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Thread: Outlook vs Downlook

  1. #1
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Outlook vs Downlook

    Hardly a serious question but when I was doing the Osseo Trail Saturday I was again reminded of the oddity of why some open viewing areas on trails are called "outlooks" and some are called "downlooks". Seemed like just the sort of nuanced bit of nonsense that would spark spirited discussion on a forum such as this. (And I mean that in a good way).

    So what makes one viewing area on a trail an outlook and another a downlook? At most downlooks (like the one on Osseo) you can certainly look up and out and it isn't covered in any way forcing a downward or restricted view. In many cases the viewing area itself doesn't even have a downward sloping area and at least in the case of Osseo you actually walk up from the actual trail to the viewing area. Is this just a potato/potatoe thing or is there some underlying principle at work for the distinct labeling? Always been curious and I figured if there was an actual basis for this someone here would know what it is. Funny the thoughts that you get fixated on hiking in a steady rain for hours....
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Don't forget, Lookout, Vista, and just the regular old, View -->.
    Joe

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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    y some open viewing areas on trails are called "outlooks" and some are called "downlooks".
    Interesting, I couldn't remember ever hearing "downlook" before, nor seeing it on any map or trail description, though I've visited the one on Osseo a couple of times (and it's mentioned in the WMG). The name doesn't seem to be common: Google comes up empty except for Downlook Street in Pittsburgh, which does lead to the edge of a bluff over the river. GNIS has nothing at all. Steve Smith's blog spells it "The Down-Look".

    http://mountainwandering.blogspot.co...kicked-me.html


    I'm assuming that the name was applied before those trees in the foreground grew, when there was more of a downward view.

    We've only got two examples here, hard to generalize from that.

    There's also "prospect"...

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nartreb View Post
    Interesting, I couldn't remember ever hearing "downlook" before, nor seeing it on any map or trail description, though I've visited the one on Osseo a couple of times (and it's mentioned in the WMG). The name doesn't seem to be common: Google comes up empty except for Downlook Street in Pittsburgh, which does lead to the edge of a bluff over the river. GNIS has nothing at all. Steve Smith's blog spells it "The Down-Look".

    http://mountainwandering.blogspot.co...kicked-me.html


    I'm assuming that the name was applied before those trees in the foreground grew, when there was more of a downward view.

    We've only got two examples here, hard to generalize from that.

    There's also "prospect"...
    I've seen the term several places in the Whites and the WMG. I believe the outlook on the climb just before Stairs Mtn spur (in the turn highlighted in WMG to use caution because it is blocked by trees and is also described as a "downlook" (which makes a little more sense because you stand on a sloped ledge and there is a definite overhanging canopy of trees depending on how far you are willing to chance getting to the edge). There is at least one other one that escapes my memory now that has an actual "downlook" sign on it. Could it be on Passaconaway maybe??
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    "downlook" (which makes a little more sense because you stand on a sloped ledge and there is a definite overhanging canopy of trees depending on how far you are willing to chance getting to the edge)
    I can blow that theory out of the water with this sign.



    If there is ever a downlook in the Whites, this is it.

    Guess where.

    Of course there is Zeacliff as well. Can't get much more downlook than that. And the sign there is just, View.
    Joe

  6. #6
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    I always thought of "downlook" more as a situation where the overhanging trees, etc forced you look down for the view (and up was restricted from seeing anything) as opposed to there just being a nasty drop at the view. Many "outlooks" have pretty steep drops, maybe none more straight down than Stairs Mtn.

    I'm disappointed JustJoe. I thought you'd have detailed high resolution photos of each type with little arrows highlighting the features that distinguish between them in your pictures. If you don't have it I guess it's not out there. Guess I'll just have to continue to wonder as I pass these landmarks. However they're labeled, they sure are nice....
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    White mountain nomenclature is littered with such confusing terminology. It's my belief, author's try to out do their predecessors. I'll give you an example, what is a crippie? and why is it called that?

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    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    We should all overlook this subject whether it is a noun or verb makes the difference. Vive la difference!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    May as well add 'inlook' to the discussion, as in 'Upper Inlook' near Dome Rock (Mount Madison).
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
    Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
    All things are bound together.
    All things connect.
    ~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

  10. #10
    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven View Post
    May as well add 'inlook' to the discussion, as in 'Upper Inlook' near Dome Rock (Mount Madison).
    There's also Scenic Overlook. Ossipee's.

    But I don't think there's definitive answer to the question. I think they just put all the descriptions in a hat and pick one. Because referring back to that Vista sign, this has downlook written all over it.

    Joe

  11. #11
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven View Post
    May as well add 'inlook' to the discussion, as in 'Upper Inlook' near Dome Rock (Mount Madison).
    Good grief. I hadn't even thought of that. (Love that trail). I guess on future rainy hikes when my mind wanders I'll try to concentrate on more straightforward topics like postholing and unleashed dogs.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

  12. #12
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Good grief. I hadn't even thought of that. (Love that trail). I guess on future rainy hikes when my mind wanders I'll try to concentrate on more straightforward topics like postholing and unleashed dogs.
    #firstworldproblems

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    Senior Member Raymond's Avatar
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    On Osseo Trail, perhaps it’s a downlook because you have to go down to get the view.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
    On Osseo Trail, perhaps it’s a downlook because you have to go down to get the view.
    Actually you don't. It tapers down at the far edge but you actually climb up 5-6' to get to it. Kind of a dome shaped area.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    Senior Member Lefty E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven View Post
    May as well add 'inlook' to the discussion, as in 'Upper Inlook' near Dome Rock (Mount Madison).
    Yes and of course, another Overlook on the Kelton Trail, near the Upper Inlook, somewhat near the Bear Pit, but pretty far away from
    Dingmaul Rock...

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