In the month of September in 2017, I assisted 2 day hikers, 1 multi-day and 3 thru hikers.
The BT use to publish the on and off-road footprint for the entire circuit. As it's been changing a lot, it's hard for the map team to keep up with, but generally it's understood to be about 50%/ 50%. However, what many don't understand is that the off-road number does include multi-purpose right-of-ways and towpaths. Some of these can be paved. It might also include sidewalks. I state this because the maps do. You might ask why include those? The answer is that at some point, somebody will, or already has mentioned that the sidewalk is technically off-road. And the BTA might have to cover itself from what I like to call "reverse harassment" and mention those in the numbers. I've got the right GIS/GPS data that might do this project. But doubt that I have access to the information concerning some surfaces?
My foot gear has never had a problem on-road. I wear tactical boots. In fact, I'm more efficient there. But from what I've learned from the thru hikers these past 2 months, they're having a terrible time on the pavement. My going theory is that it's either my infantry training, or these hiking shoes and boots aren't engineered with the roads in mind. And I don't think that my BT colleagues and I have ever had reason to question it. But to me it makes sense in how our gear is sold. It always has darker colors that blend in, while here on the Buckeye and North Country Trails, we don't have the number of hikers that could be disturbed by lighter colors. In fact, we have hunting here and I don't think that a blaze orange vest and hat is enough. I think that our back packs need to be that color as well.
But they're not. And that's because this equipment is designed for a different audience in a different place. Take the Appalachian Trail for example... that's where the market it. BT and NCT... not so much.
Today, I resupplied myself and I filled up the gas tank. I'm in St. Mary, WV. So, when I'm going up towards Road Fork Section at the top of The Wilderness Loop, I like having 2/3rd a tank of gasoline. But I can get away with having less on the Whipple Section side.
In case I haven't stated it before, there were obstructions in the Little Muskingum River Flats between the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail that were impossible to get around when Preston Hudson came through on his thru hike. I was also under the impression that there was devestating erosion at the time. Given that those were the conditions at the then, it my determination that this segment would have been a threat to the life, limb and eyesight of these hikers.
I am the current Section Supervisor of the Whipple Section. Under Buckeye Trail Association bi-laws, it does infer that I have jurisdiction over the section (if that helps).
I have then since fixed the area and Tomfoolery hiked through there.
If it comes into question, for thru hikers Preston Hudson, Mei Ling Liber and Tomfoolery, I was their water resupply for eastern half of The Wilderness Loop. That took about 5 days each. I did this in locations that were convenient to park my car. So, I did see them near a road, but I'm a distance hiker myself and each came though those days with the appropriate signs of exhaustion according to their water consumption and their abilities. All that was right on par.
While the roads are shorter, apparently their footgear isn't designed for it. The BT is 50% on-road and the rest still consists of several towpaths and multi use right-of-ways. I believe that their footgear was designed more for the Appalachian Trail, which frankly, isn't this one.
I do know the location of Warrior Expedition #2.
Under ordinary circumstances, lets say that we had a chapter in this area. And we started having fliers in places like post offices and libraries year round. When a special program like is scheduled to come into the area, all those cork boards will go from the general flier to the event's (not enough room for both).
I am here. I am the man on the ground. Tomfoolery isn't a volunteer here. He's something extra. On the Whipple Section, sometimes things just fall into your lap. This is a good oman, so you'd be wise to ride this wave. There's no promises about what's going to happen on the 19th. But I'm pretty sure that if anything comes of it, it's going to leave us in better shape. And I can comfortably say this because we should pick up more supporters, or just I'll know about more people. Right now, we have 7 that I know of. Three live in NE Ohio, four of them are maintainers, one is a volunteer. Volunteer recruiting has priority, but we still need greater hiking numbers, too. And there things that we can do with hikers with those latter interests only. For those of you who don't know me, I'm very immersed in the internal side of the trails. Internal vs External, I generally see both.
- I just dropped off 14 gallons of spring water resupply to my personal Whipple storage depot.
- My tent needs some Scotch Guard. I've been in a hotel last night and tonight.
- The plan for tomorrow is to make sure that I have the chainsaw's side adjustment on correctly
- With a federal holiday being in two days, I suspect that the weed whacker won't be out of service until Tuesday afternoon. The technicians diagnosed it as having loose carburetor harware that necessatated it getting some new gaskets.
- I'm hoping to get Whipple 05 - 06 cleared and reblazed while I'm still at Lane Farm. If I do, I should be able to get the Little Muskingum River Flats rigged for winter navigation. The trail down there is like tracks in a record where Buckeye Trail "skips" parallel every now and then. In order for winter navigation to be possible, the blazing will have to keep a close account of every time it does this. That may be more frequent than more normal navigation requires.