Search This Blog


High and Low Points: ADT - WV

The lowest point on the American Discovery Trail in the State of West Virginia is on the South Bank of the North Branch Potomac River at 541ft above sea level.  And the highest point is on the side of Cabin Mountain in the Dolly Sodds Wilderness of the Monongahela National Forest at 4,089ft above sea level.


ADT - Colorado Low & High Points

I just cleaned up my American Discovery Trail (ADT) - Colorado tracks enough to write about it's low and high points.

Low: 3447 - the CO/ NE State Line

High: 13296 - Argentine Pass (the highest point on the ADT)


It's Done (ADT Camping/ Lodging Data)

I've been mapping camping/ lodging locations along the American Discovery Trail for at least the last 18 days straight.  A couple of those were 24 hour marathons.  It took every spare moment that I had.  And what you might want to know is that I have a little more time than most people.  I'm also somewhat advanced at this.

I have racked my brain out looking for verifiable campsites and lodging. There's no doubt about it... On paper (or a computer monitor), Western Kansas is the least supported way to go.  That statement only speaks on the hiking end of thing.  The cyclists and maybe the equestrians could get on with it better there (they travel longer distances in a single day)?


Dispersed Camp Permitted 05/23/2017

Dispersed camping is permitted on Nebraska state wildlife and fishing lands, except fish hatcheries which require permission as of 05/23/2017.  Pursuant to:




The Katy Trail

I've been mapping camping/ lodging on distance trails for a long time.  The Katy Trail's "Trip Planner" is remarkable.  I was thinking that one could be done with some webpages and an in-site Google Search widget.  But this is more complicated.  I'd say that somebody programmed some kind of database.  It might be a basic looking site as of this date, but this a marvel to me.  Between the campgrounds and lodging, it picked up a lot that I originally missed.  And, I'm not known for being sloppy about these things.

It turns out that I didn't loose all my work when Google Earth crashed earlier.  I only lost half.  I did the state park overlays and wildlife management campsites quickly.  Then I got American Discovery Trail (ADT) - Nevada and Utah's state park campgrounds, grocers and post offices mapped.  At this point, I don't think there's much more I can throw at it. Later on, I'll run a comparison with data from

Right now, I don't know if I've nullified the water resupply issues in the ADT's deserts.  And the reason that is is that I have no idea what National Forest Service campgrounds are Class A?  Another problem is that a document needs to be drawn up detailing the mileages, resupply and zero days of an average thru hiker.

Record 05/22/2017-00

There are no national parks on the American Discovery Trail in Colorado, however; there are several other items that are administered by the National Park Service (NPS)


ADT - No State Forests & SITLA

Colorado has one state forest and it is not in hiking range of the American Discovery Trail.

Dispersed Camping is permitted on Utah State and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA).

Non-Hunting Access and Camping Prohibited

Non-hunting related activities and camping are prohibited on Colorado State Trust Lands according to  For those of you following, I'm just using my log to make records.

No State Forests - Maryland

There aren't any state forests along the American Discovery Trail - Maryland as of this date.

Dispersed Camping, Arches NP on the ADT

ADT people - Dispersed camping is usually only permitted on BLM lands and certain National Forests. If your unfamiliar with it, usually the regulations are that you can camp anywhere as long as it's 150ft from a road, trail, trail head, established campground or recreation area. I've heard the Pacific Northwest Trail going as high as 300ft.

I just went back through my NFS data. Their statements on their website are confusing. But being in Ohio and knowing the regulations here (Wayne National Forest), I had a basis for comparison. Nonetheless, the dispersed camping data has been corrected. We've got it a little better than i had thought.

Basically, like The Wayne, you've got other forests out there that permit dispersed camping almost "stem to stern." In my map, those forests are colored "green." Then you've got some that permit dispersed camping, but only in certain areas. They're colored "yellow." And then you've got one like the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri, where we only pass next to a little portion of them. This is an example of a forest that only permits it in certain areas and none of them are within a hiker's patience (a quantifiable distance) from from trail. Those areas are colored "red."

I'm at the point now where I'm the most concerned about water resupply in the deserts. With all this lodging and campgrounds stuff that I've been doing, I'm going to plot the grocers and post offices for them only. I wonder how close to one resupply a day could I get??? The American Discovery Trail - Nevada by-passes Arches National Park. By the map, they could have routed through there on existing road and trail. Why they didn't? Well, it could be soil, or geology, or trail logistics. And sometimes, distance trails are not judged based on the traffic that it's currently producing, but how much they think it could do? I'm going to be working on this all day. This blog is "Treeman's Adventures and Volunteerism." You could probably just search for "Treeman's Adventures" from a search engine and get here.


ADT Mapping Update - 05/19/2017

Additional materials from the Appalachian, Buckeye, Colorado, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest Trails may be needed in addition to the GPS data that I'm already accumulating.  They might have more campsite data, particularly in the way of camp shelters.

- Some of you might like to know that Folsom State Prison is just off of the American Discovery Trail - California.  The exit off trail at Folsom Auburn and Folsom Lake Rds.  Looks like the prison is about 1.3 miles off trail.

White River NF has what I'd call an unusual dispersed camping area.  From the ADT - Colorado, the hiker has to spur away from the trail to be on Georgia Pass/ South River Road/ Forest Road 355.  I wrote some unofficial spurs and made camping icons displaying when adventurist would be on that road.  The unofficial spurs were made out to about 2.15 miles.  The adventurist reaches this road usually well before then, but what I do at the desk is just theory.  But those adventurist... they're the application.

I got a shapefile on federal properties yesterday from  It's not as good as the BLM property parcel data that I got from their navigator and the State of Utah. was missing some private properties.  But it did give me some insight in to other areas, such as BLM in California, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation.  One site that I did not map was at Carson Lake in Nevada.  Apparently, it may still be in the midst of a superfund clean-up for mercury???  That was announced in 2004 and there were some articles about the State of Nevada taking it over.  But I can't find anything recent, or a name change.

As I've been mapping, I've been keeping a list of things to add.  That list got a little smaller today.  What's left is:

Continue to check counties for parks with camping

Add NPS overlays and add their campgrounds

Overlay Colorado, Utah and Nevada State Parks, Forests and Wildlife Management Areas

Check all states for conservation areas

Now, I might add to the list as the need arises, but this is pretty much where I'm at.  I wish I could tell you how many megabytes this thing is up to, but honestly, I won't know until I'm done with it.


County Fairs Along the ADT

I've been plotting the locations of county fairs on the Eastern and Central Region - North of the American Discovery Trail (ADT).  I can't guarantee they'll result in campsites, but the hikers might like having the information anyways just in case.  Now, as I'm doing these, I'm digging up more regular campsites in the process.  It just so happens that I'm coming across new data.

Many of the county fairs are not easy to locate.  Which gives me the idea that I've had with the Buckeye Trail, only different.  It's kind of technical, but if the up and coming ADT state committees had a GPS repository somehow, they might be able to catalog the location of areas that can't be found on the Internet.  When somebody wants that information, they search and click on their page.  It will have their name and possibly a logo.  The end user will scroll down and download what they want, but they'll have to come through the name and logo to get it.  It could be done for any and all points of interest with within reasonable distance from the trail for an equestrian, or cyclist.  If my numbers are right, that's 32mi corridor with the ADT running right up the center of it.

I never advocate stealth camping.  It's another phrase for "trespassing."  Some the hikers underestimate how quickly a property owner can go from congenial to hostile if this happens enough. Now mid-west distance trails might not be in any condition for it to happen, but they're growing and it's a matter of time.  It's said that the people in town... they talk.  And if that happens enough, there's the Farm Bureau.  Right now, it's a good time to judge the trails for what they could be.

I'm surprised by how much data I've accumulated so far.  I don't think it's going to look like much in the end.  But I'm getting more fatigued.  It's as if each passing day, I begin with less and less energy.


Seven Years of Mapping - The Learning Curve

In 2010, this predated the BTA GIS/ GPS Depository. So, there were no GPS tracks for the Buckeye Trail and this was before the popularity of end user submitted track websites like AllTrails or TrailLink. In the beginning, I think I somehow figured out a way to track it's roads only. When I was preparing for my transcontinental hike in 2011, it didn't have maps for everywhere. Besides, I wanted to get a track and waypoints on my GPS. It took a lot of work. I didn't know how to merge trail back then. It was only after my hike failed and I got back to working with the Buckeye Trail's stuff, I figured out it's precise methodology by months of experimenting. GPX, KML/ KMZ are all based on the XML language. XML is a website language that is related to basic HTML. I know some HTML. You can plot it out on a flow chart. Only that with other programming, they have if/then/else statements, or contingencies and loops. HTML is more like a straight line of sequences that has one beginning and one end. I've never written a sub-routine into HTML before. That would seem to suggest that each track has a specific beginning and an end as written in the language. And that it does. My Garmin eTrex 20 hand GPS does not take well to raw GIS tracks. There's thousands of them on any given distance trail and my "track manager" can only show about 250. The track lengths start at about 29ft long. The track manager orders tracks by distance, but it's too confusing to use like that.

Anyways, there's not telling what order the tracks were recorded in? That's unless you break them down into sections and then number them all. In Google Earth, there's a track listing in the left window pane. But you can't use that, it's what's mixing up the order. So the procedure that I came up with was to start by clicking on a terminating track and labeling it by section. When done, I'd go back over it and number the tracks starting with "00." One thing learned along the way if that if your going to number something on GPS's or in Google Earth, all single digit numbers must have a preceding zero. And all computer's that I know of start numbering at zero. I've done some kind of GPS mapping on the following distance trails: Buckeye North Country American Discovery International Appalachian Trail - Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Maine Trans Canada Appalachian Long Finger Lakes That probably qualifies as an extensive background.

Campgrounds and Overlays for ADT - WV Complete and More

The overlays and campgrounds are done for the American Discovery Trail - West Virginia.  There's one questionable place that I'm unable to get a location for and that is Van Myra Campground in Mineral County.  I'm not sure that I understand what this reservation is, but it seems like it's a picnicking area only now?  A historical document of a farmer in "Dry Run Hollow" depicts that he moved from a property next to it and mentions this area.

I found Dry Run Road in Mineral County, but the structures on the properties didn't match the county's description.  If it is a picnicking area, it might still have a potable water well?  And that still might be of use, pending that the reservation is in range.

"Range" is a term that I use to determine the hiker's patience, or how far they're willing to go off trail to reach an amenity?

I posted on the ADT's Facebook group asking any previous multi-day+ hikers if they've ever had an overnight at an RV park in Kansas or Nebraska?  In Kansas, these types of establishments are the are fairly common, where conventional "campgrounds" are in short supply.

One thing that this project could use are the location of post offices, particularly in the desert areas.  Shipping resupply might be expensive, but those might as well be resupply points and from what I know of Ohio, they can still be in the smallest of towns (even unincorporated ones).  On the Appalachian Trail, a hiker can receive a bounce package, or mail drop on General Delivery/ first class shipping.  But that's because there are thousands, if not millions of them coming through every year.  Those towns have an economy built on them.

Under ordinary circumstances, if somebody doesn't live in that zip code, or have a PO Box, then they can't ship on General Delivery.  It has to be either "Priority Mail Hold for Pickup," or "Express Mail Hold for Pick-up."  On a trail with low numbers, even if somebody from a state committee showed up in every post office and got them to accept general delivery, there's probably not enough hikers annually for them to get use to it.  And I think General Delivery could cause a problem when a package was sent there first class and the post master didn't recognize who it was for that day and shipped it back.

However, there could be a solution to this.  Post Offices have community cork boards.  And if an ADT flier were to posted to one where general delivery was arranged, in some places it might not do much for trail promotion, but it might remind the postmaster even if the trail has low numbers?  And there might be something that we generally don't know about the AT's mail drops and that is what if, with all of their support, could somebody have been donating the annual fees for PO Boxes at all those post offices???  There's could be at least $1200 a year in those?

A couple days ago, I was looking for more BLM property polygons.  I have Utah and Nevada so far and I think California is about all I'm going to get out of it.  That's because I'm not seeing anything for surface parcels east of there.  Seems that everything else pertains to the federal government's subsurface mineral rights.


Camping Data Finished for ADT-KS & NE

I skipped ahead and completed the camping/ lodging data for Kansas and Nebraska.  Now, I've heard that the South Mid-West Route (SMR) is the most popular amongst American Discovery Trail thru adventurists (including hikers).  But just using a scale legend and as far as I see, a trip through Kansas would require two 30 mile routes, maybe three.  From from what I'm seeing in Nebraska, it's only one.  In either state, those would constitute camping/ lodging "amenity gaps" because of insufficient logistics by the current standards that I use.  But those standards have never had to route through places like Iowa and Kansas before.  The only way to really make that declaration is to write one of my mock hiker documents.

And there's another factor that might play out in Kansas' favor.  It's another thing I don't know without having done a mock hiker is that the SMR might be shorter?  If that is so, considering the Rockies afterward, it could even Kansas' playing field with Nebraska, or make it a more superior option?

Camping Prohibited - National Wildlife Refuges Along ADT

As of this date, camping is prohibited on every National Wildlife Refuge within 4mi miles of the American Discovery Trail.


Mapping Illinois DNR

It probably took me about 90 minutes to run through the full listing of state parks, forests, natural areas, conservation areas, fish hatcheries and so on for Illinois.  Since I'm unfamiliar with the state, each entry one had to be tried and it's location pin pointed in Google Earth and found to be roughly within 4 miles of the trail before I saved them.  The result was 20 reservations being on, or near the American Discovery Trail - Illinois on both mid-west routes.  Many of those will need maps overlaid.  Illinois Department of Natural Resources did not make this easy for me.  Some of the entries had incorrect names.

I think I'm going to hold off on the overlaying of maps and make sure that Indiana DNR reservations get plotted next. Then I'll overlay.  Once done, the overlays for the mid-west routes will be done except for Colorado.  I plan on doing the Western Region in it's own phase.

I'm out to map more camping areas afterward.  With the overlay opacities set from 50% to 80%, a placemark/ waypoint could be dropped on the road intersection with the last GIS'ed road.  That way, if they're getting directions on some kind of GPS, it will take them right to the un-GIS'ed road.

In the future, it could take them to water and parking.  And all of this could be done by someone else.  One of the first thing one learns when they try Google Earth for the first time is how to drop a placemark.  This task is far simpler than the convoluted mapping that I do.


Mapping Camping - ADT - Nebraska, Kansas & Missouri

As a continuation of yesterday, I'm overlaying state reservation maps I'm Nebraska on the American Discovery Trail's North Midwest Route (NMR), then I'll start coming around on the southern route.
I'm on Nebraska now. And unlike Iowa, they have PDF maps, but they're not the easiest thing to find. You have to expand their camping bar and that's where I'm finding them.

No State Forests Along ADT-IA

There are no state forests along the American Discovery Trail - Iowa.

The ADT turn-by-turns don't always reveal everything.  That's why I'm being as thorough with the camping/ lodging mapping as I can.  There could be a reason for this.  As the guides have been updated, at the time of their initial inception, either the Internet wasn't used, or it's information wasn't that good yet.  A Google search today wasn't as accurate as a Yahoo search in the 90's. Hypothetically, it's possible that nobody's done and "overhaul" of the turn-by-turn's logistics.  But, really... it would take skills that are more like mine to really pull that off.

  For those of you out there, keep reading through the logs here.  I don't want to keep this data to myself.  There is a comment area at the bottom of the page (I censor them btw).  I believe that it's open to the general public???

If you need to reach me on my personal Facebook profile, just know that I'm usually a little single minded about distance trail volunteerism and internal things.  When I'm not, I'm somewhat of a dark person.  We all just might just be better off if I just stick to the trails.

The way to reach me is in the American Discovery Trail's Facebook group.  Recently, I took a friend request from a stranger.  They private messaged me afterwards and were wanting to know how old I was and probably getting information to use in my password security questions.  I blocked them after the second question.  But I started chatting to begin with because I thought it was someone from the ADT?

If you need me on Facebook, be sure to write a PM stating that your an adventurist on the ADT, or a prospective one.


Issues with Overlaying Maps - American Discovery Trail - Illinois (NMR)

I'm trying to overlay maps for the American Discovery Trail - Illinois on the North Midwest Route from remote.  But the Forest Preserve District of Will County isn't making this easy.  They have a great website, but no downloadable maps that I can find.  I need those because PDF usually have a better quality than a screen shot.  Either way, they both have to be cropped and saved as a JPG, then uploaded to the cloud and overlaid in Google Earth.

This project has to move on.  And so it will.

The best thing that I can come up with was putting down placemarks on the parks that Google Earth outlined along the trail.  But that's not going to show me the location of a porta johns or water fountains so somebody can pin placemarks on those in the future.

Camping - American Discovery Trail - Nevada

These are not all camping locations.  The maroon areas are the ranger districts for the Humboldt - Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada.  What many of those icons pertain to are stretches of BLM property along the trail.  That fuchsia outlined area is a polygon that's supposed to be colored solid.  Within those lines is BLM Land.  It stretches way south of this map and it's a one piece polygon.  It's been challenging my computer system all day long.  The problem with BLM is that it's interrupted by private properties.  So what I did with the green tent placemarks there was stated a code, "BLM NV Dis C I/O, or O/I.

With the "I/O's" and "O/I's," the first value is always in the westbound direction.  In electronics, it stands for closed circuit/ open circuit.  To most of us, that's "on" and "off."  This is the way it will appear in a GPS, so what I'm doing is signaling the beginning and end of dispersed camping areas.

But all this data is beta at the moment.  What I haven't done is overlay a topographic map to determine if the areas I stated were even suitable for camping.   I got the fixed campsites plotted for the American Discovery Trail in Utah, Nevada and California today.  In all this work, my Google Earth Pro application crashed 6 times in the process of all this.  Tomorrow, I might go into the operating system's task manager and give Google Earth a high priority on the CPU usage.

I thought about this days ago...  In Google Earth, you have what is known as the "My Places."  It's the left window pane that stores elements that you can activate quickly.  In working with ADT's mapping, it's taken on a lot of information since January.  And mine is slowing Google Earth's startup down.   What I think I'm going to have to do is clean up the My Places and work with by storing things on my hard drive more.  I'll need to bring somethings up only as I needed.  Hopefully, that will save on system resources in the process.

I just rebuilt my computer 4 months ago.  The motherboard is new, the CPU is a mid-grade I5 Intel, it has 16GB of RAM and I'm working with a four hard disk setup on a manual RAID.  I'm not sure what the display card is, but I know it's good enough to support 3 monitors instead of two.  I'm not sure if going to a 4.0GHz I7 processor would be enough?

It was tough finding the right BLM shapes.  I've never had to do business with them before.  I almost gave up.  But I finally prevailed when I picked up surface parcel data on the "BLM NV Surface Management Agency (SMA)" from the BLM Navigator.  It's just like the property parcels that I worked with along the trail in Utah.  You're going to get the entire state.  And when you do, you need to go along the trail's track and deactivate the BLM property shapes.  When you get to the end of the trail, in the left window pane, start deleting what you don't need.

Now there's hundreds, if not thousands of them.  And while Shift + Deleting, things are going to go fast.  Your parcels could be anywhere, so make sure that you don't get too "delete happy" or you'll delete right over it.  You don't want to let it get you too mesmerized and that's easy to do with all those layers.


Hiking North America - A Loop

Not including the mileage for the Central New York Chapter and Adirondacks of North Country Trail - New York, the total for the rest of a loop that consists partly of the Finger Lakes, North Country, Long, Appalachian, American Discovery and Buckeye Trails is 1,961.04 miles long.  It would be routed through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia.  This is once the Middlebury Land Trust in Vermont completes the North Country to the Long Trail.


Dispersed Camping Prohibited - ADT in Monongahela NF

The American Discovery Trail in West Virginia is routed through the Potomac and Cheat Ranger Districts of the Monongahela National Forest.  As of the date of this log, dispersed camping is not permitted in these ranger districts

ADT Adventure Planning - Mapping Tip 05/06/2017

If you don't know a lot about GPS mapping, your not alone.  But I'm here to help you.  First, lets start
by downloading Google Earth Pro.  It's free these days.

You should start with the roads.  You can construct them using Google My Maps.  Unlike regular Google Maps, this will allow you to save your work to your Google Account and export it to a KML file to open in Google Earth.  It has limitations, such as the track can only be moved about 10 times.  And each map can only have about 10 layers, or segments in it.  There's simple work arounds to these.  If you run out of reroutes, just use a shorter segment.  And if you run out of layers, just create another map.

Some of the trails are named in the various turn-by-turn guides.  You'll need a membership to AllTrails.  This is where adventurists like yourself have recorded the trail on their own GPS's and uploaded the file for others to use.  Not all of the trails that are on the ADT are on there.  And the source may not be accurate.  The reason being is there's no telling what device recorded it, how often it anchored the track, or how good the weather was that day?

When the trail is concurrent with another distance trail, you can download their track data and open it in Google Earth for you to use.

If a named, or unnamed trail that the ADT is on that you can't find on AllTrails and occurs within a national forest, you might find it's path using a USGS Topo overlay in Google Earth.  It's route should be written on the map.  Using the "path" feature, you can trace a track over it.  The source should not be trusted as being accurate.  But down trail, sometimes you have to follow the trail and not the GPS.  When your there, just verify by sight that it's impossible for another trail to be on that course and the one your on is probably right.  Make sure that you continue to run in and out of it, or it's staying parallel.

Using the USDA Forest Service FSGeodata Clearinghouse's Data Extract Tool

you'll see that I selected that square icon with the circle and the blue in it.  At the bottom of #1, I choose a forest.  Then in #2, "I checked National Forest System Trails."  In #3, I selected the "Shapefile - SHP - .shp" file format option.  This resource might have some of the trails that you're looking for?

Also, "National Forest Service Roads" might work.  The ADT does take place on some of them.

Your GPS software might not read shapefiles.  You might have to convert to KML.  Since these are just tracks, I'd use something like my Geodata Converter.

If your using a smartphone, or do know, or trust your hand GPS's stock software, somewhere in your manual should be the location of the folder that it reads data from.  I do it this way myself.  But it requires a conversion to the GPX format.  You can convert KML to GPX with GPSVisualizer's "Convert a File" feature.  Select your output format as "GPX," then your file and click on "Convert."  When the next page opens up, right click on the link, left click "save," or "save linked content as" give it a name and save it to your hard drive.


Water Resupply - The Wilderness Loop 05/05/2016

I've been working with the mining and surface stream data for The Wilderness Loop of the Buckeye Trail (North Country concurrent partially), which consists of the Road Fork, Whipple and parts of the Belle Valley and Stockport Sections.  I've got data that might make the situation better than it has been.  What I've mean is that I've identified streams that are probably not contaminated with heavy metals.  And so far, my data can support 10 mile continuous hikes, except present day RF 04 - 10.  That's 13.82 miles where I can't get public access to the few surface streams that I believe are uncontaminated.  This area, which is northwest of Caldwell of Noble County is, or was heavily mined and the only two remedies that I can see now are if the section gets a private water or camp host, or an in-person trip down OH-78 reveals the presence of a convenience store that wouldn't show up on a Google map or search (sometimes this happens).


Bathing and Wading Spots - The Wilderness Loop

There are two places to bathe or wade in the Little Muskingum River on the Road Fork and Whipple Sections.  They're both on federal property in the Marietta Unit - Wayne National Forest.  The first is at the Ring Mill on the Road Fork.  The road in results in a cul-de-sac.  Just north of the cul-de-sac, there's a fisherman's access on the north side.  The river there usually maintains a depth of a couple feet or so.

The second site is in Whipple's Little Muskingum River Flats.  Down on that mile, the place that I know of is if one were hiking Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail heading clockwise/ westbound, there's a usually dry steam bed that ejects into the river early in the flats from that direction.  One could use it to get down into the river.  But this one's not as good because the river tends to be very shallow here in the summer.

A good bath in the river should make you feel clean.  If your in there, while your at it, you can do a little laundry too.  The Little Muskingum might have hard metals in it.  There are former mines on it's fingers, streams and fork. so I do not recommend purifying or filtering it for oral consumption.  It has a south westernly flow that meets the Ohio River at the Census Designated Place of Reno (where the NFS field office is for the Marietta Unit).