Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Saturday, November 11, 2017

SPOT Messenger

I always take my SPOT messenger and cell phone with me when I head out to the backcountry; it's part of my ten essentials.

On a recent trip I sent three "I'm OK" status messages.  My first message was sent at 0900,
then 0915 and a third at about 1000.

I always send at least two messages to my family.  I am on the check in list too just to verify my unit is working.

I found that one message was received at  roughly 1020 but nothing else.

When I returned home one message (one of three) was received at 1600.  The last message was received the next afternoon.  This is the first time that I have had such time late message reception.

I called the manufacturer to sort out what happened.

Most importantly learned that the satellite service for SPOT was degraded that day.

I also learned that the internet provider (AOL.com) was having technical issues receiving and processing SPOT messages.  I then put my .gmail account as an authorized service.

I tested  the messenger from home and received my transmitted data almost immediately.

The manufacturers customer service was excellent.  All my questions were answered. 

For more information and suggestions for using your messenger visit:SPOT Tips


Friday, November 10, 2017

Pacing

 Many outdoorsmen measure distance in the backcountry by using a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver.   GPS receivers are reasonably accurate, real time, and provide distance traveled and distance to a destination.
But what does the hiker do if they don’t have a receiver, the GPS fails or batteries die?
A proven method for estimating distance is known as pacing.  Pacing is not as accurate as the GPS receiver, but it can give a reasonable approximation of the distance traveled.  Together with a map and compass, pacing is an important component of evaluating a hiker’s track through the backcountry.  In darkness or periods of low visibility pacing helps to determine the hiker’s location through a process known as dead reckoning. 
Pacing is a method that begins with measuring one’s stride, with the intent of determining an individual’s length of stride. A pace is a measured two steps; a complete stride.  As illustrated below, every time the right foot hits the ground is one pace. Each pace (two steps) normally measures out to almost 50-60 inches.

Perhaps the best method to determine a hiker’s pace is to record it over a specific distance to determine an average.  Before embarking on the trail, the individual should develop a “pace average” over a controlled area first. 
For example, measure the number of paces for a known distance of 100 yards.  To achieve this, go to a high school foot ball field or track.  Walk along a sideline from end zone to end zone.  Count how many paces it takes to go 100 yards.  Do this eight times and record the total number of paces for each 100 yard event.  Determine the average for all eight 100 yard lengths completed.  The result is that the hiker may determine that the average 100 yard pace count to be 58 ½ paces.  (With children compensate and be mindful of their strides being significantly different, including a skip here and an off trail discovery there.)
Whatever the “pace average” may be, do keep the stride natural and smooth.  Don’t try to exaggerate and unnaturally lengthen the stride.
Don’t get too bogged down in the estimation of the accuracy of the average pace. Of larger importance is to understand the complexity of the terrain and how it will impact stride and a hiker’s “pace average”.   Anticipate strides being different.  Take the time beforehand to imitate a 100 yard course on sloping ground.  Further, try a 100 yard pace in soft soil and hard soil, smooth ground and rocky ground. Move to other locations once an average pace is found on a controlled level environment (football field).  Layout a 100 yard course on sloping ground. 
Pacing over long distance can become quite boring and the hiker easily distracted.  This is especially true when the pace count is in the hundreds.  Was that pace 545 or 554?  In such cases pacing beads may be a useful tool.  Pacing beads can be purchased from online venders or made at home using paracord and simple beads. 
A quick Google search will turn up several methods for using pacing beads.  For example, Wikipedia states that “As users walk, they typically slide one bead on the cord for every ten paces taken. On the tenth pace, the user slides a bead in the lower section towards the knot. After the 90th pace, all 9 beads are against the knot. On the 100th pace, all 9 beads in the lower section are returned away from the knot, and a bead from the upper section is slid upwards, away from the knot.”
Pacing beads can be an important asset when Dead Reckoning (known as DR) with a map and compass.  Vigilant compass sighting and a steady “pace average” helps provide a rough approximation of both distance and direction when moving through the backcountry.








Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Compass Tune-Up


Recently I was watching a rifle expert on one of the many outdoor cable shows.   This gent is a noted ballistics expert, writer and occasional backcountry guide.  During a segment of the interview he was demonstrating what was in his day pack.  It kept my interest, had the
Compass practice in a navigation class
 Outdoor Quest image
ten essentials, and all was going just fine until he brought out his compass.  It looked like a wonderful antique, might have come across the Great Plains and Rockies with Lewis and Clark –but in terms of reliability-it was questionable. The sad part is he spent absolutely no time discussing key factors of having a reliable compass.  He touched his compass and quickly put it down. 

And touching a compass is about all that most people do too.  Hunters preparing to go afield will spend hours with their rifle at the range evaluating their zero, adjusting optics, and measuring the initial velocity of that hot new round.  Navigation takes time to get dialed in too.

Navigation is not “rocket science” but it takes practice.  It is a perishable skill.  The analogy that I use in my wilderness navigation classes is that you can hop on a bike after not riding one for ten years and head on down the road.  But trying to triangulate after ten months can be a chore.

 For starters, you need a decent compass.  Leave the $5.00 compass on the shelf at the store.  For more information on buying a compass check out my article on selecting a compass.

Here are a few recommendations for a compass tune up:

·     Store your compass in a safe spot.  Keep the compass off the dash of the rig, away from flashlights and the GPS.  Let’s not take a chance that an electrically induced magnetic field will degrade your compass.

·     Compare your compass with another to verify that the red needle is pointing to magnetic north.   Take it a step further and find a road in town that is aligned north/south.   Most likely it will be aligned in degrees true; as in true north.  Again, verify that the compass is pointing correctly.  Do this for every compass you own.

·     Is the compass leaking?  Is there an air bubble floating in the compass housing?  I “deep six” (toss) those units.

·     Brush up on your compass navigation skills.   June Fleming’s book “Staying Found” is a excellent read.     Practice shooting a bearing, triangulating your position and orienting your map and compass to your surroundings.

·     Review the components of a Topographic map.  Start with the USGS’ site here.

·     Insure you have the compass adjusted to the correct declination.

·     Practice with your children.  Give them a good education with a map and compass before you give them a GPS.

·     Don’t depend on your friends being the navigation experts.  Make it a goal to exceed their skills.  You might find that your initial impression was mistaken. Instead of a “sense of direction” develop the skill of navigation.

Practice with a compass is essential to safe wilderness travel.  To quote Fleming, “The key to knowing where you are is constant awareness.”





Thursday, October 26, 2017

Maps for Emergency Evacuation

My friend Leon at the blog www.survivalcommonsense.com has a great post on the maps you should have during emergency evacuation

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Adventures In Stoving

You have to just like Hiking Jim's blog "Adventures in Stoving."  This is a blog to book mark.


Right now he a has a post reviewing a stove system and a methodology on how to determine how much stove fuel to take in to the back country.


Great  work.




Adventure In Stoving Image.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Using Your Cell Phone In The Backcountry

Last month Jenny Rough wrote an interesting article about why it is a mistake to count  on a cell phone when you go hiking.  Her article was featured in the Washington Post.

She stressed that basic navigation "is a use-it-or-lose-skill.  How true.



The thrust of the post is that hikers have an over dependence of electronic navigation while forsaking the rudimentary  principles of using a map and compass. 

Take a look at Jenny's post.

Visit my other articles on land navigation too:












Sunday, October 1, 2017

What Is An Azimuth


An azimuth is the angular direction to an object.  Azimuths are described commonly in degree increments from either true, magnetic or grid north.

In the world of recreational navigation, GPS receiver operations and orienteering the use of the term “bearing” has become synonymous with azimuth.

Azimuth direction is measured from north clockwise in 360° increments. The point from which the azimuth originates is from the center of an imaginary circle.  This imaginary point is the operator.


Azimuth can be measured with a magnetic compass, a map and by rough estimation using the sun and North Star.


Azimuths can be expressed in degrees true and degrees magnetic.  Degrees true uses the north pole as the principle reference while degrees magnetic refers to reference from the magnetic pole.

Outdoor Quest Image
For more information on bearings and azimuth read Making Sense of The Declination Diagram.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Magnetic Declination

Declination: A Noun. The horizontal angle between the true geographic North Pole and the magnetic North Pole, as figured from a specific point on the Earth.”


 Declination is a term that causes “brain cramps” for many of my students in my map and compass classes. When I mention Magnetic Declination eyes roll.


The web site www.magnetic-declination.com has an excellent discussion of what declination is and what causes it:


“Magnetic declination varies both from place to place, and with the passage of time. As a traveler cruises the east coast of the United States, for example, the declination varies from 20 degrees west (in Maine) to zero (in Florida), to 10 degrees east (in Texas), ......the magnetic declination in a given area will change slowly over time, possibly as much as 2-25 degrees every hundred years or so.......... Complex fluid motion in the outer core of the Earth (the molten metallic region that lies from 2800 to 5000 km below the Earth's surface) causes the magnetic field to change slowly with time."

Land navigation is based on the relationship to the North Pole; also known as “true north.  The measure of degrees of direction in relation to true north is called “degrees true.”  Maps are laid out in degrees true.  Land features (buttes, mountains, streams) on a topographic map are in reference to degrees true.  By that I mean the bearing from one mountain peak to another will be referenced in degrees true.  The map below illustrates that point. 









Magnetic compasses do not point to true north (the North Pole); the magnetic needle points to an area that could be considered the magnetic North Pole. 
As illustrated below, declination data can be found in the diagram at the bottom of a USGS topographic map, (on some commercially produced maps it can be hard to find.) 

Because declination changes over time, I recommend that map declination information be verified at www.magnetic-declination.com.   This is essential in the Pacific Northwest where maps are notoriously out of date in terms of road,  and city data.
So, how do we make this simple?  How do we convert magnetic to degrees true?
I could do the math.  In Oregon, where I live, the magnetic declination is 15.6° East declination.

My recommendation: have the compass do the work so that there is no confusion with the math.

To do this, I need to choose a compass that can be adjusted for declination.  Examples are the Silva Ranger or the Suunto M3.

With one of these compasses, the compass dial or housing is adjusted and rotated manually.  Both the Suunto and Silva Ranger come with a small, flat adjusting tool.  Consult with owner’s manual that came with the compass.

If declination is Easterly (Western U.S.) I will rotate the dial causing the baseplate’s orienting arrow to move in a clockwise direction.

   If declination is Westerly (Eastern U.S.) I will rotate the dial causing the baseplate’s orienting arrow to move in a counter-clockwise direction.

Now, adjust the dial and align the red magnetic needle on top of the orienting arrow (the red arrow engraved on the baseplate) the compass will provide directions in degrees true.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

GPS Tune Up

Hunters, this is a great time to tune-up and practice with a GPS receiver.  There are several things the one can do before leaving home.   Here are a few recommendations to consider.

Setup

  • Dump those old AA batteries, put in new ones.  If you leave your GPS on all day in the
    Garmin Image
      field expect to change the batteries nightly.  Consider using lithium AA’s, they last longer and work better in cold temperatures. 

  • “Match the map” with the receiver’s navigation selection options. Specifically, match the coordinate system (e.g., UTM or Latitude/Longitude) and map datum that are found on the map.  Consider shifting the receiver’s compass to degrees true.  Further, let’s have everyone in a hiking or hunting group use the same settings too; let’s all be on the same page.

  •  Keep you navigation simple.  It’s easier to work with a handful of waypoints rather than list of 300.  Dump the Junk - Delete the old waypoints, the ones you will never use again.  Log important waypoints (e.g., that lake side camp site) on your PC or in a notebook.  Visit www.easygps.com or www.garmin.com for a place to store waypoints.

  • Install maps on your GPS receiver.  Maps on the receiver are a natural complement to your paper field map.   Quality maps are available from onxmaps.com and GPSFiledepot.com (free).

  • Adjust your map pages’ zoom setting to see what works best.  For general trail hiking I  keep my zoom setting at 800 feet.  This setting allows me to view trails, water sources, roads and elevation contours.

  • Visit the manufacture’s web site to see if there are any firmware updates.  I do this every couple of months.

  • When batteries are replaced calibrate the electronic compass.

Tune-up

  • Verify that you are receiving enough satellite signals.  Check this on the satellite status screen.  Four satellites are the minimum.  Give older receivers the time to collect satellite data; don’t rush the navigation process.
  • Give key waypoints names.  When marking a waypoint enter names like “camp” and “truck.”  It’s easier and more meaningful to find “truck” in the list of waypoints than is waypoint 542; or was it 245.  

·        After marking a waypoint, verify that it has been saved to the receiver's memory by checking either the map page or in the waypoint file (select “where to” or “find.”)  If the waypoint is on the map or in the list of waypoints, the hiker is ready to go.  If the waypoint is not found, start over.

·      
Outdoor Quest Image
 When it’s time to return to a destination chose “Where To” or “Find” on your keypad or menu.  Select the waypoint from the list provided.  Press the “Page” button and rotate through the many displays to the “Compass” page.  A large red arrow should appear on the face of the compass pointing to the selected waypoint.  When on course to the destination the arrow points to the top center of the receiver.  Practice this specific process at home before heading to the field.

  • Navigation is a perishable skill.  I recommend that two weeks before an outing take the GPS receiver everywhere.  Add waypoints, delete waypoints and find a saved waypoint.  This process develops familiarization with the unit and allows the user to develop confidence with the receiver      and personal ability.


  • Compliment GPS skills with a good review of map and compass fundamentals. Learn to back up electronic position fixing with bearing triangulation.   Worst case, a broken GPS becomes a paperweight for your map while afield.  For more information visit www.outdoorquest.blogspot.com .

·         When on the trail compare GPS position data with a map.  Compare what is presented electronically with what is on the map.

I suggest checking out Lawrence Letham’s book GPS Made Easy from the library.  This book compliments the owner’s manual.  An excellent reference for map and compass use is June Fleming’s Staying Found.

Taking a class can further enhance you GPS knowledge.  Classes are frequently offered through the local community college’s continuing education program or at local retailers such as  REI.

A map and compass always goes with me into the field.  I carry a Silva Ranger compass and get my maps from Caltopo.com  (their maps are free.)

Have fun while building on your fundamental navigation skill sets.  Consider setting up a treasure hunt or a geocach for a family get together.  Make it fun, make it simple and explain that these skills could one day make a huge difference if the ever got lost in the woods. 




Saturday, September 16, 2017

Essential Camping Supplies for Your Outdoors Adventure

Are you new to camping?  If so then Lee has provided some nice recommendations for your considerations.

Camping is the perfect way to rejuvenate yourself by getting in touch with nature.  Before you begin your trip into the bush, you need to pack essential supplies to make the trip safer and more comfortable. This list of basics can help you decide what is a must-have for your vacation.

Food and Food Storage
A cooler with ice keeps fresh food safe to eat. Try freezing bottles of water at home, rather than using bagged party ice, to keep good fresher. Bottles won't leak water on your food like bagged ice, and bottles of water stay frozen longer than bagged ice.

You should also bring plenty of water for cleaning, drinking and waking up, a water reusable water bottle for each person in the group, and emergency, non-perishable food supplies like meal bars. Emergency food supplies are particularly important if you are camping in a remote area where medical help isn't readily available.

Lanterns and Personal Lighting
Torches, lanterns and other portable lighting devices are essential when camping. Choose lights that have LED bulbs for optimum brightness and improved efficiency, and bring along extra batteries to keep your campsite well-lit. In addition to lanterns, bring a headlamp for each member of the camping party. Headlamps allow you to easily walk through unfamiliar places and make nighttime chores much easier.

Campfire Alternatives
Along with pots and pans, you should bring asking a backup cooking device to prepare masks. Campfires aren't allowed during early summer, and total fire ban are in effect anytime the risk of fire is high.

To further improve fire safety, avoid throwing lit cigarettes on the ground while camping. Switching to a vape kit is an option that reduces fire risks in dry weather. You can find a vape starter kit page fit everything you need to easily make the switch while camping.

Garbage Bags and Cleanup Supplies
Everything you take into the bush must be carried out, making garbage bags a must-have for canning. Check your campsite thoroughly for even small pieces of garbage to keep the Australian Outback as pristine as it was before your arrival.

To prevent damaging the local environment, consider taking items that are environmentally friendly, such as biodegradable products and organic, biodegradable cleaning supplies. Reusable projects are ideal for both camping and home use.

Personal Supplies
Lip balm, baby wipes and other grooming supplies can make your camping trip more comfortable. Bring sunscreen along in both winter and summer to prevent sunburn, and pack moisturizer and lip balm to soothe your skin while camping during the winter months.

Extra Clothes
Proper attire is more important than you might think, so be prepared to bring the proper thing. Clothes that layer easily allow you to stay comfortable during cool nights ave hot days. Opt for natural materials like cotton or work, and pack a selection of both long and short sleeved t-shirts to comfortably layer.

Other clothes to pack include pants, shorts and a sweater or jacket. Don't forget to bring plenty of socks so you can keep your feet clean and dry throughout the camping trip.

Medical Supplies
A comprehensive first aid kit can be life-saving in an emergency, but also makes camping more comfortable when minor issues arise. Antihistamines, pain and fever reducers, bandages and daily prescription medicines are the foundation of your medical kit.

Add extra supplies based on the season, and take extra supplies if you are camping in a remote area. For instance, space blankets are a good addition when camping in winter, while water purification tablets are recommended when camping in more remote locations.

Customize your medical kit if children or people with health concerns are joining your group. With all the basic supplies on-hand, camping if an adventure that everyone can comfortably enjoy anytime of the year.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Escape or Shelter In Place


A few years ago I wrote a short post about Planing  Your Escape Route.  I recommended that when evaluating an escape route I suggested that the hiker consider several elements. 
First, take a look at your topographic map and tail guides to determine potential escape routes.  Evaluate the terrain.  Are there barriers due to slope and vegetation?  This is especially true should the hiker need to “bush whack” cross country.  A conversation with a ranger can be invaluable.

Right now my home state of Oregon is ablaze with wild fires.  Fires are everywhere.  Here is an overview of all the fires as of 8/30/2017.

Just recently over 100 hikers found them selves stranded as fire closed their trail and were trapped between blazes.  They have been rescued, they survived and they are lucky.






Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Stowing Your Clothes In a Pack

A few weeks ago a family friend asked me to go over what should be in their son's pack and review a few backcountry  techniques.

So, three days later Nick and his buddy Daniel are at my door with a surprise guest, Nick's 
Mom.

We had a great three hour session.  Very straight forward.  Perfect for a summer hike.

Towards the end of our time together, Daniel showed me a novel way to stow ones clothing in a pack.  A day's collection of clothing rolled up into a simple bundle.

Step 1 - Layout the gear.  All the clothing is light weight.



Step 2 - Fold up the gear.  Place clothing so that it can be rolled from bottom to top.  Note that the sock's opening is outward.


Step 3 - Begin rolling.  Keep it tight.



Step 4 - With the bundle tightly rolled, roll the sock backward over the clothes.



That's it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nine Navigation Steps to Take At the Trail Head

The following are nine quick navigation steps to take to ensure one’s navigation kit is set up to best support a hike.
Blake Miller/outdoor quest image

1.     GPS Batteries – load fresh batteries and carry extra for both the GPS and flashlight.

2.     Calibrate the GPS receiver’s compass after every battery change.

3.     Magnetic Compass adjusted for declination – Visit www.magnetic-declination.com for the most current declination value.  Declination changes over time (how old is that map?) and location.

4.     Dump the junk – How many waypoints are stored in the waypoint manager file.  Dump the old waypoints to the absolute minimum; this helps to keep navigation simple.

5.     Match the GPS receiver’s compass to the magnetic compass and the map.   .  Maps are usually set to degrees true.  Have the GPS and Magnetic compass match the topo map.

6.     Erase old track data – clean up the old the track (bread crumb trail) information.  Get rid of
Blake Miller/outdoor quest image
the clutter.

7.     Remember to stow the maps.  I use maps from www.caltopo.com and will occasionally carry maps from a hiking guides.  Maps are stowed in a zip lock gallon bag or rugged water proof map case.

8.     Mark a waypoint – Give key waypoints a name like “trl hed” or “camp.”  Select waypoint manager to verify that the information has been saved to memory.  If “trl hed” can be viewed on the waypoint manager file or viewed from the map page the hiker is all set.

9.    
Blake Miller/outdoor quest image
Orient the map at the trail head.


Everyone in the hiking group should be on the same page in regard to navigation settings.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

5 Things to Look for When Backpacking the Appalachian Trail


The low cost of backpacking travel makes it possible to visit most places of the world in an economical and more personable manner. The Appalachian mountains are one beautiful travel location for people to backpack. The mountainous region is made up of thirteen various divisions. The Appalachians are 1,500 miles in length and a little over 2 miles in height. The mighty Appalachians mountain range makes for a breathtaking hike for backpackers. Here are the things to look for as you backpack the wild Appalachian trail.

Enjoy all the Scenic Sights
The fact is the entire range is beautiful and breathtaking. Keep your eyes open and take in all of the sights. Admire the wildlife too. There is plenty of animals and plant life to look at while hiking. Be careful though of wild animals that may pose a harm. You should additionally be wary of certain bugs, such as ticks. Ticks can give you some diseases, like the dreaded and harmful Lyme's disease. Bring along a camera in case of the chance you may want to snap photographs of some of the things you will see on the Appalachian trail.

Don't Over Plan
The fact is you don't know what the weather will be and what kind of a pace you will have while hiking the Appalachian trail. Avoid over planning for your backpacking excursion. This will allow you to enjoy the sightseeing along the way and not focus too much on the plan you made. You also don't want to hike too quickly from having to stick to a too intense plan, because you will burn yourself out far too quickly. You should savor the Appalachian trail's sights.

Stops to Pack Your Backpack Comfortably and Effectively
Pay attention to where you can stop to pack your backpack comfortably and effectively. There are numerous little towns along the Appalachian mountains. These little towns have plenty of suppliers for backpackers to shop at when restocking their supplies. Remember to never over pack your backpack. Only pack comfortably and effectively to make your backpacking experience the best it can be. Pack the right amount of food, camping supplies, water canteens, and clothing at each stop you have in the small towns along the trail. You can add a few lightweight items to make the backpacking experience more comfortable for yourself. Perhaps you can pack a camera. If you are a fan of vaping, you should bring along a light weight vape pen and a vape pen charger. You can charge it up at various stops along the trail.

Look for Appalachian Trail Markers
The markers for the Appalachian trail are white markers on trees, handrails, rocks, and posts. These markers allow you to know you are following the right trail. One white mark means you are following the trail. Two white marks means there is a change in the trail or two different directions you can take. You will need a map or a compass for these parts of the trail. Piles of rocks may also be used as markers in a few parts of the trails. There are some segments of the Appalachian trail that are not marked very much due to conservation efforts to keep certain areas of the trail as natural as possible. If you backpack those parts of the trail, you ought to bring a compass and a map for certain.

Food and Beer Locations to Stop at from Georgia to Maine
On the Appalachian trail you will eat healthy and get a pretty intense workout for your body. You'll enjoy the physical fitness you will achieve. However, you will likely crave drinks and greasy food whenever you stop in the small towns along the way. You will come across plenty of small towns with beer and food venues to die for during your backpacking. The top seven stops for beer and food from the Appalachian range all the way from Georgia to Maine for thru backpackers are: Spring Creek Tavern and Inn, Damascus Brewery, Devil's Backbone Brewery, Doyle, Woodstock Inn, The Gypsy Joynt, and Sarge's Sports Bar and Grill.
5 Things to Look for When Backpacking the Appalachian
The low cost of backpacking travel makes it possible to visit most places of the world in an economical and more personable manner. The Appalachian mountains are one beautiful travel location for people to backpack. The mountainous region is made up of thirteen various divisions. The Appalachians are 1,500 miles in length and a little over 2 miles in height. The mighty Appalachians mountain range makes for a breathtaking hike for backpackers. Here are the things to look for as you backpack the wild Appalachian trail.

Enjoy all the Scenic Sights
The fact is the entire range is beautiful and breathtaking. Keep your eyes open and take in all of the sights. Admire the wildlife too. There is plenty of animals and plant life to look at while hiking. Be careful though of wild animals that may pose a harm. You should additionally be wary of certain bugs, such as ticks. Ticks can give you some diseases, like the dreaded and harmful Lyme's disease. Bring along a camera in case of the chance you may want to snap photographs of some of the things you will see on the Appalachian trail.

Don't Over Plan
The fact is you don't know what the weather will be and what kind of a pace you will have while hiking the Appalachian trail. Avoid over planning for your backpacking excursion. This will allow you to enjoy the sightseeing along the way and not focus too much on the plan you made. You also don't want to hike too quickly from having to stick to a too intense plan, because you will burn yourself out far too quickly. You should savor the Appalachian trail's sights.

Stops to Pack Your Backpack Comfortably and Effectively
Pay attention to where you can stop to pack your backpack comfortably and effectively. There are numerous little towns along the Appalachian mountains. These little towns have plenty of suppliers for backpackers to shop at when restocking their supplies. Remember to never over pack your backpack. Only pack comfortably and effectively to make your backpacking experience the best it can be. Pack the right amount of food, camping supplies, water canteens, and clothing at each stop you have in the small towns along the trail. You can add a few lightweight items to make the backpacking experience more comfortable for yourself. Perhaps you can pack a camera. If you are a fan of vaping, you should bring along a light weight vape pen and a vape pen charger. You can charge it up at various stops along the trail.

Look for Appalachian Trail Markers
The markers for the Appalachian trail are white markers on trees, handrails, rocks, and posts. These markers allow you to know you are following the right trail. One white mark means you are following the trail. Two white marks means there is a change in the trail or two different directions you can take. You will need a map or a compass for these parts of the trail. Piles of rocks may also be used as markers in a few parts of the trails. There are some segments of the Appalachian trail that are not marked very much due to conservation efforts to keep certain areas of the trail as natural as possible. If you backpack those parts of the trail, you ought to bring a compass and a map for certain.

Food and Beer Locations to Stop at from Georgia to Maine

On the Appalachian trail you will eat healthy and get a pretty intense workout for your body. You'll enjoy the physical fitness you will achieve. However, you will likely crave drinks and greasy food whenever you stop in the small towns along the way. You will come across plenty of small towns with beer and food venues to die for during your backpacking. The top seven stops for beer and food from the Appalachian range all the way from Georgia to Maine for thru backpackers are: Spring Creek Tavern and Inn, Damascus Brewery, Devil's Backbone Brewery, Doyle, Woodstock Inn, The Gypsy Joynt, and Sarge's Sports Bar and Grill.