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Thread: West Dorset, VT: First Solo off trail

  1. #16
    Senior Member onestep's Avatar
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    Congratulations!
    Way to step out of your comfort zone and go for it!!

    Bushwhacking - The freedom of the hills.

  2. #17
    Senior Member spongebob's Avatar
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    About time you went by yourself. We are all sick of hiking with you....really

    I wonder if there were any Coors Light beers out there too.....The Vermont tripod does not have the same ring to it.

    I knew you had it in you........to ignore certain traits in other hikers, and do the opposite, to find your own way....

    Too bad that way made it out ok.(as in you.) There is always next weekend.
    "People who use quotes for a signature are suckers." - Adrian Payeur

  3. #18
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoySwkr
    even though USGS maps are usually more accurate than the typical GPS map.
    Just for the record, the GPS topo maps (for the USA) are generally USGS maps.

    Garmin, for instance, sells 100K scale topo maps for the entire USA and 24K scale maps for selected areas (which tend to be of interest to many hikers). All are based upon USGS topo maps.

    Note: Garmin also sells Canadian topos for those who hike north of the border.

    Doug

  4. #19
    Senior Member timmus's Avatar
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    Very nice, congrats on your first solo BW

    Like you, I always go off trail with GPS users, but because I don't have one I'm using map and compass when by myself.

    BUT, I will get myself a GPS soon. I have no problem doing the ''easy'' ones, like the NEHH, but I am not gonna go alone on a Scar Ridge Traverse without a GPS. Find people go come with me ? That's just too much trouble, and I prefer following a gps arrow than a leader.

    Also, I can't waste time looking for summits, because I need to catch up on someone

  5. #20
    Senior Member Toe Cozy's Avatar
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    Another first...a link to my pictures

    Sorry that I'm in some of these ruining the scenery. It's my very first webshots album. Now that I can do this, I may have to do a different trip report so I can show off my 3 week vacation to the Canadian Rockies, Washington and Oregon....that's a lot of uploading!

    Anyway...here you go. photos

  6. #21
    Senior Member bigmoose's Avatar
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    re: GPS
    I'm not a gadget person either; map and compass always got me through anything. But going off into more and more obscure places, almost always solo, I thought a GPS might be a good "if all else fails" tool. My wife bought me one last fall. Now I use map and compass and have eased into GPS, using probably 5% of the unit's features. I will say it's reassuring to mark a waypoint and reference the paper topo to find I'm right where I thought I was. (some of the time, at least!) For most of the hike, though, the GPS stays in its case while the compass is in my left hand.

  7. #22
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigmoose
    re: GPS
    I thought a GPS might be a good "if all else fails" tool. My wife bought me one last fall. ... I will say it's reassuring to mark a waypoint and reference the paper topo to find I'm right where I thought I was. (some of the time, at least!) For most of the hike, though, the GPS stays in its case while the compass is in my left hand.
    I understand what you are saying and the temptation to think that way. I'm not knocking responsible use of a gps if that's your thing, but try to think of it in the opposite way... before you venture out into those kinds of situations, the map and compass should be the fallback "if all else fails" tool. Plenty of people use a gps to "confidently" get back to where they might not otherwise go and now get there even if they had blinders on, which is fine only as long as they have another fail-safe tool that will get them safely back home. A tool that depends more on what you can see and figure out with the natural clues always at hand, without reliance on the fragility of gps.
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 10-16-2007 at 06:42 AM.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  8. #23
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    Nessmuk - said perfectly.

  9. #24
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    Everyone so far is exactly right!

    On certain trips I take the GPS and use it extensively for all the reasons mentioned and for efficiency. Efficiency because when I am a lightly packed peakbagger and have decided on what is (for me) an ambitious itinerary with the ultimate goal of getting back to the car I save lots of time by simply checking the bearing indicator and redialing new bearings into the compass. I don't have to be constantly thinking of how far off-course I might have zigged or zagged or keep sighting on trees up ahead.

    OTOH, for a different experience I greatly enjoy relying on map and compass alone. Leaving the gps at home and having no quick and easy answers to solving the terrain interpretation and navigation problems is a most satisfying experience. I usually learn more and feel more accomplished after such trips. (Like Nessmuk has said elsewhere, you really do have to leave the unit at home and solve the problems entirely with your head. It's like doing today's crossword versus yesterday's with the solution.)

  10. #25
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil
    ... It's like doing today's crossword versus yesterday's with the solution.
    Wow, I really like that analogy. In doing today's crossword you can't be tempted to give up on research to find the solution. After you are given the solution you realize that with a little more effort you could have figured it out (and maybe discover another something interesting along the way).
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 10-16-2007 at 09:42 AM.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  11. #26
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Great Job Toe Cozy. I have not done West Dorset but I have done Dorset. Definitely some obscure woods around there even on Dorset proper...Doing West as a first Solo Whack is a worthy deed!
    As far as the GPS thing goes I personally Whacked for a long time without one because they were not available. When they became available I waited for a long time with some skepticism before getting one. Now I use it sometimes and others not depending on the trip. If you like computers like I do one of the best parts IMO about the GPS is the data it gives you after the hike. I like looking at the Track Logs and the Elevation Profiles. I will echo what many have said here in this thread and many others about GPS learn your Map and Compass well first and then you will see a GPS as something you will add to your skills not something that is replacing a skill. Besides in the Digital World that many of us live in it's nice to go Analog once and awhile .
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  12. #27
    Senior Member Adventurous's Avatar
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    Kudos for taking bushwhacking on solo. I haven't had the guts to do it myself but it's calling. I'm sure you got the "if I can do that, I can get through almost anything" feeling. That's such a great feeling - not one that you experience very frequently. Congrats again. I look forward to reading more of your solo adventures.

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