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BT Cost Analysis 7/29/2017

I've taken a day off from my Buckeye Trail cost analysis without transit.  It's been an unremarkable day.  The only thing that I've done that's noteworthy was I purchased a replacement clutch cover for my chainsaw and that it should arrive next week.

So far, I have Buckeye's main loop day count at 77, the Little Loop at 14 and The Wilderness Loop at 12.  But there might need to be another zero day added to the main loop?  As to how much this will all end up costing will depend on whether I can manipulate the routing to make the cost more favorable.  To do that, I'll have to ascertain how much it costs now and determine if there's practical ways to cut costs, or bypass higher cost areas be introducing another day into the count?  It's got another 8 days that I could add to it.

But it's got restrictions.  And I compare it to the first down chains in football.  Only every time, it's a new 10 yards after you move further up the map.  So over the circuit, I have to be contentiousness of where days start, end and make sure that I link up to the next sequence of days.

I started doing this because I needed to get it done according to lodging costs in the height of summer.  But, the transit hiking idea never took off and I also want to find out how much this thing really costs?  It turns out that we really don't have a big number of stealth campers.  It comes up on the BTA Facebook group every now and then.  And while I thought it was a larger number, I wanted to know what they're by-passing.  I thought it has to be cost?

The Buckeye Trail is growing.  And achieving the BTA's 10 mile campsite initiative sooner than much later is going to require more private camp hosts, which entails residential relations.  I don't see the BTA taking itself 720 more miles off-road by mostly acquiring properties happening anywhere in the near future.  So, I don't think it can add it's own campsites fast enough?  Which means that this needs to be done with more private camp hosts.


Smartphone GPS Basemap and Whipple Maintenance 07/24/2017

I continue to download a smartphone basemap for Ohio on Locus Maps.  This is big and is going to take a while, perhaps a month?

I just spent 4 days in the Marietta area.  I was probably taking shelter from possible lightning most of the time.  I did some maintenance on the Belle Valley Section.  They were having the Circuit Hike Program come through.  This is where others can meet one weekend a month to day, or multi-day hike various parts of the Buckeye Trail's circuit and have shuttles on one end of a day's route.  It was on the Whipple Section's on-road in May and July.

I weed whacked from Brooks by McCain Hill and Bean Ridge Roads and got just into the east side of the Little Muskingum River Flats.  That's where my trimmer needed a throttle adjustment and I don't know how to do that yet?  So, I got out of there.

With the DR Mower (Brush Hog), we usually attach a chainsaw to it with bungee cords and cut obstructing downed trees as we go.  But I don't have a DR and the chainsaw would be difficult to carry with the weed whacker.

So, I devised a new strategy.  An ax could be mounted to the trimmers shaft or be carried inside of my backpacks restraining straps.  A special canvas sleeve could be made for a 24" carpentry saw.  I can fit the bottom with the plastic that's used on the corners of some walls (maybe razor it down) to insert in the sleeve for the blade to grid up against when when I put it in, or take it out.  I could sew it to the bottom of my backpack and with the plastic angle, I should be able to re-insert with my backpack still on me?

I'm probably known for using a carpentry saw to remove obstructions.  It takes about 40 minutes to go through the sides of a 18-22" downed tree.  It's not like a chainsaw where you can just cut straight down.  This has to be done in "V" or "double V" (same thing, but upside down) cuts.  It's too easy to pinch the blade going straight down.

Sometimes, my cuts aren't spot on.  So when they get close, I start using the ax and I try to chop that pie cut out of there.  The chain saw would go there in minutes, but I'd rather cut them as I go because sometimes I encounter downed trees with the weed whacker and have to maneuver through them like a jungle gym.  I guess I could just take the chainsaw through and make two passes???


Trail Angel and Smartphone GPS Basemaps

I sent a lot of Buckeye Trail data to a supporter who's currently routing a thru hiker.  The thru hiker isn't using the BT's map & guides, instead he's being routed from the desk via phone calls, text and private messages on Facebook to his smartphone.  Everything should be more complete for them now.

When assisting another thru hiker about a month ago, we discovered something about smartphone GPS navigation.  The problem is off-line basemaps.  The easiest way to do it for the Buckeye Trail is to download everything for the entire State of Ohio at high resolution.  But, that's a huge file.  And the tile limits are 5,000 and 10,000.  I'm in the middle of it now, but I wouldn't be surprised if it ties up my smartphone for the next 30 days.  Prospective thru hikers really don't have that kind of time.

I wish I could find basemaps that I could download to my desktop computer, then upload to my smartphone and work on my "Locus" app.  That could be faster for everyone involved.  And it would be preferred if it was USGS Topo.  That's a map that many are familiar with.


Blazing - 50 Yard Pace Count

I did a pace count in advance of reblazing the Duck Creek area on the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail/ North Country Temporary Connector. It's something I leaned in the Army where you count every left step out to 50 meters.  You do it 3 times and average the count, than that's what you use.  I also understand that this is a Boy Scout method.

Because of conditions on-road, the blazing count will be mostly 50yds. Well, the stadium at Marietta College with a synthetic turf field and lines that are always painted isn't always open to the public.  But it's practice field had yard marker signs attached to its fence. So, I did my pace count on the other side and it worked out well. With a 36in inseam (I'm 6ft 6in) I have a 50yd pace count of 27.  And shorter folks will be more. But it's just an off-road measurement for blazes.

Sometimes, you could find yourself maintaining a new segment where the blazes are badly faded, or they weren't done right to begin with.  In this situation, an "initial" blazing has to be done. It's "initial" as if it was getting it for the first time.


The Heat Is On

The heat in on the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail.  The engine in my car is running like it should.  Thru hiker Andrew P is approaching the three way Buckeye Trail intersection in Belle Valley of Noble County tomorrow.  I still have a parking brake cable to install and I'd really like to pick him up and shuttle him to a campsite from about present day Road Fork Section, Pt. 06.

Between campsites, it's 19.9 miles from the one at Wolf Run SP to the camp shelter near present day RF 10.  This is in SE Ohio.  RF's roads are known to be the most strenuous on the circuit.  Aside from being a Whipple Section Supervisor, I wear another "hat" and that is being a trail promoter and it's organizer in SE Ohio (these are separate).  And getting a new private camp host NE of Caldwell of Noble County is on the list of things to do.


Car Maintenance 07/02/2017

I changed the spark plugs in my 2008 Chevy HHR LS at about 182,724 miles on the odometer.  The last time that I was on Whipple's maintenance, I was concerned about the engine performance and thought that it was getting weak.  Turns out, it was just the iridium spark plugs.  It's a relief because I anticipate this month as being intensive.