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#134159 - 05/24/10 01:36 PM Am I the only one who doesn't?
bmwrider Offline
member

Registered: 07/31/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Michigan, just N of detroit
How many of you finish most of your hikes without actually looking at a topo map?

I not asking if you bring one I just want to know if I'm the only one who ends their trip without ever looking at the topo during the hike.


This is not a question of the need to take or use a map I just want to know how many people never pull it out of the pack for what ever reason.

Please don't attack me over this its just a simple question

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#134160 - 05/24/10 01:46 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
Trailrunner Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 1835
Loc: Los Angeles
Like anything else, it depends.

If I'm on familiar turf with clearly marked trails no. I don't even bring a map. If I'm off trail on new ground I'm checking the map all the time.

Those are the two extremes. There are lots of in-betweens too.
_________________________
If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*

* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.

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#134164 - 05/24/10 02:09 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
Like Trailrunner said. On familiar trails I've hiked often, I might not even bring a map. In new territory, I don't just bring the map, I definitely consult it. Other pertinent factors are the length of the hike, the number of trail junctions, and how well marked those junctions might be.

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#134165 - 05/24/10 02:09 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I usually take one but in often visited areas, it's easy to navigate by landmark even off trail when there are obvious peaks and other features. That's pretty much all I did until I learned to use a map. But not all places have obvious landmarks....
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#134171 - 05/24/10 04:04 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: lori]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
I always have one with me. On well marked trails I do not use it for navigation. I do however use it to cross reference with other things I see to plan future bushwhacks in the area. I will make notes on it of unmarked paths I find, etc...
_________________________
http://ducttapeadk.blogspot.com

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#134172 - 05/24/10 04:17 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
SunsetBackpacker Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/17/10
Posts: 2
I like having a map with me, but I try really hard not to use it. I get anxious when I don't know where I am, but looking at the map takes away from time enjoying the trail, so I try really hard to curb my neuroses.

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#134173 - 05/24/10 04:23 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: SunsetBackpacker]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
At home (Italian Alps) we never had maps because by the time we hiked alone or as a pair (from about 12) we already had done the same walks for years.
Everywhere else, apart from some places where I recognize individual trees.., I always have a map.
Franco

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#134174 - 05/24/10 04:36 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Need and want are different. I seldom need to consult a map, but I want to. I enjoy looking at maps. It is nice to verify the features that I identified while planning at home.

A type of orienteering competition is a "memory" meet. There is a map at every control with the next control marked. You spend enough time with the map to plan your route then leave the map at the control and go to the next control without any map. Memory courses are often used to train.



_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#134178 - 05/24/10 06:25 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: ringtail]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6370
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I don't bother to take a map when hiking the Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop in the Columbia River Gorge for at least the 50th time!

I do take topo maps for less familiar trails, though. I will check it during rest stops to locate where I am, get an idea of where the trail will go during the next hour or see how close I am to the next stream, camping place, etc. Even when I don't really need the map for navigation, if I come to a viewpoint, I will sit with map and compass identifying nearby mountain peaks and other landmarks. This is not only fun but good practice for actual navigation.

I'd say that the main problem with never looking at your map is that you won't know what to do with it when you really need it!


Edited by OregonMouse (05/24/10 06:29 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#134181 - 05/24/10 06:50 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I use my maps a lot! I always take USGS 7.5-minute maps. When off-trail (actually most of my miles) I actually have the map out, in my hand! I am not one to repeat trips very often - so I am usually in new territiory all the time. I also write on my maps and keep a journal on the back. I always have my pencil in my pocket and take extensive notes. I have done this for over 40 years and it is really fun to look back at my old trips - I have actually transferred all this data to my computer data base.

It is not that I could not find the way without a map, it is just my preference to match my travel to the map. I think it is really fun. As a consequence, I am very good at orientieering from a map. Practice makes perfect.

By the way, I DO NOT use a GPS!

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#134192 - 05/24/10 10:12 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: lori]
jasonklass Offline
member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 551
Loc: Denver, Colorado
Originally Posted By lori
I usually take one but in often visited areas, it's easy to navigate by landmark even off trail when there are obvious peaks and other features. That's pretty much all I did until I learned to use a map. But not all places have obvious landmarks....


Same with me.
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#134195 - 05/24/10 11:56 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: wandering_daisy]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1718
Loc: Napa, CA
I'm with Daisy. I am usually hiking new territory, and I'll look at the map all the time--not only to see where I am, but also to see what might be around the corner, or on the other side of the ridge. It's amazing what you don't notice until you see it on the map---oh look! There's a little lake there!

And like Daisy, I don't use GPS in the mountains.
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#134201 - 05/25/10 12:47 AM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
For me it really depends, on familiar trails, or well marked parked trails, I won't even look. On ones I've done multiple times as well as side approaches I won't even take one.

For off trail stuff on the other hand, I do look. often not so much because I can't get where I'm going without one, but looking at one when off trail in mountains really helps you find the better ways to get there.

On flatter ground it's pretty much useless - my favorite stuff there is actually air photos - so I know where the cutlines and the forest cover types are. - but again, only if I'm not familiar with the area already.

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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
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#134213 - 05/25/10 09:22 AM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: phat]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I am usually hiking new stuff and always carry a map and consult it often. Like Jim likes to point out. Once you don't know where you are, a compass is worthless. If you always know where you are, then it is never an issue.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#134214 - 05/25/10 09:30 AM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Like the others, it depends. I always have maps with me, but on trails I'm very familiar with, I may not get them out. (or, if I do, it's at night, just to check the next day's route.) On trails that are new to me, I use the maps frequently to check for the next water source or trail junction, or just to see what kind of progress I'm making.

I like having the maps with me, since many areas I hike have enough intersecting trails that I can change my route during the hike if I'm moving faster - or slower - than the pre-trip plan.

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#134238 - 05/25/10 05:31 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
I always have a map. I use it heavy duty, with GPS, when I’m in unknown country. In known country, I don’t use it except to show the group where we are.

Interesting tidbit: I have been on 3 recent trips with some young kids (6 and 8 years old). They easily do 15 miles/day with a small pack on. Instead of asking “Are we there yet?” they always ask “Where are we?” And they just love seeing on the map where they are. It’s embarrassing when they ask “weren’t we supposed to be on that trail over here?” And yes we were supposed to be there but I took the wrong fork in the woods…

-Barry

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#134251 - 05/25/10 10:12 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: BarryP]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Naw, you didn't take the wrong fork - you were just testing them to see if they were paying attention! wink

Sounds like they've got the right attitude. My stock answer for "Are we there yet?" when we were clearly deep in the woods, was "Yes." That usually corrected the problem. (By the way, the appropriate answer for "Do you know what time it is?" is also "Yes.")

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#134413 - 05/29/10 01:09 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
bmwrider Offline
member

Registered: 07/31/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Michigan, just N of detroit
I have to admit I have never even used a topo on a first time hike for the trail, although I always get the park drawn trail map.

I should start using a topo on my hikes, its foolish not to I have to admit

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#134419 - 05/29/10 02:36 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
countr21 Offline
member

Registered: 03/02/10
Posts: 48
Loc: Denver, Colorado
No maps on familiar trails = OK

No maps on unfamiliar trails = foolish

No maps on off-trail country = awaiting disaster

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#134432 - 05/30/10 12:42 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
I rarely carry a map and rarely consult it when I do. The data base seems so old and the trails change so it just confuses me to be standing at the intersection of two trails, neither of which is on the map. I do sometimes take Google aerial photos with way points written on them. I much prefer to navigate with a GPS and my own prechosen path.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#134433 - 05/30/10 03:30 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: Jimshaw]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
"I prefer...my own prechosen path."

Translation: marching to the beat of different drummer - perhaps even having one's own percussion section. grin

Just teasing, Jim - I never could pass up a straight line.

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#134442 - 05/30/10 11:38 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: bmwrider]
skippy Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/09
Posts: 129
Loc: CO
I enjoy looking at maps beforehand and planning my trips and then seeing how closely my mind came to matching the terrain I hike. I rarely go back to the same trail as I feel like you have only so many hiking days in your lifetime so I try to go on new trails almost all the time. Makes a map a mite more necessary.

-Skippy

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#134453 - 05/31/10 03:31 PM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: skippy]
bmwrider Offline
member

Registered: 07/31/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Michigan, just N of detroit
Michigan is also very flat and alot of the backpacking trails will not show much in the way of contour lines making it hard to find any land features to reference.

This just makes it hard to use topos here but not a good reason not to carry one but it is why I don't

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#134499 - 06/01/10 11:21 AM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: Jimshaw]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Jim, you are right, the old trails change. But, the mountains generally aren't moving much, so my 1978 maps are still pretty good. I never check where I am on a trail. I always look to see where I am with respect to the mountains.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#134501 - 06/01/10 11:42 AM Re: Am I the only one who doesn't? [Re: finallyME]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Expect man-made features to change. There is a 4 wheel drive road marked on a 1958 map of an area that became Wilderness in the early 70's. Forest fires change vegetation boundaries. Things change, for the most part mountains stay the same.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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