Saturday, July 23, 2011

No Hike This Weekend

We have decided that there will be no hiking this weekend.  We have an evening wedding to attend Saturday night and it may be worth mentioning that it is expected to be 96 degrees today!  After my experiences hiking in 90 degree temps last weekend (North Moat Mountain) I am not motivated to try it again today.  Though the temps will be more reasonable on Sunday, it is time for a break from hiking for a weekend.

Another influence on our decision not to hike this weekend is the fact that next Friday we are planning to hike at least some portion of Mt Katahdin in Baxter State Park in Maine. Mt Katahdin is the northern most tip of the Appalachian Trail.  I say "at least some portion of" because we are hiking with a group and some clearly have the ability to complete the planned round trip while others, like me, are less certain we can do the entire climb.  Time will tell.

In the last 30-days we have hiked:

Mt Lincoln - Mt Lafayette Loop
Lincoln Woods (not a mountain)
Mt Garfield
Cannon Mountain
Mt Washington
North Moat Mountain

So, I guess a break is justified.

On another subject, though still hiking related, late last year I bought a Garmin GPS designed specifically for hiking, hunting and so forth.  I've had mixed emotions about the value of having this device with me on a hike.  When hiking last weekend though, there were a couple of very poorly (and I mean very) marked sections where we had no idea if we where still on the trail or not.  For the first time ever I found having the GPS gave me absolute confidence we were headed in the right direction and were in fact on the trail.  When on open ledges you are often dependent on small blazes painted on the rock that can be very faded or worn or have very little contrast so in these areas it can be challenging to stay on track.  Not to say the GPS hasn't provided interesting data on our hikes like what elevation we are at, how steep is the climb ahead of us and so forth but, it just hasn't proven to have the value I expected.  That is until I found some new software to use it with this morning.  I am now like a kid in a candy store!

Let me tease you just a little with but one new output capability I found.  The image below is an elevation plot from our most recent hike on North Moat Mountain.  Using this new software, I was able to measure and give you a better perspective of the steeper portion of the climb up North Moat.  To read these figures you will likely need to double-click on the image below which will cause it to open in a larger size.

This plot shows most all of our hike that day except that the GPS batteries died about 30-minutes before the hike ended (which is why it appears we did not return to the same elevation). 
I also found that the output from the GPS using this new software (called Basecamp) interfaces directly with Google Earth.  It is very cool.  As I play with it more I may provide some new interesting images in this blog for future hikes.


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