May
01
2014
0

Backpacking near Blood Mountain Cove

We went backpacking near blood mountain cove. 6.3 miles and 550 Meters elevation gain. (This meets one of the camping merit badge requirements.)

Trail map for the April 26/27 trip

Beware of the locals at the spring by the loop near Jarrard gap. There is something going on there, possibly involving the growth of herbaceous substances, and they are willing to fire warning shots. We missed the turn to the cove proper as it was plowed up for planting deer food and decided to head for nice areas near the gap. Given that we would have had to cross the trigger-happy private land to get back to the rest of the troop on Sunday morning this was probably a blessing.

Scouts on the trail

The woods were just leafing out, and we had nearly ideal weather. The wild flowers were coming out.  The scouts did extremely well, and worked together as a team. Since we hit the trail just before lunch, the distance was on the short side. We met the rest of the troop at Lake Winfield Scott in the morning. The hike was probably a bit hard for the youngest scouts (12 yro), but they made it and more importantly are willing to go again.

Trilliums

A trillium

Another kind of trillium

Written by Rob in: backpacking,outdoors,scouting,trail map |
Oct
28
2013
0

Standing Indian Hike

Just back from a hike with troop 77 on the Appalachian trail.  Troop 77 is quite large and has a good number of dedicated, skilled and trained leaders so we were able to hold three simultaneous outings: a base camp for the youngest scouts, a relatively easy backpacking trip for the intermediate scouts, and a more difficult trip for the older scouts. That’s the one I’m reporting.

The troop booked the kimsey creek group campsite from the national forest service.  We were then shuttled to the Beech Gap trail and walked via the mountain back to the group site. The GPX track is here .

Snapshot from google earch

Snapshot from google earch

The profile is shown here.
profile

The view from the top is spectacular:view from the top

Written by Rob in: backpacking,outdoors,scouting,trail map |
Jul
04
2013
0

A Walk near Siston, UK

Open, mostly, dry mostly about 3.6 miles. Getting my legs stretched for Snowdon. The GPX file is here.

trail map

trail map

Written by Rob in: outdoors,trail map |
Jul
04
2013
0

Another short walk near Frampton Cotteral

trail map

trail map

A pleasant, not too muddy 2.95 mile walk with lots of streams for dogs to play in.  The gpx file is here.

Written by Rob in: outdoors,trail map |
Jun
16
2013
0

Hot, Buggy and Beautiful

We had a chance to visit the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, which is just south of New Orleans and walk on one of the park trails.

It is, be warned, hot (94F, 32C) by 9 am, buggy – mosquitoes and biting flies – , full of wild life and beautiful. We did just under 4 miles in a morning to walk out to a canal to look for aligators

What you can see

What you can see

In addition to alligators we saw several nonpoisonous snakes, a couple of species of lizards, turtles, frogs and several birds, including prothonatory warblers and a swallow-tailed kite (which is a bit rare).

The trail goes through marsh and swamp

A wooded cypress marsh

A wooded cypress marsh

The border of the open swamp

The border of the open swamp

Here are a few of the critter’s we saw

Dragon fly on a Buttonbush

Dragon fly on a Buttonbush

A real gecko

A real gecko

A very large slider/scooter (50cm or so long)

A very large slider/scooter (50cm or so long)

The trail itself is well-shaded and almost all on a boardwalk made from recycled soda bottles.

The trail (mostly)

The trail (mostly)

Google Earth view of the trail

Google Earth view of the trail

A gpx file of the walk is attached here

Written by Rob in: outdoors,trail map,Wildlife |
Mar
21
2013
0

What is the length of a trail?

Last weekend, I went with the scouts to pine mountain.  We did a loop I’d done before . I expected about a twelve mile loop based on an old GPS track I’d made. The new GPS gave 10.1!  We stayed at the new Jenkins Spring campsite which was excellent.  One the chief volunteers in the Pine Mountain Trail association came by and said that there were a lot of Eagle projects to be done on the trail (which is entirely built and maintained with volunteer labor).

new map of the loop

new map of the loop

What’s going on?

The new GPS uses both the Russian and US satellite systems as well as having a more sensitive antenna and thus simply more satellites.  Therefore the distances are more accurate – with less wobble. Also the two systems have different and less correlated systematic errors so that the estimated precision is more accurate with the combination than with either. Thus the ruler used to measure the distance was smaller than before.

On the surface this is sort of an “anti-fractal”. It’s well known, or at least should be, that as rulers get smaller the distances measured gets larger. One simply measures more of the little in and outs on the curve and hence arrives at a longer distance. With the GPS estimates, which depend on point measurements, the idea is a little different. Here there is a swarm of (we can pretend in the limit of large numbers) normally distributed points drawn around a true track. Hence the calculated distance includes the sum of a bunch of random “wobble vectors”. The spread of the wobble is smaller with the new system and so the distance is more accurate. So the fractal measure in this case is actually in the statistics of the sampling and not the curve being measured.

Oct
17
2012
0

Another Pinhoti Trip with the scouts

Last weekend I helped lead a backpacking trip for scouts from my son’s and my new troop (which is much better run than the old one – but that is the subject of a different post). This troop, being huge, splits up into patrol-based or crew-based activities occasionally and this was one of them.

The younger scouts and most of the adults base camped at the chief ladiga campground which sits astride the intersection of the chief ladiga bike trail and the pinhoti trail in north east alabama. Another crew (mostly the Moose patrol) went backpacking on the pinhoti.

We walked just about 6 miles (5.92 by the GPS) to a campsite by the Terrapin creek flood control lake. There is a big field for camping there – so that several crews could camp at once. Fortunately, since we had a scout injure himself with a knife, there is good road access in an emergency.

Trip map.

Trip map.


It is not an insignificant climb as is shown in the profile.
Profile of the trail

Profile of the trail

This hike is a good simalcrum of the trails in Philmont, although it is generally less rocky and a bit more of a single track. There is a fair bit of poison ivy and poison oak so some care is needed – though I wore shorts and didn’t get any so it isn’t too bad. There are a couple of places to pump water.

There were no bears, despite seeing plenty of “sign”, but we did see a yearling timber rattler perched on a small hickory.

Written by Rob in: backpacking,outdoors,scouting,trail map |
Jul
20
2012
0

More Walks in the Cotswalds

A couple more fun strolls in the Cotswalds.

First the “Rock of Ages”. Apparently the rocks in Burrington Coombe (coombe is an Anglo-Saxon word for a valley) were the inspiration for a famous hymn. Pity that they’re clearly sedimentary and preserve fossils which sort of, maybe, make it clear that Adam and Eve are allegorical (at best). None the less there is a fun stroll there. We parked at the Burrington pub (a favourite for cavers) and walked up the down, then down the down.

Track on Burrington Coombe

Track on Burrington Coombe

England has, this year, been rather wet. So it was mucky.

A typical English trail this summer

A typical English trail this summer

That said, there are lots of caves, foxgloves, and a set of tumulus’s on the top.

Another longer hike is around Castle Coombe.

Castle Coombe Walk (one of many)

Castle Coombe Walk (one of many)

This path uses more roads than ideal, and even follows the old coach road for a bit. It also passes the site of a Roman Villa. Not much is visible, but we did see a couple of tile fragments – so the villa was there.

Written by Rob in: outdoors,trail map |
Jul
20
2012
0

Five Hikes near Hayfield

I left my GPS at my brother in laws. Hence the hand drawn maps.

  1. Day 1
    Walk up Kinder Scout

    Walk up Kinder Scout

    Approximately 12-13 miles (shoelace estimate). We started in the morning, ate lunch at Kinder falls and then dinner at the Sportsman’s pub. (Either it or the George are probably the best in town). Exhausted the teenagers.

  2. Day 2

    Lantern Pike

    Lantern Pike


    It rained most of the day – so we only had time for a short walk, 3-4 miles. Out the Seth Vally walk and up the hill. There is an unmarked stub that takes you up to the top. There is a monument to one of the founders of open trail access on the top.
  3. Day 3

    Seth Valley Trail

    Seth Valley Trail


    This is a good one for a rainy day. Walked to New Mills, then along the millennium bridge, up past the train station to the visitors centre. The millennium bridge is along the train embankment and quite impressive. There is an Archimedes Screw used to generate power nearby, which generates about 60KW of power as well as allows the trout and salmon to migrate. The visitor’s centre is well worth the visit (toilets, information and food – as well as friendly directions). Walked up to the post office which is next to a Sainsbury express. Picked up some cider and beer (to slow me down). About 6 miles total.
  4. Day 4
    Hill to the south

    Hill to the south


    8 miles. Good practice walk for the next day. Beautiful views. We had hoped to find a pub/sit down place for food in New Mills for a snack, but missed them.
  5. Day 5

    Walk to Edale

    Walk to Edale


    12-13 miles. Walked up over the Edale pass then along by the southern edge of Kinder scout. This trail is a bit harder than it looks. It took about an hour to get to the pass, then 2 hours to do the same distance on the flat and downhill. The downhill was cute, a nice trail goes to the edge of what appears to be a cliff and then the trail goes down it. Stopped for lunch at the “Old Nags Head Pub”. Then headed to the train station. Unfortunately the trains are every 2 hours. (We’d planned to travel by train to New Mills and walk back from that). So we decided to follow the Pennine way back to Edale pass and then Hayfield. Jacob’s ladder was on the way and turned out to be a non-event. (steep but easy). Picked up fish and chips at the Village Chippy on the way back and a passable bottle of English wine across the street at the village store.
Written by Rob in: outdoors,trail map |
Jul
20
2012
0

A Nice Walk in the Cotswalds

Visiting family in the UK. Had a nice 1.92 mile after dinner stroll on part of the Cotswald way.

Tyndale walk

Tyndale walk

The rainy weather has broken for the last two days so the paths are merely muddy. We drove up to Nibley after dinner and strolled up to the Tyndale monument. Tyndale is an important figure in the reformation – he risked his life to translate the bible into English (something even the Roman Catholics now (reluctantly) accept). The path from the road is a steep but short climb up some rather slippery mud and wood steps. After climbing the tower – and getting a bit dizzy on its spiral staircase – we wandered off through the woods to find Bracken Hill fort. The loop at the end of the trail follows one of its walls. (you can just see it in the picture). It is rather overgrown and would be hard to recognize, except it is being cleared and restored.

There are two approaches to English muck in summer. 1) wear wellies and try to keep your feet dry and 2) wear sandals and just get wet. I tend to like the second of these approaches – you cannot keep the feet dry because they will sweat if nothing else, but the feet dry quickly in sandals. It is the same idea as trail runners and works well as long as you have sandals that fit and give enough support (keens work for me but your mileage may be different)

Written by Rob in: outdoors,trail map |

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