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Kyle Purcell
(dufus934) - F

Locale: North Texas
judging distance on 11/05/2007 13:06:14 MST Print View

Real simple.....you're going on a hike and want to know how far you have gone because your destination is somewhere you've never been.


How do you know how far you have gone? what gear do you use to tell you how far you have traveled?

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: judging distance on 11/05/2007 14:04:33 MST Print View

Ranger beads. Its like a human operated pedometer.

Walk 100 meters 15 times and count the steps to obtain a average number of steps per 100 yards. Then make a set of beads on a string and put a different colored bead every fourth bead. Then put a large bead at the end of the 4th set of 4. This is the one mile chain. Then make one in mile increments, and if you really want to, 5 mile increments.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
judging distance on 11/05/2007 14:07:25 MST Print View

I rely on my map, a blank piece of paper, and a pencil. I then measure my route on straight line segments, making a tick mark then turning the paper to align with the next straight segment. When I'm done, I then simply use the map scale to determine the total distance. It's the same way I teach my 7th graders in geography class. And it generally checks out to within about 2/10ths of a mile for a 10-15 mile route.

You could always carry a GPS and record the route. Garmin makes the Forerunner series specifically for this purpose (as well as how long it took you to cover the distance).

But I still prefer basic map skills.

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: judging distance on 11/05/2007 16:32:40 MST Print View

Ditto for what Bearpaw said. I want to know where I am and what progress has been made to my destination. A map will give you both components. In orienteering this is called "keeping in touch with the map". Some people actually move their thumb to mark progress.

Pace counting is accurate, but distracts me from my enjoyment.

Time can approximate distance.

How do you do it now?

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
map distance on 11/05/2007 18:44:48 MST Print View

If one measured a trail by using a wheel, and some one else measured a line on a map...

the more elevation change - the more the map line distance will be off from the wheel. Right or wrong?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: judging distance on 11/05/2007 19:48:59 MST Print View

> want to know how far you have gone
Why?
I do a rough estimate off the map, and I know it is rough. But so what?

What does matter rather more is the time taken. Time is FAR more reliable than distance, especially when you get into alpine areas where you may go up and down 1,000 m (3,000') each day.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: judging distance on 11/27/2007 06:41:50 MST Print View

There are many reasons for wanting to know your mileage, and it is not clear why you want to know. Not understanding the question never stopped any of us from providing authoritative answers. So:

The map is your best guide. Some of it depends on where you hike. The AT corkscrews through the woods, up, down and sideways and the big corkscrews have little corkscrews to avoid boredom. It's Baroque. The Colorado Trail and CDT stretch like lazy snakes along the ridges - with moderate elevation change. Heck, you can just look at your mileage in person - most of a day's hike in sight. That said:

(1) GPS will give you accurate mileage in conjunction with a map or if you are using a unit loaded with the trail you are hiking.
(2) Pedometers rarely give consistent readings on rough trails because you change stride length when changing from level to climbs or descents.
(3) Since most folks have different hiking rates on different trails and different states of fatigue, your watch (the time you take) may not be terribly accurate either. However, on a long hike, in consistent terrain, you may develop a feel for how far you go in an hour - on the average, over the long haul - which may give you a rough way to estimate mileage as you go along.
(4) The map (and on the trail, the compass) will show where you are, how far you have to go and have been. You can use a map wheel or string to estimate mileage from the map. Most trail guides give mileage between significant waypoints. You can mark up the specific trail on your map with that mileage data so you don't have to carry the trail guide.

Edited by vickrhines on 11/27/2007 06:56:30 MST.