GPS HIKES & MAPS: Trip Search Products Using GPS

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A sunset... but nowhere near the end

It snowed on the Continental Divide in Colorado yesterday. The aspens are turning a brilliant yellow. Elk bugles echo in the lower meadows. I'm sad to see the summer come to an end. It's been a good one, really the best one ever.

I've had summers where I've hiked more days. I've had summers where I've worked less hours. But I've never had a summer where I've had a chance to touch the lives, if only briefly, of so many people. People who love hiking and the outdoors, and people who are so passionate about a protecting a trail stringing through the Rocky Mountains.

Thanks to all of you, we've achieved unthinkable goals in the past four months. We have the most up-to-date information on the CDT in the world. We believe the data our CDT map scouts collected is better than what land managers and CDTA currently house on their systems. To echo the words of Teresa Martinez, Field Operations Manager of the CDTA, "you've started a legacy."

I like that.

I'll also admit this project didn't come without shortfalls. The schwag promised hasn't been shipped (we intend to honor our promise to reward our CDT volunteers), three teams didn't get their section maps, two teams dissolved from conflicting personalities, and wildfires displaced more than 25 volunteers. The sale of Backpacker to Active Interest Media caused delays and staff shortfall in every department.

The good news is our CDT teams have managed to map more than 2,000 miles of trail this summer. Real progress has been made, and will continue to be made next summer. Yep, you heard it here, we're going to continue the project next year. We'll keep updates posted on this blog.

Photo: Sunrise at Ute Lake. Submitted by Pam Johns of Team 16.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Gathering the Pieces

This is an exciting time--and one of the most memorable of my career so far. In the past few weeks, we've seen hundreds of photos from several segments of the Continental Divide Trail. The result of this project is coming alive in front of our eyes as we begin to edit sections, doubleback with land mangers, and, most importantly, assemble all the great stories, field notes, and media everyone has collected. All that talk, all those logistics, all those phone calls and emails were worth it. It's going to take weeks to put it all together, and if you haven't heard from us you will soon.

In the meantime, we'll be posting short reports and an appetizer of photos here, and we'll be catching up on a backlog of emails from team leaders. Just a few hours ago Jonathan Ellinger sent me an email:

"We finished last Saturday our trip from Big Hole Pass to Goldstone. My blog entry for the trip is here." Cool blog Jonathan! You can see photos from the trip on Flickr too.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ernie Pyle Search Party is back

Eli Schelin emailed us a short report this afternoon on their scout of the most northern 50 miles of the CDT.

"We covered the 52 miles from Waterton, Alberta, Canada to the Jackson Glacier Overlook. The trail is in excellent shape and is well signed. We saw lots of wildlife – deer, long horn sheep, and mountain goats in the campsites and on the trail. And we even saw a snow flurry as we came across Piegan Pass on the 8/23. All the team members did a great job supporting one another and sharing their skills and knowledge.

We have a ton of pictures that everyone is sorting through – but in the mean time I’ve attached one picture of the search party at the trailhead in Waterton, Alberta, Canada on the 8/19. From left to right are Andy Hubing, Brian & Shelley TerBush, Robert Vanderhoof, and Eli Schelin."

Hiking Around Montana's Wildfires

Check these photos out! Keith Gebo sent these in today from Team 49 on the CDT in Montana. There fires surround them for most of the trip. "We should have some great shots of a big grizzly bruin. The smoke kept us from getting very many 'Big Sky' photos," say Keith. "There were some serious issues with the trail markers and the trail conditions to a lesser extent. I used a MP3 voice recorder to document the trail conditions and warnings. I am working on transcribing it. When I finish I'll send a copy to you. I will also be sharing the information with the local USFS." Thanks for the update Keith.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On the Divide, Not the Trail

Here's a new twist: Over the next two years Glenn Dunmire plans to backpack, scramble, climb, or do whatever it takes to trace the Continental Divide.

Not the trail, but the Divide itself.

His hope is to straddle the entire backbone from Mexico to Canada. Most of it will be off-trail, and some hairball sections will require X-treme climbing skills on rotten rock. Most of the trip he'll do solo, too.

Oh yeah, and according to his website, Glenn is doing this truly epic adventure on a rehabilitated hand with three missing carpal bones and a crippled left knee with "no ACL or medial or lateral meniscus."

Imagine the logistics to work a trip like this out? Imagine the all the T-storms he'll have to face being above treeline most of the time? Good luck, Glenn, we'll be watching.

The rest of the High Boy story...

Since our last blog on the Helena High Boys (Team 48), the team has successfully completed their 42-mile section. Listen to the rest of their adventure unfold below:

In this two-part podcast on Day 3, team leader Steve Wargo reports a few blisters but overall three great days. Tonight they camp at 7,800 feet under the shadow of Mount Black in grizzly country. They also talked about their encounter with The Onion, the thru-hiker who plans to yo-yo the trail this year.

First Report

Second Report

"Today has been absolutely spectacular!" The team tagged several peaks today, including the highpoint on their section. GPS location: 12T 0383937E 5183942N.

The five High Boys arrive back in Helena, MT. Team leader Steve reviews how they mapped some of the tough areas of their section and they have a lot of suggestions for land managers and BACKPACKER. In addition to other highlights and last thoughts about their trip, Steve tells a funny story on how a CDT sign clocked one of the High Boys in the head on their last night.

Team 32: Team Tarpman

Team co-leader and frequent map contributor Leon Nelson of Redding, CA sent in these photos from their 50-mile leg in the Wind River Range of Bridger-Teton National Forest last week. Leon says the elevation proved to be the biggest challenge for the group who all came from hometowns well below 1,000 ft (the trailhead was over 9,000 ft.). Leon plans to call in day-by-day podcast reports later this week to re-cap their adventures. Send us more photos too, Leon!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yo-Yoing the CDT

Have you heard of this guy? Garret Christensen (trail name: The Onion) is attempting to yo-yo the CDT this year. That means he'll hike from Mexico to Canada then turn around and hike back to Mexico for a total of roughly 6,200 miles. Team 48 crossed paths with this speedhiker yesterday in Helena National Forest. By 5 p.m., The Onion already had 20 miles under his belt for the day and said he finished his north-bound hike in an impressive 95 days. He was on Day 105 or 106 and heading back to Mexico. So he's hiking about 33 miles a day, plus more miles on re-supply days. You can follow his progress on his blog.

Team AWA (Altitude Without Attitude)

This quick report came in last night from Sean Bullington of Centreville, VA:

"Just wanted to send you a quick update to let you know that we are back from the trip (we got in from Jackson, WY this past Sunday morning). We're sifting through the pics/etc and will be working on the trip report over the next week. Other than some blisters, having longer days than expected, walking through some good storms, seeing tons of wildlife, and having to re-route around a grizzly eating a horse on the trail, the trip went really smoothly! We'll keep you posted as the report gets finished, and here's a pic of us near some thermals on the way to Heart Lake!" Thanks for the great attitude and help, AWA!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Team 48: Day 2

From a windy saddle, Steve Wargo hells out a big thanks to David Payne and Michael Brown who helped his team through a parched and unsigned section of the CDT yesterday in Helena National Forest, Montana. The team completed 11 miles yesterday, and plans to hike 8 today. Listen to podcast below.

GPS Location: 12T o399751E, 5174135N