Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hiking in My Mind

Don't you just love topographic maps?  I am planning a trip later this fall, and one of the first steps is to study the map of the potential area.  In this case, I have a very detailed map of where I am likely going - subject to change based on a last minute weather forecast, since this particular area can have short periods of severe weather even as early as September.

But I've had fun so far imagining this particular trip - if and when it happens - by looking at the topo map.  It is always exciting to study the topography of places one has not been ever or in a very long time, and try to imagine from the map what the hike would be like.  Wow - that part of the trail looks like a really steep downhill!  I can imagine how my knees will feel.  What about there - is that a cliff?  Better avoid that!  Look at that remote stream or pond.  Might that be a good spot to view wildlife?  But if I can get there, I'd better avoid the shortest looking route, as it is likely to be boggy.  I wonder how long it would take to bushwhack it?  And what about that summit with no trail leading to it?  Would that be worth a bushwhack?  Naw, it looks too steep through there, and there are likely to be dead falls and big rocks.  Hey - that should be a great spot for lunch with great views!  I wonder if I can make it there on day 3 for a lunch spot?  How long is this total hike going to be, anyway?  30 miles, maybe?  Maybe a little more?  I bet if I do that detour for a mile or so, leaving the main trail and doubling back on that other trail, that I will have some great views, if I interpret the map correctly.  And how about that waterfall?  I wonder what that is like?

Hiking in my mind, using a good topo map, is a lot of fun.  It is like imaging the trip prior to doing, and anticipating the fun I hope to have while there - without the aches and pains, bug bites, and chance of cold or wet weather.  It is well worth the price of the map!


  1. You get to walk it two times. : )

    My dad used to do that with maps and then drive to the places. He studied maps and could tell you how to get anywhere!!

  2. That is cool about your dad - it is a nice skill to have.