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Merging GIS Tracks - Harbor Springs Chapter

For the last 3 days, I've been merging tracks for the Harbor Spring Chapter of the North Country Trail Association in Lower Peninsula Michigan with GPS Visualizer.  For North Country, it's about 63 miles, so it not a large span.  It's definitely shouldn't be that challenging for GPSVisualizer.  I've seen it twice that distance in to one track and get the elevation profile right.

This picture is a screen shot displaying the merged path/ track with some of it's original data and an elevation profile.  In that profile, the outline of the chart should be in solid red.  And look at those straight drops between Miles 40 and 50.  I've never been on this section before.  But that also looks like an error.  The original track elevation profiles work.  It's just that merged all 63 miles together three separate times and can't get the elevation profile working.  I'm going to move on to a different chapter.  If the errors show up there too, then I can probably say that GPSVisualizer is having a bad day.


Thru Hike Difficulties & Proposial - North Country Trail

The North Country Trail is 4,600 miles long.  And without having done a mock hiker document depicting the daily mileages of an average thru hiker, it's hard to tell if it could be routed to miss winter conditions on either end.  From what I'm told, the answer is "no."  If that's the case, then I believe that the NCTA and it's following needs to come up with a new plan.  From what I know here in Ohio, the vast majority of hikers don't like the winter.

So, I'm going to take the next week or so and finish merging the NCTA's GIS tracks into it's chapter's spans so I can write the mock hiker.  It's of interest to me as the section supervisor of the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail.  After I get that document written, I can then suggest a course of action if any is needed.

I ready know that SE Ohio needs a chapter for resupply reasons.  And that in NCT trail promotion, the Buckeye Trail takes up 83% of Distance Hiking Ohio.  The beneficiaries of it's trail promotion is self contained.  Meaning that it's not contributing to North Country's whole.  But North Country chapters work in such a way that they're trail promotion not only contributes to themselves, but elsewhere as well.  In Ohio, we're missing North Country trail promotion in 3 quarters of the state.  So, what Whipple is getting is probably anemic. The course of action that I can think of is to make this a chapter with multiple loyalties.

It needs to elevate the importance of the NCT - Ohio patch.  But what I think might need to happen probably won't take place with the NCTA.  In fact, I think it's very grass routes.  There are two audiences when it comes to thru hiking.  There's those who come immediately from the Appalachian Trail.  Some of them come with their minds made up of what hiking is and I doubt they'd be able to change their notions anytime soon.  But there's the internal, hikers that North Country already has and those that they get as a result of local trail promotion in the future.

They might need to legitimize a slight step down from thru hiking.  My idea is to complete 30 hiking days at a thru hike rate ahead of time, then hike the rest in mass using transportation to bypass what they already did.  If they did that, this hiker could miss winter conditions in Vermont, New York and North Dakota. The question that would have to be put to North Country's followers is are they going to support it?

I wouldn't really regard it as a full "2nd place."  It's more "1b." 1a is a full thru.  1b is


Whipple/ Road Fork Work Week 2017 - 06/13/2017

The following is copied from on 06/13/2017. The event's area is concurrent with the North Country National Scenic Trail in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest.

July 8-12, 2017

Whipple/Road Fork

Description: Trail maintenance of the Road Fork and Whipple Sections' off road areas. This will include chainsawing of downed trees, mowing, weed whacking, pruning, and possible freshening of blazes for a little over 30 miles in the heat of July. We will need all the help we can get. We will leave for work at 8:00am and quit at 3:00pm.
Camping: Camping will be at the Little Muskingum Watershed Association building, located at SR26 and Thomas Ridge Rd (T 88) Hot showers and flush toilets are available in the building. Donations to the LMWA for use of the facilities are appreciated. Camping GPS coordinates 39.54184, -81.22484
Meals: This is a chuck wagon event. Meals will be provided free (donations accepted) for the first 20 volunteers to sign up with Jay Holwick at by July 2, 2017. Please note: if you are arriving Friday, the Friday night meal is NOT included - please bring your own.

Mapping: See the location for this event in Google Maps

For those wishing to attend the event itself, an RSVP is requested at (this link may be time sensitive).
This event was submitted today to the Marietta - Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau's calendar.  It is currently undergoing review.


WCHS Tour Along The BT/ NCTC

I just e-mailed the Washington County Historical Society requesting information on their WCHS Tour signs that I see every now and then.  There's one on the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail/ North Country Temporary Connector in Macksburg.  The signs I've seen are few and very faded, which, to me, could suggest that there might be other sites along the trail?

It is possible that I could GPS all of their sites and produce a file to download.  And I'd have to check my recording equipment, but I think I could make vocal mp3 files if there was a written guide to these sites.  It could be available for download, or on CD.  If they're downloaded, they could be used on a smartphone.  Audio playback is no problem, in fact many of our automobiles can now use bluetooth to connect it to the stereo system.

But it gets a little tricky with a smartphone GPS.  Google Maps, the stock navigation app on Android devices won't support this.  The user would need to have an app that allows them to download off-line maps.  I use "Locus" on mine.  After the off-line maps and GPS waypoints are downloaded, they can be displayed together, but they probably won't have any turn by turn directions when they're out of signal?  But a prescribed track, or route could work.

If in the event they'd need help (and we'd need help), then I already know that I'm one of very few people who can do this GPS mapping and make that track.  So, it might have to be me?


Tablet Paid Off

My Samsung Galaxy Tab just got paid off.  It was the media player and navigation unit for the motorhome.


Multi-Mode Hiking

I just got a mountain bike that I found in the trash up and running.  It's in perfect condition.  Even with the old cables, it's still shifting right.

Today, I want to write about "multi-mode hiking."  It pertains to solo and multiple hikers with only one car.  If their intent is to eventually complete a distance hiking trail, using only one car, the hiker would have to either hike out and back, or loop on an off agency trails and roads.

The bicycle has a drive train.  And here in Ohio, it's more efficient by 3 or 4 times.  Off-road trails can have some prohibitions, so bicycles aren't always permitted.  But you can drop one off at the end of a route and chain it to a tree.  But with those prohibitions, just make sure that the wheels never come in contact with that trail (pick it up to lock it somewhere off that trail).

When I mentioned three or four times, it's as if the hike to bike has a ratio.  Here in Ohio, it's generally 1:3 or 1:4 in stamina.  I don't pedal up some hills to conserve it.  Here's how that works for me... Based on those ratios, if I was hiking the Buckeye Trail in NE Ohio, it would be a 1:4 area.  That means that if I was 20 mile per day hiker, in most circumstances, I could hike 16 miles down trail.  The route back on road would probably only be about 12 miles.  By this ratio, 12 miles on bike equals 3 miles hiking.  3 + 16 = 19, so it's within the 20.  If the loop back's mileage ends up being more, then the distance down trail hiking would need to be shortened.

With the out and back, that 10 miles out and 10 miles back.  Here on the Buckeye Trail, the Circuit Hike Patch is somewhat based on it's total mileage.  That means that the 10 miles back doesn't can't count towards that because that portion of the trail was already covered.  And looping mileage isn't covered anyways, but the multi-mode mitigates that by having a faster, less strenuous mode of travel.

A 16 mile hike in Ohio would take about 5 - 6 hours.  With a bicycle, the loop back would only take about one.  Another way to put it is that it enables the hiker to put 75% of their stamina down trail and 25% on the loop.

Here's the way that lesser loop mileage works.  Roads are better engineered than trails.  The trails have more grades and turns.  Therefore, the road is usually tends to have more level surfaces.  Federal Highways are usually better engineered than state highways.  State highways are better engineered than county roads.  County Roads are usually better engineered than township roads.  And township roads are often better than forest roads.  So, there's a hierarchy to it.

On one route that I did in a more remote part of Ohio, the loop back was longer than the distance of that day's hike.  But the state highway that it was routed on was more efficient, so this was exceptional.  And I don't have any experience in any mountainous areas.  It might work in some low mountainous ones?  But there are some kits that could be bought to convert a bicycle into a motorized one.  Otherwise, mopeds, motorcycles, kayaks or a second car.  That car could be lightweight vehicle dollied to a truck or some kind of motorhome?  Even public transit has several forms.  One of those could be "dial-a-ride," "curb-to-curb," and "demand responsive" type transit.  Unlike a city bus line, these vehicles pull into certain places, even homes for boarding and disembarking.  Those methods might enable the hiker to put 100% of their daily stamina down trail?


Hike Ohio Cards - SE Ohio and Mid-Ohio Valley West Virginia

For those of you who've picked up a "Hike Ohio" from the Buckeye Trail Association in the Parkersburg, Vienna, other areas of the Mid-Ohio Valley, West Virginia, as well as the City of Marietta and and other some other areas in Southeast Ohio, I probably put them there.

And I might imagine that you might be trying to determine what sections of the Buckeye Trail are nearby.  They are:

Belle Valley
Road Fork

In 2000, the Buckeye took over for the North Country Trail in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest. Currently, the Buckeye is a 1,445 mile circular trail within the four corners of Ohio.  North Country's 4,500mi route from Vermont to North Dakota still travels concurrent with Buckeye in the Marietta Unit of The Wayne.  You might drive by sometime and see that the "North Country Trail" signs have been changed to "North Country/ Buckeye." I just think of it as two highway routes on one road.  And the Buckeye Trail as the "roundabout" of the hiking world.  Depending on who you talk to, it's still the largest loop trail in the world.


Whipple Maintenance 06/04/2017

Intersections between Whipple 01 - 04 were re-blazed, with the exception of Segment B and the remainder of C.  My 2008 Chevy HHR LS has a manual transmission and a parking brake cable snapped.  It has about 181k miles and 1st gear isn't holding on any sort of incline.  So, I had lunch in Marietta and purchased wheel chalks from a nearby auto parts store.  I went back to continue re-blazing when a tree that I needed had some ivy on it.  I didn't bother to check if it was poison ivy, but I realized that I wasn't prepared for any today and it was more likely than not that I was going to encounter it down trail.  So, I wrapped it up and called it a day there.

I missed the turn to finish Segment C and start D.  The road to get into there is Bean Ridge and I think it was hidden on a curve on C9?  Segment D is Whipple Section, Pt. 05 - 06 and the two points have to be approached on opposite ends because Brooks Rd/ T94 in Lawrence Township of Washington County is rough between them.  I avoid that portion of road whenever I can.


Computer Systems 06/02/2017

I'm using a DVI Y cable to split the monitor feed into 2 monitors.  At times, with one monitor on, the image has lines on it.  I've discovered with both monitors that when this happens, both monitors need to be on and this will clear up.

Automotive Maintenance 06/02/2017

My 2008 Chevy HHR LS was serviced yesterday and today at a local garage.  The mileage recorded is 181,320.  I had the catalytic converters, intermediate pipe, muffler and two wheel bearings replaced.  I was once told that one of the O2 sensors shorted out.  It turns out that both still work.

The car is ready now to make hitch my utility hauling trailer and make two runs to the local landfill, then depart for the Marietta of Washington County area for trail maintenance.