slightly cold. This is much better than sweating. It's more important to stay dry than perfectly warm. As you gain altitude and it gets colder, you can put on another layer and be warm almost immediately. But trying to dry your sweat-soaked layers in the cold ...mmm... not so easy. I know my example is "Duh-101" for the veterans, but it's big when you first learn it. Thank you to the person/people who posted that. Anyone else care to share some lessons learned?

Mark Driscoll
04-07-2006, 02:33 PM
I have learned a lot but I would have to say the best thing was “that there are a lot of people as crazy as I am about hiking”.

Even though I have only met a few of you, the people on the site are great. It is nice to learn that there is someone like Darren willing to put his heart and soul into this site.


04-07-2006, 02:39 PM
I learned that many VFTTers hate deer flies as much as I do and have limited options to combat them. :p

04-07-2006, 02:48 PM
I've learned that you can actually meet people over the internet, go into the woods with them, and return safely without becoming a newspaper headline or the subject of the sequel to "Deliverance."

04-07-2006, 02:52 PM
The people. You folks who only surf the site and haven't gotten out & met the members are missing out. Some truly special people make up this site. :D

04-07-2006, 02:58 PM
I've learned that it's OK to turn back without reaching your hike's goal. I'm always impressed when people report the hikes where they didn't reach the summit. It's a good lesson that if conditions aren't right, you don't need to push on mindlessly.

04-07-2006, 02:59 PM
This site is such a tremendous resource for trail information, and fun conversation about hiking!

I'm psyched to be finally joining my first VFTT group hike this sunday!!!

Lawn Sale
04-07-2006, 04:12 PM
I agree with Halite on the meeting people, a lot on here are awesome and I've made a lot of friends I would definitely hike with again.

This year I've learned that it's OK to slow down and actually enjoy the hike, rather than just punching through it like it was a goal to be achieved and not enjoyed. As such I didn't get a lot of peaks this winter, but definitely enjoyed every one of them.

04-07-2006, 05:12 PM
I'd say clarification of trails, how to find trailheads when it's not real clear on the map or AMC Guides.

04-07-2006, 05:20 PM
-to never hike the Mt Cabot Trail... I don't know if I ever would have since I love Bunnell Notch so much, but without VFFT, I would be unaware of the disgruntled landowner who reportedly has confronted hikers. I need to avoid negative human contact while hiking in the forest, bad for spirit.

-alerts and links by great people like aughman about things like government forest plans, road closures, etc. VFFT is a good source for fresh info about the WMNF.

-flora and fauna idenitifications...many great people here who will help id. what you experience in the forest.

-there are other Loreena McKennitt fans in the forest :)

Happy Trails!

04-07-2006, 05:26 PM
Great thread. Since life only permits me to hike a few times a year right now, I can vent, commiserate and live vicariously through others. Not bad! Thanks Darren and all. :) :) :D :) :)

04-07-2006, 05:30 PM
Folks that maybe I would have never met like Post'r :eek: or Frodo and plenty of others.

king tut
04-07-2006, 05:35 PM
I have really been grateful for the White MT hiking advice that is available on this website. I have received a lot of good advice from everyone. I have also been fortunate enough to meet some of these cyber-people, for a while i did not believe that they were real. But they turned out to be some of the nicest people that you can meet.

post'r boy
04-07-2006, 05:43 PM
to be a good boy and play by the rules. :eek: ;)

04-07-2006, 05:43 PM
Trail conditions and snow depths. Also, first hand knowledge of some areas I haven't been to often(ADKs, Vermont, Western Maine).

04-07-2006, 05:45 PM
I think the most notable thing I've learned from this website is that the guide books aren't infallible, and that sometimes the information they provide isn't always 100% complete. I've learned that there is a difference between a summit and a peak's highest point, and that the trail or spur path doesn't always go all the way to the latter. From this website I've learned that once on top of the mountain, you have to keep your eyes open to ensure you do reach the true high point. I find that the other posters here are also very good about reminding everyone that preserving the delicate flowers is more important that gaining a few more feet in elevation. Sometimes it's okay to stay on the trail and still be able to claim a peak.

04-07-2006, 06:47 PM
All of the above, and then some!

I think one of the lasting things I've learned from here, after meeting some VFTTers, is that I should and can have faith in my hiking abilities. That I am as strong a hiker as I believe I am. That as slow as I am, there is always someone slower _ and much faster _ and that it's all OK. It's the journey and the destination, not the speed.

And all of those lessons translate into other parts of my life...and that, to me, is the beauty of the outdoors.

Then, there is, of course, the practical: finding trailheads on mysterious Maine roads, getting beta on which trails to avoid, techie stuff on gear, etc.

04-07-2006, 07:01 PM
Let's see, I've learned something new from almost everyone I've hiked with here, so how about.......

1. VFTT is a great place to make friends and find hiking companions!

2. that when it comes to the outdoors/backcountry..... I'm not as smart as I thought I was :D :rolleyes: :eek: :p

3. that when it comes to the outdoors/backcountry..... I'm not as dumb as I thought I was either :D :rolleyes: :eek: :p

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I'm off to the Catskills for some hikes and the 3500 club dinner! Fred

04-07-2006, 09:35 PM
I've gotten lots of good information (and other, entertaining, stuff) from these boards, but there was no comparison to actually seeing what the real trail is like.

For instance, I got reassurance that Falling Waters to Garfield Ridge Campsite in one day with full pack was doable -- and it was -- but actually doing it was one of the toughest days of the trip. Being over forty and carrying over fifty made a big difference, and my mileage varied.

The boards are great; getting out there has been even greater. Thanks for helping make it happen.


04-08-2006, 12:29 AM
Lots of good info on gear of all sorts.

04-08-2006, 04:46 AM
#1 The awesome people, LOL, that you CAN meet on the internet and then walk into the woods with!

#2 Great advice on hydrating in winter.

#3 Trail conditions and gear requirements.

#4 Sanity check for some of my wilder trip plans.

#5 Inspiration.

04-08-2006, 07:26 AM
to be a good boy and play by the rules. :eek: ;)

me too! at least i'm tryin'!! :) :eek: :) :eek: :)

04-08-2006, 07:30 AM
Best thing I've learned:
How to spend one's prime years at the keyboard.

04-08-2006, 07:40 AM
I positively love having a place I can go 24/7 where I can relate to other like minded people.
It 's great knowing you can relate your experiences, plans, adventures without someone rolling their eyes or asking you "why on God's green earth would you do such a thing???"
Each time I choose to sleep out in my own yard I remember that some of you a probably doing the same.
Thanks to Darren and the moderators for setting standards for the site and enforcing them so things don't get out of control.
Each and everyone in their own way has something important to offer.
Keep it coming!

The Sikes
04-08-2006, 07:44 AM
Where to begin...there are so many things.

1. That I can trust people like Sherpa Kroto, Nadine, Arm, Go, Sectional Scott (I still remember the first time I found out there was a forum part to this site and opted to do the Maine 6 pack with complete strangers with my kids) I will never forget that experience as long as I live.

2. The valuable information from so many people, which maps/books were the best...the most recent! I think of Arm and HarryK who are just wealths of information! There are so many...can't name them all.

3. Getting to know other crazy families that hike with their kids....Neil and family, Mav and his family, AJTIV and his kids....I think my kids have enjoyed this part of the site the best. (The Maxsons...lurking in the shadows...haha

So many, many things...Thanks everyone for all you've shared and for hiking with us!

04-08-2006, 08:27 AM
It's hard to track the best but:

Sour cream can be dehydrated (yet untested)

I specifically remember something Neil brought up about a year ago and going "AHA! excellent tibit of knowledge" can't for the life of me remember the tidbit. Oddly, it may have had to do with vacuum bagging

"After you seal the spray skirt on make sure this loop in front is on the outside" (Thanks Darren).

The tape a trip's bearings to the compass tip (alas, a rarely deployed tip).

04-08-2006, 09:24 AM
I learned to open my mind more on subjects like dogs, handguns, bikes, less/more experienced hikers, emergency gear. solo hiking, GPS, etc. Flaming debates are important on forums. Once we can get over the nasty comments, we realize that everyone is in right to have his own point of view. There's million ways to hike, and none is the perfect one.

Also other important things, like : some people like the wide opening Nalgene, and some prefer it narrow.

Wish I could learn more about writing in english though :o

OH- And I learned that some other people enjoy my drawings. Thanks to all.

04-08-2006, 09:47 AM

The most valuable thing I've learned is how little I really know.

It's also a reaffirmation for me that the world (this one anyway) is filled with warm, funny, wonderful people that will generously give of themselves so that people who know less (like me) will one day know more.

And that in turn inspires me to go out and learn more so that some day I can give back in some small measure.

04-08-2006, 10:10 AM
One thing I've learned (and I'm not brown nosing) is what a great bunch of people Upstate New Yorkers and New Englanders are. I really mean that. I'm especially impressed with the openness demonstated towards French Canadians. Hell, it seems like half of the North East's population descended from Quebec lineage anyway. :D

No slur against NYC dwellers, especially if they are all like FunkyFreddy. If so, I think I'll move there.

Oh yeah, I learned a lot about batteries and gps's too. And mapping, and birds, and crampons, slides, boots, compasses, the weather, digital photography, the sun and the stars and....I learned how funny Pete Hickey is.

04-10-2006, 07:21 AM
A visit from the Doctor does not always mean you will feel better the next day!