I’d just like to too my own horn a little. Toot-Toot!
The current issue of Backpacker Magazine, February 2007(!) has a short interview with me in it. It’s titled “The PCT Project”. They hooked me up with a GPS, some shoes and socks and funding to hike the trial this summer. In exchange, I kept the GPS on all of the time and recorded waypoints and a track log of the whole trail.
Every 40 feet or so the unit recorded a bread crumb and every mile or so I recorded a waypoint. Waypoints are points of “interest”, so deemed by yours truly. Mostly, waypoints are the water sources, trail junctions and roads along the trail. Some pictures that I took will be attached to the data. The magazine blurb is in print but the data hasn’t been posted yet. Hopefully it will be in then next few days. You’ll see it at backpacker.com/hikes
It’s a pay website ($15/year). But there is a 90-free trial, during which you can download the track and the Google Earth file. Funny thing is, the whole PCT is far too big to load in to a GPS unit. There goes your hopes of hiking the trail with a GPS crutch huh? Luckily, as someone that HAS hiked the PCT with GPS, I can confirm that it’s truly NOT necessary. What this project does provide, is a new detailed track and more importantly a waypointed track! Trust me, it’s super cool when loaded in to Google Earth. And it doesn’t have the weirdness of the Forest Service track which thinks that we want to view the hike southbound.
To you avid thru-hikers, some of the interview might make be seem like a bozo. Trust me, I am. But understand that a magazine interview such as this is largely “paraphrasing” from a long conversation. Still, I’m really happy with the end result. I spent a week in Boulder with the Map staff. They’re top notch and doing some cool GPS mapping of the states. The AT was also (hopefully) mapped this year and they’ve got an interesting project for the CDT next year. I STRONGLY encourage the long distance hiking community to look in to the CDT project. It’s introduced in this same issue and you can sign up for the project (if you so choose) at backpacker.com/cdtmap
– I’ll write again when the track is actually online.
– First person that finds a spike off the trail (which marks a spot where I hiked off to go to the bathroom), gets a fresh, steaming pile of poo via Priority Mail.
– First person that actually uses this track, better give me feedback!
Jack “Union” Haskel
P.S.: Like many hikers in ’06, I skipped a burning section in Oregon around Mt. Jefferson. So there’s a 50+ mile gap in my life which I hope to hike and GPS next summer.