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Old 08-08-2012, 11:01 AM   #1
wiiawiwb
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Topo maps more detailed than 1:24,000?

Are there any topo maps of the Adirondacks that are in more detail than the USGS 1:24K maps?

I know orienteering clubs have ones of the areas they use but they're for members. I've also read about 1:10K and 1:15K maps.
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:38 PM   #2
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Hi,
May I ask what your intended use is? I've always found 1:24,000 adequate for off trail navigation by map and compass. True, there can be interesting features hidden between the contour intervals, but that's half the fun! I honestly am not aware of a source for more detailed maps; but, I've never looked for them either. Good luck
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:52 PM   #3
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My intended use is for bushwhacking. I've hiked for 33 years but all of it has been on trail. I've just started doing some off-trail bushwhacks and can use all the help I can get. The most detailed map I can get my hands on would be a help.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
My intended use is for bushwhacking. I've hiked for 33 years but all of it has been on trail. I've just started doing some off-trail bushwhacks and can use all the help I can get. The most detailed map I can get my hands on would be a help.
You are not likely to find anything better than USGS 1:24000 or 1:25000 scale maps. Perhaps the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency would have something better for selected areas, but a civilian would never have access to the best of them.

I find precision navigation while bushwhacking to be a joy and a passion. I feel that the USGS topo maps are adequate enough, certainly for 99% of everything you might need to do with them in this part of the world. Where they might appear lacking in resolution, trends in terrain and experience will fill in most gaps. The rest is left to pleasant discovery and surprise. There is no reason why (in landscape such as we have in this area) a skilled person couldn't navigate to any reasonable desired and necessary degree of accuracy to reach anywhere you want to go in the backcountry - by using the terrain with eyes and careful thought, assisted by just a compass and existing maps alone. Enjoy.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:44 PM   #5
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Dido Wldrns statement. That is my experience also. You might want to check out a few good books. "The Essential Wilderness Navigator" by David Seidman and one I started with back in the early nineties titled, I think, "be an expert with a map and compass." Author?? Maybe others have better suggestions. Also, join some people with experience bushwacking, as hands on practice builds confidence. And map and compass, first before GPS, is the way to go. It teaches you to really navigate, pick routes, read terrain, learn what handrails and baselines are, aiming off is, etc....

As for maps, for your use standard USGS maps are perfect. They are accurate and scaled appropriately for our terrain. If anything, I like to carry a map with less detail ALONG with my USGS 1:24,000 as this gives me a greater perspective of my location. An example would be the National Geographic 1:75,000 adirondack series.

It looks like your in the right place for help. While I can get anywhere I intend to by map and compass, there are others here who are real experts. I've been doing this for quite a while and there's always something to learn.
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:27 PM   #6
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"The Essential Wilderness Navigator" by David Seidman and one I started with back in the early nineties titled, I think, "be an expert with a map and compass." Author??
There are tons of navigation instruction books out there, enough to be rather confusing. One of the early books that I and most everyone used was "Be Expert With Map and Compass" by Bjorn Kjellstrom. He was a co-founder of the Silva Compass Company in 1932. I see that more recent editions of the book are available.

I've been teaching the craft to wilderness guides for quite a few years, and more recently to SAR teams. Much of the technique I self-learned by just doing it, and taking the time to figure out the details what I did wrong whenever I became confused, not to be repeated again. I was pleased to discover the essence of the technique in "The Essential Wilderness Navigator: How to Find Your Way in the Great Outdoors, Second Edition" is a very good, though not a perfect match. Everybody has their own twist, but whatever works for you is good. So obviously (IMO) if you buy only one instructional book, this is the one to get.

But of course, nothing teaches you better than getting out in the field and just doing it yourself. Don't be afraid to "get lost". You learn much, and find it more and more difficult to actually "get lost". The finer details will take care of themselves at that point. That is by far the best teacher.
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:16 PM   #7
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Thanks Navigator and Wldrns. I'm looking to bushwhack into Spectacle Pond from the Dacy Clearing/Sleeping Beauty trail. I'd like to do the entire BW using just map and compass but will bring along my GPS unit, with waypoints already logged in, as a backup.

I started a thread on this before:

http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.p...spectacle+pond

My main concern is that I might get diverted along the way based upon marshy or wet conditions. That might not be the case this year with all the heat but I'm still brand new at this so I want to be confident how to approach it before I set out by myself.

http://adirondack-park.net/topo/inde...dePrivate=true

Of particular concern is that I overshoot to the south trying to traverse the Spectacle Brook should it be flowing or marshy.

I've had several gameplans. The first was to leave the Sleeping Beauty trail when it makes it's first u-turn then head along the ridge at 1800'. Once Spectacle Pond was visible then head down the mountain toward it going NE. I'm not crazy about this one.

The second gameplan was to leave the same trail at the same point then head in a straight line 57 degrees (true north) to the bottom of Spectacle Pond being sure to err to the north.

Do either of these gameplans make sense or can you offer another suggestion?
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:29 PM   #8
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Are there any topo maps of the Adirondacks that are in more detail than the USGS 1:24K maps?

I know orienteering clubs have ones of the areas they use but they're for members. I've also read about 1:10K and 1:15K maps.
A website I use a lot in preparation for bushwhacking trips is MSR Maps.

You can zoom in pretty close and print-out the map for free.
You can also switch from "Topo Map" to "Aerial Photo" with a click of the mouse to see a black & white satellite image, and print that out also if you wish.

Another great tool for getting a "birds eye view" of things is Google Earth.

Download it,
Use it,
Study it,
Save it,
Print it,
Love it.

At least that's what I do.
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:51 PM   #9
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Well, funny how life is! I just did this hike to try fishing spectacle pond (don't, it was shallow and warm ...meaning no trout! The clifts on the further side may have had deeper water, but since it did not look promising, I didn't try) it was beautiful though, with plenty of moose sign.

My approach was to leave Dacy clearing, where I parked, hike to the second switchback on the way to sleeping beauty (the one closest to the pond) and plot my compass course for the middle of Spectacle Pond (where it is narrow) I hit a marshy area just before Spectacle. There's a Beaver dam and an easy stream crossing at this spot. No problems, though. It is a good place to know you are on track. Just over the hump and downhill from here lies the pond. I tried fishing the shore to the North, then just south of the north end of the pond plotted a course to Bumps Pond. Try to stay south of the little ponds...

On the way you hit a brook. This is worth the trip--Steep sides, rocky gorge like spots... I followed it a bit to clear some steep terrain and just south of the next marshy area I replotted my course and hit Bumps spot on. I hiked out over sleeping Beaty via trail....

Try it. Great bushwacking trip with plenty of ways out should you need them...

Great trip.
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:01 AM   #10
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From the hair-pin turn in the Sleeping Beauty trail I have 110 degrees magnetic East to the marshy area along Spectacle Brook...less than a half mile from the trail away. Probably take 20 mins or less to make it to the marsh from the trail depending on the forest. Follow the 110 bearing in as straight a line as you can until you see the marsh. Once you see the marsh, continue to walk in a straight line at 110 and walk to the edge of the marsh (if you can) so you can get a decent view of your surroundings, and remember that location for your return. Then you can just follow the brook upstream as a "handrail" to Spectacle Ponds.
On the return, go back to that spot where you first arrived at the marsh and set your compass to 290, which is 110 plus 180 degrees. Follow 290 West in as straight a line as possible back to the trail.

Here's a rough lay-out of that route:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg download.jpg (150.2 KB, 108 views)
File Type: jpg download2.jpg (146.1 KB, 107 views)
File Type: jpg ge.jpg (130.7 KB, 107 views)
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:28 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
Of particular concern is that I overshoot to the south trying to traverse the Spectacle Brook should it be flowing or marshy.

I've had several gameplans. The first was to leave the Sleeping Beauty trail when it makes it's first u-turn then head along the ridge at 1800'. Once Spectacle Pond was visible then head down the mountain toward it going NE. I'm not crazy about this one.

The second gameplan was to leave the same trail at the same point then head in a straight line 57 degrees (true north) to the bottom of Spectacle Pond being sure to err to the north.

Do either of these gameplans make sense or can you offer another suggestion?
I assume by saying "its first u-turn" you mean at the southeastern most point of the trail as it ascends Sleeping Beauty. It is a short bushwhack to Spectacle from there, but even with that there are several options. Navigation is all about looking for changes and constants in terrain. Keep that thought in mind.
While your Wild River map link is handy, a real USGS topo map will show you much better detail. That's what I will use.

Your Plan #1: I know there are vistas from atop SB, because that trail is described in "Discover the Eastern Adirondacks". But as for your first plan, I wouldn't count on Spectacle Pond being visible from anywhere until you nearly step into it. If I were for some reason to choose going that way, the turn north in the trail is certainly the first definitive clue for your departure point, along with the obvious curving of the contour lines indicating a ridge up SB. I would take a course toward the NE to a relative flat (a slope change to a constant) that lies between the 1800 and 1900 contours. Note the draw (ravine) that is slightly east of your trail departure point. It heads north into the flat. That would be a better guide to the flat than trying to stay on the 1800 line itself. Once in the flat (should be obvious), look for the gradual decent (a change) toward the NNE, ending in a marshy wetland (another change) that flows SE then S. This is your "backstop" for that direction. You can't go wrong if you don't cross it. Any easterly heading downslope from here would put you on the shore of Spectacle.

Your Plan #2: Heading 57 degrees is the right straight line course to intersect the south point of Spectacle. Rarely can you make a straight course while traversing a slope, especially one that becomes increasingly steep. If you do this, make note of the draw (described above) that you will cross (change in and change out). The terrain will tend to alter you down and east of 57 degrees, which in this case is ok. just make note of it. You will run into the marshy land to the south of Spectacle. Just follow it north until you reach the pond.

What would I do? Why not take a more direct route down, a bit more east - on a line roughly toward the elevation marked "1845" east of Spectacle valley. Cross over the draw near the departure. A slight ridge climb to the east of the draw, then down. See where the 1700 contour "squiggles" toward the 1800 line? It is a little steeper there. Look for it, make note of it when you arrive. Avoid the steepest part (which is a fix to your exact location) left or right, head into the "valley" of Spectacle creek marsh. Stay on the dry side and follow north into the pond. Your backstop is the marsh itself, and note that east on the other side is another steep rise that forms the elevation to the east of Spectacle. Another confirmation backstop - don't climb it. Spectacle valley and the marsh SW of 1845 will be obvious, simply follow it north to the pond itself. Expect possible beaver dams and ponds along the way.

Pay attention to direction, changes in terrain, estimated distance and time, and your backstops. You can do it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Spectacle.jpg (64.8 KB, 102 views)
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:37 AM   #12
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All this talk of bushwhacking has got my adventure juices flowing.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:39 AM   #13
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Plan number one as described by Wldrns is almost to the letter what I did. Very nice description! Just a note. You cannot see the marshy area until your on top of it. However, by looking above at the tree tops you can get an idea its coming.

Also, in the brief open area around the marsh you get glimpses of the hills just bordering spectacle on the East. On my heading I took note of the ravine, just off the trail...it was obvious and basically skirted the edge of the flat (also obvious).

I chose this route to keep me on trail with the shortest off trail walking. Also, realize that bushwhacking is much more rugged hiking. I encountered thickets that I had to go around, blow downs to climb over, etc. be prepared for this. However, holding a compass course over such a short distance doesn't require extreme accuracy especially when reading the terrain...that's why it's called "Map" and compass.

Also, maybe I'm slow but it took me a good 45 minutes from the trail...though I dropped a line in the beaver damned area of the marsh...
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:43 AM   #14
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BTW: there is nowhere on SB that you can see Spectacal Pond. If someone knows otherwise, I stand corrected, but I looked on my way out... Mostly at trees!
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:50 AM   #15
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I use Mytopo lately for maps. Printed on waterproof paper...reasonable price...I have no affiliation with them....just got two maps from them and have been impressed. Also, USGS maps are available from their site for downloading FREE. With a little set up and some tape, you can paste up a map that is centered on your area....done this several times.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:56 AM   #16
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Acme mapper! Map, Satellite, Hybrid, Terrain, Topo, DOQ, Mapnik, Nexrad. Very Nice!
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:10 AM   #17
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With a little set up and some tape, you can paste up a map that is centered on your area....done this several times.
That's kind of like what I do...I print out a close up of the area I'll be bushwhacking through...print it out so that the image is about 5" x 7" so that it can fit in my pocket for easy access, then cut the image out and remove the excess paper, then I draw multiple magnetic north lines onto the map to assist in easier compass readings, then wrap the 5 x 7 map in packaging tape to keep it protected and water proof.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:41 AM   #18
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Here is an interactive topo map that is zoomed on the area of the Sleeping Beauty trail and Spectacle Ponds. The map also shows a UTM grid which is what I use for off-trail navigation.

http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap...e=18&coord=utm

OK, full disclosure time. I'm the developer of Gmap4 which is showing you the topo maps. The homepage has a FAQ and examples to quickly get you up to speed.

Want to show your GPS data on the topo map? Sure, you can do that with Gmap4. Want to click the map and save your work as a GPX file? Yup, you can do that and more. Check out the features under the Menu button.

This project is part of my way of 'paying it forward'. Translation: Gmap4 is free for non-commercial use.

Note: In some areas the high resolution "t4 topo high" maps use yellow instead of green to indicate forest. If that is a problem try switching to the medium resolution "t2 MyTopo" maps.

Gmap4 homepage: http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html

Enjoy!

Joseph, the Gmap4 guy
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:55 AM   #19
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Also, USGS maps are available from their site for downloading FREE. With a little set up and some tape, you can paste up a map that is centered on your area....done this several times.
I'm still pretty old-school with a huge collection of traditional USGS paper maps covering much of NY and virtually all of the Adirondacks. USGS recently had a sale for $1 each, mostly of older topos. I picked a several dozen on the fringes of what I already have. In the past, protecting them with Thompson's Water Seal worked great. It made them tough and completely water proof for almost no cost at all. However TWS has recently changed its formula and it never completely dries, and also darkens the paper and print. So now i use a waterproof fabric or boot spray. It works as well as the old TWS for waterproofing and it doesn't darken paper or printer ink, but doesn't toughen the paper as much. I carry my map in a clear protective map case, much preferable to a zip lock bag, but the bag works in a pinch.

My preferred method of using compass with map is in magnetic mode, so I have drawn magnetic north lines on the topos for areas where I expect to travel. That's especially important for the older set, that do not have the UTM grid overlay - which with minor or no GN adjustment will work with compass in true north mode.

When I am called in the middle of the night for SAR I will grab a set of paper topo maps for the area of interest. If I have the time I will also print out a series of zoomed images from NGTopo, with magnetic north lines digitally drawn on them. The rangers have been getting better about handing out color maps of the search block areas, but sometimes they only give out poor b/w copies that can be difficult to read.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:18 AM   #20
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I'm still pretty old-school with a huge collection of traditional USGS paper maps covering much of NY and virtually all of the Adirondacks.
The problem here is that from everything that I've been led to believe, the USGS is getting out of the paper map business. They have been digitizing the metric quads from the 1990s and posting them for free download online under the header "Historic Maps."

I will second the endorsement of MyTopo. I've spent so much money on their website since 2002 that I expect to receive stock options any day now.
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