Adirondack Forum  
Rules Membership Donations and Online Store Adkhighpeaks Foundation ADKhighpeaks Forums ADKhighpeaks Wiki Disclaimer

Go Back   Adirondack Forum > Outdoors Related Discussion > GPS Navigation, Maps, and Orienteering
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-23-2011, 03:15 PM   #21
DSettahr
ɹǝqɯǝɯ
 
DSettahr's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,484
That makes sense.
DSettahr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2011, 08:23 PM   #22
HH1
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 55
Thanks Wldrns and DSettahr for your feedback.

Wldrns - that region and your Grass to Indian Mountain Pond map looks like a fine test to navigationally exercise the minds of your newbies.

DSettahr - I have examined the Piseco 1:25000, 6 metre contour USGS topo which allows me (I think) to piece together most of your route on the backpack to Metcalf Lake, using Beaudry Brook to help handrail there, up and over the 'pass' the highest point of which is Buck Pond.

If the route you chose did indeed skirt Buck Pond itself, I understand how you could navigate this trip without compass. That you did this, though, with a 1:75000 map makes it all the more impressive!

But the upshot - have you found yourself sumitting in unfamiliar territory where visibility deteriorates to next to nothing, hiding all surrounding landmarks and you wish to head somewhere 'forward'? If so, how did you choose a direction to head out?

I cannot conceive how this is possible without the aid of compass, but then maybe you know! Let us in the secret!

Regarding the lack of folks who navigate this - your - way, it's my impression most on this site select relatively small landmarks to hike to (or in the case of departing a summit, hike down towards) over the course of a day over arduous terrain, often in spruce/conifer AND are daylight limited. So they have so many hours to cover much ground and hit 'x' number of destinations, such as say in the Sawtooth Mountains west of Street/Nye. In the overall analysis, I think this type of bushwhacking mandates the use of compass. Please correct me if you think otherwise.

On the other hand, when you are say, backpacking, and are headed to large features (a big lake) taking you up and over a height of land and back, with significant handrails, and maybe over a few days duration, then the use of compass becomes less essential.

For me, though, I take a big gulp for I'm not at the point where I have your confidence to do so!
HH1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2011, 08:55 PM   #23
DSettahr
ɹǝqɯǝɯ
 
DSettahr's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,484
Quote:
Originally Posted by HH1 View Post
But the upshot - have you found yourself sumitting in unfamiliar territory where visibility deteriorates to next to nothing, hiding all surrounding landmarks and you wish to head somewhere 'forward'? If so, how did you choose a direction to head out?
For me, it doesn't matter if visibility is nill. I could be a dense forest and still be able to navigate. I guess my visual cues are the terrain beneath my feet- the direction that the land slopes down in, going up and down and over hills and across valleys, and such.
DSettahr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 08:27 AM   #24
geogymn
Member
 
geogymn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,910
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
For me, it doesn't matter if visibility is nill. I could be a dense forest and still be able to navigate. I guess my visual cues are the terrain beneath my feet- the direction that the land slopes down in, going up and down and over hills and across valleys, and such.
It would be interesting to strap a GPS to your pack and when the hike was over check out your actual path vs your intended path. Personally my natural navigating skills are poor but are getting better, maybe fifty more years of practice....
__________________
"A culture is no better than its woods." W.H. Auden
geogymn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 09:28 AM   #25
Neil
Kayak-46
 
Neil's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 5,975
Navigating off-trail with M&C can either be a technical, precision engineering type of game (high power lens) or it can be very general and vague (low power lens) depending on whatever one has the most fun doing on that particular day. Additional elements include the type of terrain and the dimensions of the objective (peak versus 10 mile lake), the presence or absence of obvious backstops etc.

I also enjoy orienteering by the lay of the land. I need to look at the map a lot if I don't have any visual references but if there is a ridge, a peak a drainage or even just a variable slope then the map alone (whether on a piece of paper in front of me or in my head) usually does it for me. Even more so if my goal is a summit where the law of up tends to super-cede all else. On the way down from a summit I'll check the compass a lot more, especially if I'm trying to descend a broad ridge to a narrow col.

Where I first started bushwhacking, in very flat Manitoba a compass was an essential tool on a cloudy day. Initially we would keep it simple and try and aim ourselves at right angles to streams and lakes but gradually we set pin point challenges for ourselves. However, navigational goals were immensely easier to achieve when we bushwhacked in northwestern Ontario in the Canadian shield due to the much more wrinkly topography (as in the mountainous areas of the Adirondacks). Out topo maps were 1:50,000 with 50 foot contour intervals and it never ceased to amaze us how much info we could infer when 1,000,000 square metres were scrunched into 4 square centimeters.
__________________
The best, the most successful adventurer, is the one having the most fun.
Neil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 10:07 AM   #26
Wldrns
Member
 
Wldrns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,814
Quote:
Originally Posted by geogymn View Post
It would be interesting to strap a GPS to your pack and when the hike was over check out your actual path vs your intended path. Personally my natural navigating skills are poor but are getting better, maybe fifty more years of practice....
No need to do that if your skills are up to par. You already know where you have been and the GPS is simply redundant information. Even if you make a mistake and head away from your intended route, you need to understand what you did. Sit down and figure it out, and presumably you could if you made it home.
__________________
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
Wldrns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 10:12 AM   #27
Neil
Kayak-46
 
Neil's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 5,975
I have used a gps in the field in order to "check my work". I'll pick a spot on the map and head for it and when I think I'm there I check my GPS.

If there is a discrepancy then I know how far "out" my GPS is.
__________________
The best, the most successful adventurer, is the one having the most fun.
Neil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 10:55 AM   #28
Wldrns
Member
 
Wldrns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,814
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil View Post
If there is a discrepancy then I know how far "out" my GPS is.
It was just after the 1995 microburst. A fellow backcountry instructor and I made our way to the devastated (formerly) virgin timer area west of Lows to see what happened to the large stand of giant white pines there that we had grown to love in previous years. The news was not good as over 90% of them were down and the rest severely damaged. But my hiking partner was the kind of guy to have all the latest gadgets. He flies hot air balloons for hire. His chase van is full of every piece of modern equipment and radio gear you could imagine – it looked like an aircraft cockpit. And he was skilled as an excellent map and compass instructor.

So now he has this brand new hand held GPS. We are making our way through the blowdown destruction, crawling over giant logs, and he is fascinated with staring at his hand and the changing numbers it held. Meanwhile I’m concentrating on observing the landscape along with my map and compass.

Every now and then he says: “look, we’re here” as he points to the lat/long and relates them to a place on the map. I say “yup”. Finally, at the end of a prominent ridge he says: “we’re here.” I say: “no we are not there, just look around and you will see where we really are. You are so intently focused on the gadget that you are missing the reason we came out here in the first place.” He agrees with me and puts the dang thing away for the rest of the trip.

Now this was before SA was turned off, so the GPS accuracy was not what it is today for civilian units. But the point is that he became so focused on the gadgetry that he lost sight of the real world he was in. He trusted the unit implicitly and treated it like a video game at home, instead of experiencing the wonder of where we actually were with his eyes and using the rewarding skills he already knew.
__________________
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

Last edited by Wldrns; 01-24-2011 at 08:43 PM..
Wldrns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 11:34 AM   #29
Crokit
crokit
 
Crokit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 362
In most cases, I'm traveling within 2-3 miles from where my camp is. Each night before I turn in I thoroughly study the area I'm planning to hunt the following day, visualizing everything { v's, saddles, ridges, streams, etc.} forming a mental picture before ever stepping in it. Frankly, I do this several times a week at home all year long. My game plan each day is to get within a few feet of several spots that I have identified the night before with visualization.

I've been blessed with a very keen sense of direction, but will never lower my respect for the woods and what they can do to you at any given moment. However, One of the neatest things that can happen to anyone that has become lost/turned around, is to be able to orientate yourself, through map/compass use, and get back. It is a huge confidence builder when your able to reach the point of trusting those two. It was for me.
__________________
Give me the mountains, or give me death.
Crokit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2011, 12:01 PM   #30
Wldrns
Member
 
Wldrns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,814
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crokit View Post
...One of the neatest things that can happen to anyone that has become lost/turned around, is to be able to orientate yourself, through map/compass use, and get back. It is a huge confidence builder when your able to reach the point of trusting those two. It was for me.
One of the most rewarding parts of being a trek leader instructor is watching this experience happen to someone for the very first time. They sit through what can be a boring classroom lecture (not mine!), then are wildly unsure of what to do when actually thrust into a real outdoor wilderness off-trail experience for the first time as a group "leader". I give little or no correction as they muddle through what to do. Suddenly the light turns on in their head and they get it. I can see the glow in their eyes when they realize this stuff actually works... and they want to do more. It's a great feeling.
__________________
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
Wldrns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2011, 07:33 PM   #31
paddlewheel
**BANNED**
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 837
I know what your saying Wldrns....I taught my son all that I know.....and he's better than me...

When the two of us get together, the Adirondacks are "our backyard" & there is nowhere that we do not feel confident about going to...

That's a real good feeling..........
paddlewheel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2012, 05:52 PM   #32
Lonehiker
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Dolgeville
Posts: 75
I navigate without GPS and resist the compass. This is my first post so let me introduce myself. I have been to 27 of the 34 fire towers still standing in the ADK and now working on the 46. I want to start also working on the lower 54. I do not want to have anything to do with a GPS. I like the idea of strenghing my navigational skills without it. So far I have done short bushwhacks on my own and have had success, but I found bushwhacking to be slow going and brutal at times.
Lonehiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2012, 06:16 PM   #33
Wldrns
Member
 
Wldrns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,814
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonehiker View Post
So far I have done short bushwhacks on my own and have had success, but I found bushwhacking to be slow going and brutal at times.
Slow going because of terrain and dense brush, or slow going because of taking time to observe and navigate?

The first can often be made easier by better route planning before heading out. If you encounter unexpected travel difficulties due to vegetation, it is often the case that travel may become significantly easier (or at least "different") by seeking a slightly different course in different terrain. Head at right angles for a ways, then resume on a new course. Especially where there has been extensive blowdown, I have found that moving "out of band", maybe higher or lower or on the other side of the ridge you are following will get you into much easier (or harder) going. You can stay in climbing over heavy blowdown for long distances, where if you just explored heading into slightly different terrain going in the same direction it might be smooth open ground. Planning such alternatives is part of the game.

If you are taking a lot of time in the navigation process itself, constantly checking and rechecking yourself, then better planning and pre-trip study will help that as well. Instead of planning very long straight legs in featureless terrain, plan what may be zig-zag courses between easily identifiable features, or traveling along linear features (handrails). The overall distance will be longer, but may take less time at greater speed overall with the bonus of seeing a variety of features. That way you can make fast time while being assured of your location relative to the terrain feature. Be sure to set "expectations" for yourself regarding upcoming terrain, even if it is a slight change in slope in an otherwise bland landscape dense with trees. Look for that next change, know when you should be upon it. That will keep you from getting confused and disoriented (I didn't say "lost").

Ok, now go practice.
__________________
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

Last edited by Wldrns; 03-09-2012 at 10:51 PM..
Wldrns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2012, 12:07 AM   #34
Justin
Moving along
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,224
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonehiker View Post
I navigate without GPS and resist the compass. This is my first post so let me introduce myself. I have been to 27 of the 34 fire towers still standing in the ADK and now working on the 46. I want to start also working on the lower 54. I do not want to have anything to do with a GPS. I like the idea of strenghing my navigational skills without it. So far I have done short bushwhacks on my own and have had success, but I found bushwhacking to be slow going and brutal at times.
Hi Lonehiker,
Welcome to ADKforum.
Starting out with a few short bushwhacks is definitely a good way to practice, and is exactly how I started to gain confidence with bushwhacking.
The more you do it, the more you learn and the more comfortable you become with it.
Yes, it can be brutal at times, but other times it's not so bad...even preferable sometimes.
Snowshoe bushwhacking (probably my favorite thing to do in this world) is a great way to explore hidden treasures that you normally may not get to see, not to mention it's a great way to practice your bushwhacking techniques.
There are countless rewarding places in the Adirondacks that can only be reached by bushwhack.
Never let the trail stop you.
Curious why you "resist the compass" though...?

Last edited by Justin; 03-10-2012 at 12:19 AM..
Justin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2012, 09:50 AM   #35
geogymn
Member
 
geogymn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonehiker View Post
I navigate without GPS and resist the compass. This is my first post so let me introduce myself. I have been to 27 of the 34 fire towers still standing in the ADK and now working on the 46. I want to start also working on the lower 54. I do not want to have anything to do with a GPS. I like the idea of strenghing my navigational skills without it. So far I have done short bushwhacks on my own and have had success, but I found bushwhacking to be slow going and brutal at times.
I believe one can get away without compass and GPS on a marked trail route but one would be foolhardy to leave the path without map and compass (not a fan of GPS).

Wldrns, good post!
__________________
"A culture is no better than its woods." W.H. Auden
geogymn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2012, 10:10 AM   #36
DuctTape
Out of Shape
 
DuctTape's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 1,748
Another aspect which I believe to be true is that some people are more in tune with their internal compass as well. Some might think the idea of an internal compass is mularkey, but the earth does have a magnetic field which may be possible to "feel". There is some compelling evidence to support this assertion as well. It is known that some animals are able to "detect" the earths magnetic field for navigational use in migrations. if other animals are able to detect the field, than it is not that far of a stretch to think that humans also have the ability, albeit very weak. This, in conjunction with other clues, such as the sun and time of day allow some people, subconsciously to have a pretty good idea of general bearings. In a bushwhack, the general bearing is more important anyway since one is following the land forms and not a precise compass heading.
__________________
"There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal
DuctTape is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2012, 12:03 AM   #37
ADKian
Member
 
ADKian's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Johnstown, NY
Posts: 323
Russ I think a great example of this is when we did the bushwack in the west canadas. We had almost this same exact conversation about being able to have our bearing and know our direction just by a "feel" that's hard to explain, but makes complete sense to yourself.
ADKian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2012, 10:35 PM   #38
Justin
Moving along
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,224
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
I guess a good example would be a multi-day bushwhack I took into Metcalf Lake in the West Canada Lakes a few years back. I spent one night on Metcalf Lake, and one night at the old lumber camp clearing on Beaudry Brook, starting and ending at Mountain Home Road.

For clues, I really just looked at the map, examined the lay of the land, and looked to see what I was experiencing first hand, and where it fit in on the map. It's mostly subconscious, it seems... I rarely look for specific landmarks, but rather examine the whole lay of the land. I came out via the gap in the Metcalf Range where Buck Pond lies. To find it, I simply bushwhacked down the lake until I was roughly opposite the large island in the middle, then turned and went uphill, allowing myself to be funneled into the gap by the hills on either side.

As for a map, I was just using the National Geographic map (1:75,000 scale).
I did a route to Metcalf Lake similar to this a few years back also, and I must admit that I was slightly confused when I came across a beaver meadow along Beaudry Brook that is inaccurately depicted on the USGS map.
The USGS & Nat. Geo. maps show a stream flowing into Beaudry Brook from the northeast and from the marshes near Jones Brook, when in fact that stream does not even exist. Maybe it did once upon a time, but it wasn't there 6 years ago nor was it there last spring when I was in that area.

Not sure if you noticed this also D, but here's what I'm talking about...
In the first map that I've attached you can see that Beaudry Brook and Jones Brook are clearly defined.
But in the next map (which is zoomed in), there is no "Jones Brook" labeled, and it depicts a different drainage route for Buck Pond....when in fact this stream does not exist.
Buck Pond actually drains into Jones Brook and down to the South Branch, as it is shown on the first map.


This is just to show that sometimes maps are wrong, and you can't (or shouldn't) just rely on map alone for navigation.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1.jpg (159.9 KB, 53 views)
File Type: jpg 3.jpg (156.8 KB, 53 views)

Last edited by Justin; 03-12-2012 at 10:30 AM.. Reason: clarification
Justin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2012, 07:36 AM   #39
rollinslover64
Member
 
rollinslover64's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 369
That stream wasn't there 25 years ago either Justin.In fact the swampy area at the top of Beaudry wasn't there 25 years ago either.I'm talking about where you have the arrow that shows the actual course of Beaudry.The stream was there but it was a stream and not a swamp.It'll be interesting to see if we can find the campsite I remember in the spring.I trust your navigation skills but not my memory lol.
rollinslover64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2012, 10:41 AM   #40
Justin
Moving along
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,224
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollinslover64 View Post
That stream wasn't there 25 years ago either Justin.In fact the swampy area at the top of Beaudry wasn't there 25 years ago either.I'm talking about where you have the arrow that shows the actual course of Beaudry.The stream was there but it was a stream and not a swamp.
Yeah, beaver have more than doubled the size of that marsh since my first time through there. At first it was a charming open grassy area with many dead trees and it was a pleasure to walk through, but last year it was a full blown flooded swamp and I was forced to bushwhack around it through very thick brush...it was some pretty rough going.

Looking forward to getting back to that area again this Spring!
Justin is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

DISCLAIMER: Use of these forums, and information found herein, is at your own risk. Use of this site by members and non-members alike is only granted by the adkhighpeak.com administration provided the terms and conditions found in the FULL DISCLAIMER have been read. Continued use of this site implies that you have read, understood and agree to the terms and conditions of this site. Any questions can be directed to the Administrator of this site.