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Online Backpack Trip Listing
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David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/22/2006 14:35:26 MST Print View

This is an idea that has merit. I'd probably contribute a bit of information.

For many of my trips, the most useful information would have been on getting to and from the trailhead. Pointers to shuttle and taxi services for various places would be as valuable as actual trip reports.

Yes, you could rent a car. I'm kind of allergic to leaving cars at trailheads anymore. The story about the guy who is being hit for $20/day because his rental car is trapped in the upper Hoh River (in the Olympics) because the road is washed out is yet another deterrent. And most rental car companies aren't cool with taking their vehicles on the kinds of roads that get you to interesting hiking.

Also, if you are traveling with more stuff than just what you'd carry hiking, pointers to where you can stash gear while on the walk would be very cool. (Free tidbit: I know there are lockers available at the Denali Park Ranger Station, and that's a lot more secure than the bear closet at the nearby hiker campground).

I've a couple of questions: first, how are you going to maintain any kind of consistency in trip descriptions? (One person's easy trip might be insanely challenging and dangerous for another, and less capable, less experienced hikers by definition have the least ability to judge their relative abilities) Second, will there be some kind of template for describing trips, or will it be a free-form system? Third, can more than one person submit the same trip or should there be some framework where any giving "hike" can have multiple contributors?

Edited by david_bonn on 11/22/2006 14:40:40 MST.

Scott Ashdown
(waterloggedwellies) - F

Locale: United Kingdom
Re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/22/2006 14:43:58 MST Print View

This is a great idea and certainly something I would use. Anything that helps the sites users to exchange information and pass on experiences is welcomed. So yes please!!!

Miles Barger
(milesbarger) - F - M

Locale: West Virginia
Wonderful Idea on 11/22/2006 15:25:36 MST Print View

This is a wonderful idea. I've often looked for a database of this sort, especially for areas of the country that have sparse coverage of hiking opportunities for more "serious" backpackers, i.e. Kentucky.

I would love to help. I could post information from Kentucky, Tennessee, and the surrounding area, as well as Yellowstone, where I worked for three months.

Would this section be simply a list of posts only editable by the creator? I think that a wiki-ish format could be very useful for this kind of database, i.e. information could be built up from the experiences of and edited by any member who has made the same trip.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/22/2006 15:25:42 MST Print View

Thanks for your comments Eric. None of those decisions have been made yet. This is still very preliminary, but there does seem to be interest. I envision it as intrinsic to the BPL subscription (ie no separate fee).

As to whether it would be available to the public I'd say probably subscribers only at this point. Perhaps non-subscribers could access a general listing without details so the database might encourage them to join. I'll leave that question to Ryan.

As to David's questions: "I've a couple of questions: first, how are you going to maintain any kind of consistency in trip descriptions?"

I think the distance/elevation data would let a person decide how many days a trip should take.

"Second, will there be some kind of template for describing trips, or will it be a free-form system?"

As described in an earlier post, there would be required entry fields for some of the data, optional fields for other data, and a narrative section for as short/long of description as needed. We would need uniform input for some of the data so it could be searched by criteria. However I don't want to make it a hassle to enter trips. There's a balance involved--get enough information to be useful, not require so much it doesn't get used.

" Third, can more than one person submit the same trip or should there be some framework where any giving "hike" can have multiple contributors?"

I like Miles' idea of an open system where trips can be edited by anyone who has done the trip--perhaps subject to the approval of the original author. I'd have to defer to Ryan on what is technically possible.

It probably doesn't make sense to have 6 John Muir trail or 5 Colorado trail reports (plus these trails as well as the PCT/AT have pretty good guide books available anyhow).

Edited by ksawchuk on 11/22/2006 15:36:37 MST.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Searchable Online Trip Listing on 11/22/2006 15:51:23 MST Print View

Thanks for Kevin Babione pointing me to It's a good format for what they do. I've reviewed a few of the hikes in my local area that I am familiar with. They are all day hikes with fairly short distances. I didn't see any trips of a suitable distance or in a suitable area (ie no camping) for backpacking. They don't seem to cover any of the high mountain areas of California.

The format is OK for what they do, but I'd like to be able to search by area, trip length, elevation gain among other criteria. This would allow me to quickly screen for a "30-50 mile loop trip in the Olympic mountains" (or at least Washington) as well as to look for "all >100 mile loop trips in the US". Perhaps, with Nikolas Andersen's recent offer to review Scotland, Wales, and Lappland perhaps I could eventually find "a 25 mile point to point.....anywhere in the world!!"

Edited by ksawchuk on 11/22/2006 15:52:07 MST.

Siegmund Beimfohr
(SigBeimfohr) - M
Re: Re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/22/2006 16:07:06 MST Print View

As one who would like to take a trip in the Sierras next year (a totally unfamiliar area as well as terrain I've never experienced), the prospect of getting specific trip info is exciting.
I think that a structured format would be essential to successful presentation and searchability. If the key data were available on a single initial trip report page, other more extensive detail, including pictures, could be linked for those desiring that level of information. This would streamline our exploration process, make printing of these "one page" summaries efficient for future review.
The inclusion of lat/lon or UTM cordinates for key points (trailheads, trail intersections, and other points of interest) would facilitate trip preparation for those of us who use computer mapping software to custom-print our topos. Although we don't need maps ala Backpacker magazine, the key points coupled with a general description of the trail and route would be most helpful.
Specific directions to the trailhead, if obscure, could be one of those "linked" details. Also permit, elevation, weather/seasonal info, local transportation, etc.
Needs to be easy for the reporter but specific and detailed enough to allow route planning by one who hasn't hiked the area before.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/23/2006 14:28:17 MST Print View

I like the idea of organizing the forum primarily by region but being able to query other data as well. I'm not sure what software is out there to do that, but it would be nice if you could enter in some specific data after your text. For example, you could mention a possible trip and then enter in mileage, best season, etc. The Washington Trail Association does this, although the choices are more limited (lots of check boxes).

Speaking of which, one of the things that should be mentioned (perhaps as a "sticky" post) are the existing sites for a particular region. For example, Washington state is blessed with a couple great web sites, WTA and . WTA has a lot of posts; they tend to be about day hikes (although you will find a few backpack trips) and it thus most useful for determining trail conditions (snow, blowdowns, etc.). The information found there is often more informative than that found at the ranger station. NW is more forum based, so you will find lengthier discussions there (I would recommend that site if you wanted to plan a big trip to the Northwest).

Edited by rossbleakney on 11/23/2006 14:29:47 MST.

Mary Simpson
(maryphyl) - F
AZ on 11/24/2006 20:23:17 MST Print View

There is a fellow here in Arizona who has been working on just such an idea for a number of years. See if you like the way his site is set up--some ideas might be useful.

I can help with Grand Canyon hikes.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Online Searchable Trip LIst on 11/24/2006 21:58:58 MST Print View

I REALLY like the map feature--it makes it easy to search if you're "just visiting" a specific area and want to throw in a quick trip and not "heading to a destination for a hike". We'll have to see if we can pinpoint each hike on some sort of overview map. This seems like a critical feature now that I've seen it.

Otherwise it doesn't seem searchable except by region. I think it would be very nice to be able to search for a specific trip by region as well as distance, elevation gain, and other features.

I'd like a database of multiple "trophy" trips across the country ranging from 20-30 miles (a weekend) to ?? up to 500 miles or more. I 'd like to focus on backpack trips (as opposed to hiking) and preferably the cream of local areas. This would encourage us to get out to different areas.

Edited by ksawchuk on 11/24/2006 22:42:31 MST.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Online Searchable Trip LIst on 11/25/2006 14:11:52 MST Print View

Hey Kevin,
The online services that are available att are just not user friendly for finding a trail the length you want to go.
Here are a few recommendations I would love to see.
A great help to the map would be if it had mapped regions in each state that you could click to view a close up of a map of the different trails in that region. To me this would be the best option. Just click on a region for a map with the trails and distance, click on that trail and it would take you to the info.
Having a distance w/ location (region) search would be the next best option.

In order to avoid confusion, there could also be trails off of thru-trails. Lets say you wanted to hike a loop or section of the JMT. Instead of having to searching for the numerous trails that would over lap the area, you could just click on the JMT and the trails inputted that connect from it would come up.

This would be a great help if someone wants to do a section or make up there own loops or hike several sections at once of a trail, but not always wanting to stay on the main trail.
I find that when I do a hike like this on my own, I am usually in the Middle of Butt F Nowhere. I like it, but being able to know what trails were a little more used would be nice. Not many newbies will ever venture off but the most crowded of trails because of this.

Alan Lindsley, AIA, IESNA
( - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 11/26/2006 15:21:58 MST Print View

I think that an online resource throught BPL would be great. I do a lot of climbing trips and use online forums a lot for "beta" on new areas to make trip planning easier. I have lot's of experience in the Trinity Alps, Northern and Southern Sierras. I would be happy to help in any way I can.

Alan Lindsley

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
contributions on 12/05/2006 09:59:37 MST Print View

I would most certainly contribute trips if anyone was interested in some Canadian content.

Would this be a section available to paid members only or would it be available to everyone?

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Online Searchable Trip LIst on 12/11/2006 22:17:30 MST Print View


Please give us updates as you make progress on this endeavor.

I would suggest that whatever the format turns out to be, consider allowing space for those who can contribute more sophisticated content to do so, while not shutting out anyone who wants to share. Even a little info. on a jewel of a trek is welcome by me regardless of whether it comes with all "critical" elevation info. or a gallery of photos. Obviously an off-trail trip is going to require way more info., but I would love to be able to query this site when I zero in on a geographical region before picking the route. I would weigh a members input here, especially if I could shoot them a question, over any author or other source.

Thanks for your efforts!

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Online Searchable Trip LIst on 12/11/2006 23:10:39 MST Print View

It sounds like it's a go, but the ball is in Ryan's (very busy) court. I'll post updates as they occur.

Part of the design is to make the "required" data comprehensive enough to make the trip useable, but allow for much more data for those who want to give it.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Online Searchable Trip LIst on 03/26/2007 08:36:17 MDT Print View

Any updates with the Trip database???

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Online Searchable Trip LIst on 03/26/2007 09:23:23 MDT Print View

I would be glad to contribute information on walks in Japan and would love to see information on walks around the world, not just for the US.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Online Searchable Trip LIst on 03/26/2007 09:38:59 MDT Print View

I just emailed Ryan about this issue two weeks ago and he has someone working on it and I have sent that person the links/information on what I envision. Ryan seems to think it will be functioning by summer--but I know he has a lot going on. I will keep pushing this, but the technical details and build are not something I can contribute to or push. I really hope it happens.

Maybe we could get you on a different trail for your honeymoon this summer! :)

Mark Solberg
(GGEshark) - F

Locale: along Mosquito Creek
Hikipedia - free online trip reports on 05/13/2007 10:38:02 MDT Print View

One format that is already up and running is :

The database is searchable by location, length of trail, difficulty, elevation gain, and other parameters.

Hikipedia costs nothing to use - They just ask you to consider sharing your hiking experience with other hikers using Hikipedia. Information you submit is explicitly placed in the public domain to make sure your contributions will benefit the hiking community without any legal restrictions.

BackpackingLight may come up with a format that works even better, but until then Hikipedia is a FREE database that has many trails reviewed already, and is seeeking input from the hiking community right now.

Edited by GGEshark on 05/13/2007 10:40:53 MDT.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Hikipedia - free online trip reports on 05/13/2007 12:20:50 MDT Print View

An interesting format and in the ballpark of what I had in mind. It must be new because I searched for trails within 250 miles of Sacramento greater than 10 miles in length and found only one (1) trail! Ditto for San Francisco (and they were different trails and should have shown up on each others search because Sacramento and SF are only 60 miles apart--I know both trails). It seems heavy on dayhikes and I'm more interested in long distance (>30-50 mile) trails/loops.

Douglas Durham
(djdurham) - MLife
Re: Online Backpack Trip Listing on 05/13/2007 12:27:38 MDT Print View

I would be very interested. I would be happy to post trips. Mainly in the Dolly Sods area of West Virginia.
Douglas Durham