Reminds me of a sign in the Colorado Rockies. Per the Forest Service, Three Island Lake was five miles away. However, each year the sign was altered by exhausted hikers (it is a steep trail, and the air is a bit thin up there). The last time I saw that sign, Three Island Lake was "1,115 miles BY AIR."
Actually, having ridden the trail on a horse numerous times and having hiked it twice, I thought that 5 miles was pretty close. The sign is no longer there, the trailhead having been moved two miles closer to the lake some time between 1958 and 1988.
While you'd think modern methods would be more accurate, I keep seeing differing mileages on trails measured by GPS (depends on who is measuring, it seems). Those GPS distances are almost always shorter than those trails measured the old-fashioned way with an odometer on a wheel (usually done only for short, popular trails). Of course most trail signs seem to use map mileages. Modern guidebooks also differ, sometimes considerably, when different authors describe the same trail.
Example: Our local hiking forum, oregonhikers.org, has GPS mileages in its Field Guide. The popular hiking guides to the same trail often have different numbers, usually greater. Trip reports where the hikers have taken a GPS and measured the mileage themselves are often different yet.
I try not to get too hung up on exact mileages. I don't think they exist!
Edited by OregonMouse (06/05/15 12:15 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey