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2016/04/24

Log 2016042401

By consulting my records and several section map & guides from the Buckeye Trail Association, I have determined that based on the best information at hand, that the Sinking Spring Section, Points 12 - 15 (September 2013 map & guide) have the lengthiest off-road portion between public roads at 6.85 miles.  This is in Pike and Highland Counties.

The lengthiest off portion on The Wilderness Loop between public roads is on the Stockport Section (January 2013 map & guide), between Points 01 - 03 at 5.23 miles.  This in Noble and Morgan Counties.

I've always wanted to create a spread sheet, listing from most to least, the length that the Buckeye Trail is on a highway.  OH-781 & OH-348 in combination on the Shawnee Section in Adams County come in at 3.6 miles. It's is an unusual highway length for the on-road trail.  And in all my experience working with distance trails in Ohio, that's an unusual length.  Shawnee Section is better known for it's off-road trail.  But considering where this highway portion is, I can usually reverse engineer the reason and state that the area is so rural, and the routing of the local roads would add prohibitive mileage to the section and it's maintenance crew to the end that routing on the highway emerged as the best choice under the circumstances.

I'm not familiar with these highways, but I am with the area.  By the map and judging what's around it, they're likely to be lightly traveled.  I know OH-125 from the Portsmouth of Scioto County area to the Shawnee State Park is a breeze.

The longest portion of on-road highway routing on The Wilderness Loop is on OH-537 on the Road Fork Section in Monroe County at 1.6 miles long.  There's probably more traffic here than there is on OH-781 & OH - 348.  OH-537 here tends to curve.

The most dangerous highway on the BT is 0.7mi of US-23 on the Scioto Trail Section in Ross and Pike Counties.  It's a 55MPH, 4 lane highway with a 3ft painted center median.  From what I've seen, it's "crossable" most of the time.  But sometimes, you could be playing "Frogger" with heavy aggressive traffic.  It's not the kind of traffic that slows down.  Instead, it's the 55MPH relentless heavy traffic.

Anything about heavy traffic on US-250 on the Norwalk Section in Huron County and crossing US-422 on the Burton Section in Geauga County has been obsolete since the Ohio Turnpike Commission raised it's speed limit from 65 to 70 MPH.  Before, traffic was using those US Highways to avoid paying tolls.  Now the new speed limit on the turnpike has effectively convinced those motorists that the faster time is worth it and it has thus calmed US-250 and US-422.

Before the increase, it worked like this...  US-250 from the industrial City of Sandusky connected to US-30 in Wooster of Wayne County. Then US-30 travels east to the Pittsburgh area.

And US-422 connects with PA-28 in Kettering, Pennsylvania and it goes toward Pittsburgh.

Either way, it's 55 - 60MPH almost the whole way.


2016/04/23

Log 2016042302

On the Belle Valley Section of the Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail, the longest stretch of off-road surface between public roads is 3.27mi in Salt Fork SP between Points 05 - 06 on the March 2011 map & guide.

Log 2016042301

The off-road longest stretch of the Road Fork - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail without a road is between OH-260 & T410 at 2.7 miles. This area is between Points 26 - 28 of the section's July 2011 map & guide.

Log 2016042301

At 4.24mi, the longest portion of off-road trail between a public roads on the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail is between Points 05 - 06 on it's October 2010 map.  It's also the section's most advanced area.

I began a project today and I started with the Burton Section.  Weeks ago, a question was posed on the Buckeye Trail Association's Facebook group asking "what is the longest stretch of off-road trail without encountering a road."  At the time, my data wasn't set up to answer it and a few of us could only render guesses and speculation.  Right now, this is not a good time for a project like this.  But you know, sometimes you have to stop being immersed in what you want and become a team player.  It's not all about me and I should do something for them.

It seems like it is an Appalachian Trail like question.  And considering that the people that hike there are exactly what The Wilderness Loop is designed for.  At this moment, Whipple's 4.24mi is a contender for the #1 spot.  But I've heard that the off-road end of the Scioto Trail Section might be longer?

If not it isn't, it still might be #1 on The Wilderness Loop?

2016/04/22

Log 2016042201

With a scanner, I haven't perfected the use of the Optical Character Reader (OCR). If I did, I could back-up my paper map and guides to a JPEG (.jpg) format image file. At that point, the OCR would detect the words on the page and I'd be able to select, highlight, copy, then paste them into the properties of various parts of the properties of my GPS data. That way when I uploaded it to my hand GPS, or smartphone, I'd have the text there instead. But for now, my Garmin eTrex 20 hand GPS won't read more than a line or so of the properties text. However, my smartphone's mapping app will read everything. I just thought about it... since I haven't mastered the OCR, I could scan the image, then use Microsoft Paint to crop the text and save it to a new file. After the cropping is done, I could add them as an image overlay and position them in the right spots and my smartphone app should pick up on those. Personally, I would never distance hike without paper resources. So for me, it's just that when I'm mapping at home, sometimes I have to consult the paper map and guides and I'd rather not if I don't have to.

State park and forest maps often come in the Portable Document File (PDF) format. Well, the only thing that Google Earth will overlay is a JPEG (.jpg) image. When you want to overlay your PDF map, it needs to be converted. So far, I've been using the web converter at http://pdf2jpg.net. It's best that after you convert, that you open it into something like Microsoft Paint, crop that one document it into several smaller chunks. That will make it easier to reposition, rotate and re-size in Google Earth. Smaller images will allow you to focus on detail in a smaller area as you try to match the curves in the local roads. With some maps, that's futile. Seldom do I ever get them perfect. And maps from the Ohio Department of Natural Resource - Division of Parks are hopeless. But if they're in sync, or somewhat, you might be able to trace a track (by drawing a "path") that you could upload to a GPS enabled device in the event that the various downloading communities don't have a file for it. About ODNR - Parks, an overlay of their maps might be good for making placemarks/ waypoints for locations such as "disc golf" and "shower houses." That might be good for organizational prep if the park had to be scouted for opportunities in person.

2016/04/21

Log 2016042101

Two days ago, I completed an inspection of the Whipple Section, Points 06 - 05.  This is usually where the worst damage is and I'm beginning to believe that the winter really took it easy on us.  Humorously, I'm also beginning to wonder if the BTA's Whipple Work Weekend, my crew and I did it too good last year?

Then I drove through some more of the section's public parking areas and either measured their lengths, or counted their capacities in full size quad cab trucks.  I estimate that the section can park about 170 vehicles.  That's a necessary to know because I believe that The Wilderness Loop needs an event.  And I did my counts by parking area, so it could be broken down locally.  My data only includes public parking and right of ways that I know the width of, generally at the off-road trail, or along the on-road.

2016/04/17

Log 2016041701

I geotagged 4 fords on Tittle Run Rd/ T43 in Independence Township of Washington County.  The road was a little rough on my Chevy HHR.  But on my way to check the name of a location that's in the Whipple Section's guide, I noticed a car that was parked near the pond at County Road 9 and Archer's Fork Road/ C14.  It was nice to know that somebody was hiking the section today.  And they weren't parked on the hill, but in a spot next to the road on federal property.  That might mean that they've read my Personal Section Supervisor's Page, which details public parking parking like that.  Then again, it could just be a coincidence?  All in all, I clocked in about 4 volunteer hours today.

2016/04/16

Log 2016041602

This is a link to the National Forest Service's page for the volunteer camper host opportunity at the Leith Run Recreation Area in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest.  Off the top of my head, it's about 20 miles east of Marietta in Washington County.  At this time, they are still looking for someone to fill this volunteer position.

Log 2016041601

I've been a hiker on 5 different distance trails. And what I can tell you is that in doing business with them, they are all different. Their trails, the land and the people surrounding them all make for unique circumstances. Their organizations in the beginning may have taken a few pages from AT in the past, but largely in part, they are all foreign to each other. Some of them have been operating and evolving on their own for decades.

2016/04/15

Log 2016041501

I finished the 6mi corridor polygon for the Stockport Section - Buckeye/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail and it took about 8 manhours to complete.  That's it.  The set for the sections that are attached to The Wilderness Loop are complete.  I might be the guinea pig in testing more enhanced trail promotion techniques.

2016/04/13

Log 2016041301

The 6 & 8 mile corridor polygon that I made for the Belle Valley Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail took over 13 hours.  It has multiple applications, but I made it because it's on The Wilderness Loop and it's apart of my preparation for some upcoming trail promotion.  I believe that promoting for Whipple in the Parkersburg - Marietta - Vienna Metropolitan Area may have some collateral effects.  While I think the possibility of it bearing effects on the Belle Valley Section are low, it's still a possibility and I'm prepared now.  I'll start on the corridor polygon for the Stockport Section tomorrow and that will make it the fourth and last one that I can see myself making in the foreseeable future.

2016/04/10

Log 2016041001

My Garmin eTrex 20 is bricked.  Either on batteries or when connected to my computer via USB, the Garmin logo comes up, but it does not proceed to load any of the maps.  It won't even hard reset.  But that's fine because I have a back-up unit.  It's a brand new eTrex 20 that for some reason, I found my previous one and I couldn't take the new one back to the store.

Well, before it totally bricked, I was able to access it's internal memory and I got a waypoint for 1 of 3 primitive fords on Tittle Run Rd/ Twp Hwy 19, which is on the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail/ North Country Temporary Connector.  That means that I'm 2 surface stream waypoints shy of a complete set.  The trouble is that I should already have those other two ford waypoints.  Last year, I'm certain that I collected waypoints for all 3.  So why is there only one???

The only answer that I could come up with was that I only had my laptop at the time.  And the waypoints were uploaded to it's Google Earth application.  When I finally got back to my oversized desktop computer, I must have backed up it's Google Earth data, then imported that to the laptop and deleted it's original file.

Anyways, I completed making placemarks for items mentioned in the Whipple Section's guide.  Tomorrow, I'll probably adjust it's 8mi polygon down to a 6mi and that will match what I've already done for the Road Fork Section.  The next step will be to create these zones for the Belle Valley and Stockport Sections entirely considering that part of them are on The Wilderness Loop.  When we go into trail promotion, I want to be prepared. If we get offers for camp hosts, I'll want to know right a way if they're in range.  But I've also got to expand that zone as much as I can possibly get away with.

2016/04/07

Log 2016040702

Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail, Points 04 & 05 (off-road) in Lawrence Township of Washington County was inspected yesterday.  It has about 3 issues, but nothing that really impedes the hiker.  Otherwise, either the winter went easy on us there, or this really is an easier area to maintain.  For the hiker, these are the easiest points on the section because they're only about 1.7mi apart and if they travel CCW, then it's mostly downhill all the way.  This is good because if you park at Pt. 04, do a CCW hike to Pt. 06, then walk Eb on Brooks Rd/ T94, then Sb on Bean Ridge Rd/ T94, then at the BT/ NCT, travel CCW on the short points and that's the best way to loop that area and it's noted on my Section Supervisor's Personal Page.

Log 2016040701

I just purchased a new 48cc MegaMotors Black Bicycle Engine Kit - 2 stroke from BikeBerry.com.  This is for both hiking and maintenance.  It means that I'm going to be able to put about 4 extra miles down trail (in one direction) on the hike and it will probably double my mileage on any given maintenance day.  It's also likely to shave off some of the mileage my car will accumulate annually.  I might even have studded tires for the winter for this bike?

On the Buckeye Trail, 98% of its off road is on government reservations.  What's actually permitted on those surfaces depends on the agency that owns them.  Can you cover the BT with a different mode?  Yes.  But if you strive for the Circuit Hike Patch, be sure that you clear it with the program coordinator first.  This patch can be the "least common denominator" if it's what you seek.

That's the best explanation that I give.  And I knew that I had to cover it today since I mentioned putting a motor on my bicycle.  There are signs in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest (The Wayne) that contradict this, but motors are forbidden on the Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail there.  But a motorized bike would only be used for looping since I'm almost always solo.

2016/04/05

Log 2016040501

Today, I reported on the BTA's Facebook group that I did an on-road inspection on the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail/ North Country Trail Connector from Points 18 to 08 in the CCW direction.  Well, I found some extra time and did Points 24 through 18. The reason why I don't do 07 - 08 is because one of the roads is rated for 4WD only on the National Forest Service's map. And I drive between Points 06 - 07 often to get to the off-road trail's west terminator.  With an on-road inspection, I'm monitoring the condition of its painted navigational blazes.

Inspections are run at least once annually. But because of the off-road's maintenance, last year, it was twice that. I'm pleased to report that Whipple Section's gravel roads were generally in good shape.

2016/04/04

Log 2016040401

Picasa Web Albums is needed to host geotagged pictures from the Internet.  I'm glad that I tried it.  It generated a KML file with each geotag's embedded global coordinates.  And that's great because I plan on sharing these generated KML files with others.  Otherwise, if I hosted them from one of my computers, should I share that file, their mapping software would try to located the photo (at the specified location, but on their computer), Google Earth would return a white box with red "X's" in them (image file not found).

So I took the liberty of getting them named in Google Earth.  That was something that I wasn't able to do in Picasa Web Albums because I didn't have the photo thumbnails overlaid with the Buckeye Trail's tracks there.  Most of Whipple's on-road intersection pictures are missing.  I had KML placemarks for when I uploaded them from Picasa's desktop application last time.  But I'm lost as to where they went?  The Robot had a fresh Windows re-install in November.  So if for some reason, they were on the desktop application only... they're gone now.  But I can't see how that is.  Being a computer guy, I know that those photos must have had a physical location somewhere.  107 geotagged maintenance photos of Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail's apertures and intersections are just gone.

2016/04/01

Log 2016040102

A message came across my Facebook timeline today from the U.S. Forest Service-Wayne National Forest stating that the Washington County Chapter of the Ohio Horseman's Council is adding about 3 miles on to the Kinderhook Trail.  But at this point, I'm not sure where?

Log 2016040101

Yesterday, I joined the new Facebook Group for the American Discovery Trail.  I would love to see pictures for the ADT's intersections with the Triple Crown (Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest Trails).  And I'd like to know more about those three wheeled strollers that I've been seeing.  But I'm really there to assist their adventurist with giving them some Ohio data and "pointers."

I now have GPS tracks for the American Discovery Trail (ADT) in Ohio & Kentucky, it's by-passes and one spur.  The Buckeye Trail (BT) is off-road on a variety of surfaces and in some places, as far as the permitted mode of travel is concerned, they can be at the mercy of the park district.  About 90% of the BT's off-road surfaces occur within government reservations.  However, the BT by the nature of it's establishment is a "hiking route."  The ADT on the other hand is more "multi mode."  That's why they need bypasses.

But many of those who hike or volunteer on the BT can tell you where it and the North Country Trail (NCT) intersect.  They can do so with the ADT intersection in Cincinnati.  But they're sometimes foggy about where the SE intersection is.  Where the NCT is reliant on the BT's maps when their concurrent, for it's own purposes, the ADT produces its own map and guide, even when their concurrent.

With the addition of their spurs, this might be confusing.  I don't know of any ADT support between Belpre of Washington County and Cincinnati of Hamilton County.  And I can't recall if ADT's map and guide has ever being submitted to the 9 concurrent BT section supervisors?  If they haven't, they might not know what's going on.  And that's why I'm not sure if BT's Facebook Group will know what's going on.

For an ADT traveler on BT concurrent sections, the best way to get support would probably be on their Facebook Group.  But here's the thing.  It's something a local custom around here that anytime that one a distance trail wants to run concurrent with a second distance trail, that the first one will only be there for ROUTING ONLY.  Some of the administrative and nearly all of the maintenance (for instance) is the domain of the primary agency.  The problem is how ADT weaves in and out of the BT on those by-passes.  With the exception of the Shawnee By-Pass, those are not a part of the BT.

On the BT, they have map and guide combination documents.  It's like being on a limited access toll road.  And instead of having exit numbers based on mile markers, this is one of those roads where they go 1, 2, 3 and so on regardless of the distance between them.  Often times, locations are expressed as being something like "New Straitsville Section, Pt. 13."  ADT mentions the section names, but does not use the BT's point system.  BT has explored going to a mile marker system and so far it's been unpopular and perhaps difficult to implement as of yet (communication with ADT adventurist could change that).  Meanwhile, the guides have mileages, but probably not as frequent as the ADT's.  So, their adventurist and the BT community might have some communication problems and confusion over the admin and maintenance of those by-pass routes.  I think that ADT should save themselves some manpower and get out of the business of mapping on concurrent distance trails... leave it up to those agencies.  ADT should only produce materials for the bypasses and all other areas beyond the BT.