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Online Backpack Trip Listing
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Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/17/2006 21:00:25 MST Print View

In several forums posts I have seen the recurrent tension between "going" backpacking and "gearing up" for backpacking. Many members seem very interested in more content about trips and technnique.

About a year ago Ryan and I discussed the idea of a countrywide index of backpacking trips on this site. I envision a state/region organizational pattern that would be searchable by state/region, trip length, best season, point to point vs loop, cross country, and rating. It would also have a brief trip description which could include available maps and guide books if applicable.

Members could post their favorite trips and all of us could benefit. I've certainly enjoyed traveling outside of my home region (the Sierra) but don't have a lot of information on places I'd like to visit--Olympics, Pasayten Wilderness, Death Valley (in winter). I'd love to benefit from our members experience to plan trips to new areas. I'm especially excited to get to new areas after the unique experience Andy Skurka and I had in Yellowstone last September. (Article pending)

Is this something that anyone is intersted in? How many of you would contribute trips?

Edited by ksawchuk on 11/17/2006 21:03:29 MST.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/17/2006 21:33:02 MST Print View

I would be most interested! While I could not contribute routes that focused on high-mileage, extended time type trips, I have been to many locations and would like to contribute knowledge for anyone else who is seeking a particular destination. Likewise, I would love to have an index of trip reports from the folks here.

The way I see it, you have some of the most experienced and intelligent backcountry people in the country who spend time on this site. I cannot think of anyone better to ask about a trip to Glacier or the Bitteroots than someone who is like minded in their approach and who lives near them. And like you Kevin (I actually grew up in the area you live now), I have spent plenty of time in the Sierra's and Northern California.

My two (rather gutless in comparison to some here) goals would be to backpack outside my home state once a year, as well as segment hike the PCT before I am gone. Any extra motivation provided by trip reports from the good folks here would be superb.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Searchable Online Trip List on 11/19/2006 22:28:55 MST Print View

This list would have trip lengths of any distance, be searchable by multiple criteria. There should be nothing exclusive about it. A 100 mile trip might be a 7-10 days for one person and 2-3 for another. It's getting the data out there and encouraging us to get out there that's important.

I know the Sierra like my morning toast and have really enjoyed getting out of state. A "one trip per year" out of state goal is a laudable one.

Let's see if we can generate enough interest to make this happen.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/19/2006 22:58:01 MST Print View

I am very interested. This site has made it easy to focus on gear. Your idea could bring a better balance to the site. I only have so much free time, this would help me make the most of it. I would be happy to contribute trips.

Marion Watts Jr
(mdwattsjr) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/22/2006 05:51:26 MST Print View

I could take care of southern Ohio. This is a great idea!

David Chamberlain
(dbchamber) - MLife
Great Idea on 11/22/2006 06:49:04 MST Print View

I can post some trails in GA and eastern Alabama.

Dave C

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Arizona on 11/22/2006 07:11:47 MST Print View

I love this idea. I usally try to get in a backpacking trip whenever I fly anywhere. The research can sometimes be intensive trying to find a good place to backpack in unfamiliar territory.
I can add some good info on my home turf - AZ.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
I'm in... on 11/22/2006 07:41:34 MST Print View

...as long as you don't expect long naratives. Something with several photos and supporting text would be great. Heck even, photos with captions would be fine.

Here's one I did for a trip to Oly NP this past summer (Quinault --> Elwha via skyline trail).

http://picasaweb.google.com/yellowjacketlite/SkylineTrail/photo#s4979420848790700050

David Smith
(dksmithfamly) - F

Locale: South Texas
trip index on 11/22/2006 07:52:20 MST Print View

I'm new to BPL, but think that having a nationwide trip list is a great idea. I'd like to post a trip report or two of treks to the Weminuche in Colorado and a more recent trip to the Sawtooths in Idaho. Plus, I'd benefit from reading others' reports of areas I'd like to visit.

David Stenberg
(dstenberg1) - F

Locale: South
great idea! on 11/22/2006 08:15:21 MST Print View

This is a great idea and could be a lot fun finding out about new places in differnt regions. I am from Western TN and could help out there.

Mark W Heninger
(heninger) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/22/2006 08:51:03 MST Print View

Yes, I'd be happy to support this.

I'd love to see it come to live as several useful things at once: a trail description (location, access, turn by turn), a gear list (what I took,why), a trip report (my experiences), trail collateral (Maps, GPS coordinates, permit links, Motion Based routes) and last of all photo repository.

That would make it really useful. I generally submit a trail report with most of these things, so a structured locale for this with an easy semi-structured UI for adding all of the above would just be very cool.

Count me in.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Re: re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/22/2006 09:22:56 MST Print View

There is a definite need for a definitive collection of this type of data. I tried out a free-trial to Trails.com but it was a little lacking as it was focused more on casual day-hikers than on backpackers.

I would happily provide loads of information regarding Glacier National Park as well as the trails of Northern Minnesota.

BPL has a strong gear focus and needs the "we actually get out and get after it" side of things covered as well.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: I'm in... on 11/22/2006 09:26:29 MST Print View

>Here's one I did for a trip to Oly NP this past summer (Quinault --> Elwha via skyline trail).



Tony: I was up at the Low Divide at the same time, with my brother and brother-in-law and their kids. Thanks for sharing the pix.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Searchable Online Trip Listing on 11/22/2006 10:07:12 MST Print View

In response to "so long as you don't need a long narrative":

The format would be to have a few standard entry fields so the information important to potential users of the trail/route is available. Required information would only include region, trip length, loop vs point to point, and trailhead. Some general description of the route would be necessary. This would be enough to make the information useful.

There would be optional information fields that might include elevation gain, maps, best season, permit and regulation information (like bear canister required or must camp in designated camps), web links to area (forest service/national park sites), directions to trailhead, other transportation information (especially for a point to point route), and possibly GPS coordinates (probabaly optionally included in the route description). No detailed description would be required, but as much information could be included as an individual wanted. Pictures could probably also be included.

Would there be any other information that would be helpful? I want to make the system easy to use so don't want to REQUIRE entering anything but the most essential information, but want to ALLOW as much information to be entered as would entice a reader to GO!

Edited by ksawchuk on 11/22/2006 10:08:44 MST.

Mike Maurer
(maurer) - F - M

Locale: Oregon
SoCal Coverage on 11/22/2006 10:09:24 MST Print View

Great Idea gang. I'd be happy to make specific notes each time I go out and share them with everyone. Perhaps the management team at BPL could establish a fixed format so there would always be cetain key info on each trip report, and so that there wouldn't be too many reports that have excess info. I live near the southern teminus of the PCT so I coud easily report on the first 200-300 miles of it, plus San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, and lots of So Cal stuff.

Mike Maurer

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: SoCal Coverage on 11/22/2006 11:55:01 MST Print View

I second Mike's concept of a format for our trail guide/reports. That way we make sure that all of the pertinent info is presented in a way that allows for comparisons and evaluations of the trip for appropriate levels of skill, experience and desired outcomes. I, too, have used Trails.com and found it wanting. Most of the time it merely serves to excerpt a trail description from a published trail book. Often these books have different audiences for and methodology in presenting a trail. Simply looking online for trail journal entries for a particular area often returns a more personal entry and not a real trail guide.
If we had a format then when we each venture out on a trail (or cross country trailess outing) we would have a means of recording what would be needed for such a database. Despite the oft expressed disdain for GPS use on this site, it would seem worthwhile to include GPS waypoints as well in such trail guides.

Edited by ksawchuk on 11/22/2006 15:19:18 MST.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/22/2006 12:55:44 MST Print View

A couple of questions that need answers. Is this only available to members? Is this a separate BPL service? Some people might not provide a report if they felt it was available to the whole world.

Nikolas Andersen
(nsandersen) - MLife
Good idea! on 11/22/2006 12:56:16 MST Print View

Would be happy to add pictures and words from Scotland & Wales, hopefully soon Lappland and maybe the Faeroe Islands with time!

Format and some sort of map (or map sketches) would indeed be good.

Edited by nsandersen on 11/22/2006 13:03:51 MST.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Re: Searchable Online Trip Listing on 11/22/2006 13:00:41 MST Print View

Perhaps you could partner with LocalHikes.com - he's already got a great format that sounds like it would meet the needs of the others who have posted replies to this. One change that we might want to request of LocalHikes.com (which consists mostly of dayhikes) would be to add a field that describes the hike as "Overnight" or "Day".

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: SoCal Coverage on 11/22/2006 13:54:28 MST Print View

I also agree with Mike's suggestion. Maybe include a link to separate trip reporst so some people can quickly scan a uniform format, while others can dig deeper and take advantage of a full report and photos.