Monday, March 24, 2014

The Modern Hiker

As with every other activity in today's world, hiking has become high-tech. Yesterday I went hiking with my friend, Shannon Blaylock, who has a GPS made for hikers. In the palm of his hand, he had an unbelievable wealth of information.

I've always been a map and compass man, but I have to admit that my friend's GPS gave us some interesting info. It had a topo map of the area we were hiking in (Shining Rock Wilderness Area), and all the hiking trails. We were scouting potential camping sites for future trips, and never got very far off the established trails, so getting lost was never a real danger. Still, knowing how far we had hiked (a little over 7 miles), our elevation at various points, and being able to bookmark spots that looked like good camp sites was helpful.

Where Are We?, Shinning Rock Wilderness Area, NC  -  2014
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

In the photo above, Shannon is checking his GPS where Shining Creek meets the East Fork of the Pigeon River. There's a hole that looked to be about 5-6 feet deep here that would be a good spot for a summertime swim. With temps in the upper 30s, however, we passed on the swimming.

I don't know if I'm ready to go high tech and invest in a GPS yet, but it was intriguing to see some of what one can do. I've got a Silva Ranger compass that I bought when I was 18, and it has gotten me back to the truck for many years without having to worry if the batteries would run out. So, I think I may remain low tech for the present time.

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