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[pct-l] trail tread

"Trail Chief" said:

> Hey all, I'm doing the PCT thru-hike in 2003 and all this talk about
getting lost and bad trail markers are
> getting me worried.  I do have a GPS but where would I be able to find the
coordinates for the trail?  If I did
> find the coordinates would they be accurate?

I'm only a lowly section hiker, and have only done about 600 miles of PCT ,
but so far the only time I've had real trouble finding trail is when it was
buried under either slash in a clear cut or snow.

Now, I've seen plenty of junctions that weren't marked. Yes, the guidebooks
aren't always accurate, but that's usually because things change in the real
world. That new road is now five years old and rutted. The old road may be
completely overgrown. A new road has been bulldozed through the brush. And
so on.

I would humbly suggest that if a hiker doesn't know how already, they, um,
learn how to read a topo map. The hills and valleys don't (usually) change.
When I've been unsure, I pull out the map, orient it using a compass
(considering magnetic declination), and figure out where in the hill they
are. Don't look at man made features, look at the contour lines. You should
be able to see them as a 3D picture of the area and should usually be able
to figure out where to go.

For example, on top of Trail Pass there is a four way junction. The PCT runs
south to north pretty much along the crest, but there's a large log on the
northern trail. The trail heading west makes a bend north. Without a map,
many hikers might be tempted to descend west and contour on the west face.
The map shows that the trail climbs a slope to the north and then contours
on the east face.

I read the guidebook at home, mark key landmarks on the maps, and then use
only the maps on the trail.