Off Trail Hiking Policy in National Forests

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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Bosterson
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Re: Off Trail Hiking Policy in National Forests

Post by Bosterson » November 28th, 2019, 11:24 am

Hey Karl, rather than apologizing to the "group," you might consider apologizing directly to the person whose head you snapped off for no reason. And then maybe switching to decaf. ;) Happy Thanksgiving! :)

PS: an analog compass is always a good thing to have in your pack, just in case. This is especially true off trail. Shooting a bearing is sometimes way more useful than wandering through a forest staring at a dot on a screen. It's good to have as many tools in your kit as possible.
Will hike off trail for fun.

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kepPNW
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Re: Off Trail Hiking Policy in National Forests

Post by kepPNW » November 28th, 2019, 11:29 am

Bosterson wrote:
November 28th, 2019, 11:24 am
Hey Karl, rather than apologizing to the "group," you might consider apologizing directly to the person whose head you snapped off for no reason.
Considered him/her to be part of the group. (You don't?) It's the advice I'm so bothered by, not any given person, and I have heard it so often lately that I finally just spoke (yelled!) out at everyone while only aiming at one... So yes, of course, apologies to Squid, for making it personal, too!
Bosterson wrote:
November 28th, 2019, 11:24 am
PS: an analog compass is always a good thing to have in your pack, just in case. This is especially true off trail. Shooting a bearing is sometimes way more useful than wandering through a forest staring at a dot on a screen. It's good to have as many tools in your kit as possible.
No disagreement, there.
Karl
Back on the trail, again...

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adamschneider
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Re: Off Trail Hiking Policy in National Forests

Post by adamschneider » November 28th, 2019, 4:47 pm

I do like maps for the whole horizon-scanning thing. Small screens can be frustrating when you want to get a wider view. (On the other hand, phones do give you access to PeakFinder, which is awesome, despite its lack of integration with 2-D mapping apps.)

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teachpdx
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Re: Off Trail Hiking Policy in National Forests

Post by teachpdx » November 28th, 2019, 8:04 pm

When I do a new off-trail adventure, I do a couple things.
1) Look at the area via Google Earth. As long as it’s not solid trees, it can give a good overview of where you want to go.
2) Trace the approximate path you want to hike. Check grades... anything more than 25% for an extended time will be gross.
3) Export onto your favourite electronic device and follow along.

And yes, I’m a millennial that hasn’t carried a paper map in years. And I do plenty of off-trail hiking with just my iPhone and a Spot for emergencies. I carry a portable charger on shorter hikes, and add my solar charger on longer days just in case. And, of course, waterproof carriers for all of it if it’s raining, or even a chance.

And yes, I can read a map and orienteer. I’m an Eagle Scout, after all. There’s just no need when you have GPS in your pocket 24/7.

And I agree 1000% with digital LNT. I’ve had people ask me where my photos were taken, and it’s just “the Wallowas” or “near Mt. Hood”.

But back to topic:

Start off with hikes that offer visibility... I’m thinking some of the ridges of the Wallowas would be a good starting adventure if you’re up for a little bit of a drive. You can spend days backpacking without following an official trail if you want.
And if you’re doing an off-trail loop, give enough time and energy to turn around 7/8 of the way around and retrace your steps if you need to. There are so many things that look accessible from GE but then you get there and it’s impenetrable (looking at you, snowbrush).
instagram: @robo_remy

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Water
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Re: Off Trail Hiking Policy in National Forests

Post by Water » November 28th, 2019, 8:19 pm

actually haven't had tech fail me when I needed it. GPS or phone. Except I have also made choices before I ever set out that I am not going to have to 'navigate' for miles and miles in some kind of horrific conditions. You can bring up what-ifs and indeed the weather can change, but for 99% of my day and weekend warrior ventures I can understand pretty clearly what I'll encounter.

To boot, a phone and/or current GPS can give you satellite layers, and a LiDAR layer like from Google Terrain actually can display small features you might not catch between contour lines on a map. I love maps and definitely used to use them a lot more, but I honestly find myself using more obscure FS district maps for exploring FS roads to get to certain places more than I consult a paper map for any trails or climbing. They have their place though.

Happy Thanksgiving
Feel Free to Feel Free

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drm
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Re: Off Trail Hiking Policy in National Forests

Post by drm » November 30th, 2019, 3:42 pm

Here is a good test for anybody to do in the wilderness. On a day or place without long distance views, guess what direction is due north and then check yourself with a compass. I do this all the time when I'm out hiking.

Being observant and aware as you travel is the most important skill of all.

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retired jerry
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Re: Off Trail Hiking Policy in National Forests

Post by retired jerry » November 30th, 2019, 6:47 pm

Great idea.

Sharpen your skills to figure it out without tech or paper map

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