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[at-l] Re: Dumb Question
The only dumb question remains those left unasked. How else can we learn. In
fact, the use of double blazes has been much debated by trail maintainers
over the years.
The double blaze is used most frequently to indicate a turn, but it is
actually intended to be a heads up to hikers. It can indicate changes other
thana turn such as when a double blaze comes at the start of a field where
you need to look to find the markers (usually a blaze on a post) crossing the
clearing or one on a tree across the clearing.
For many years, Ed Garvey campaigned to have offset blazing (that is putting
the top blaze to either the left or right of the bottom blaze to indicate the
direction of the turn). Many maintainers favored this approach while others
protested it was impractical. After all there are many times (on switchbacks
for example) when a single tree has a blaze that can be seen by both
northbound and southbound hikers. How would you offset the blaze in a case
In time, many clubs began to put offset blazing into use while others shunned
it. This lack of cohesion which Garvey's suggestion promoted was something
Garvey wanted to put to rest with an official policy.
Several years ago (at the bienniel meeting in Virginia), the ATC voted in a
general membership meeting to approve that each club could set an offset
blazing policy and that all maintainers within that club must conform to the
club policy. For that reason, you will still pass through areas with no
offset blazes and at other times hike for hundreds of miles with every turn
marked by an offset blaze.
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