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Be careful out there, folks

Bar Harbor, Maine
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6,217 posts
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Be careful out there, folks

We met a man from Texas and his five-year-old son on Dorr Mountain yesterday. We got to talking. He had only the free map that the Park hands out to motorists. The hiking trails are marked by little dotted lines but not labeled. The poor guy was already tired, mostly because he had given his tired son a piggy-back lift up a long slope. The son was now rested and eagerly moving up the mountain.

However, this man was not on the trail he thought he was on. He wanted to do the Gorge Trail but he was on the north slope of Dorr. We talked for awhile and showed him a better map. But we left him arouind 3:00 in the afternoon with what amonts to a five-hour-hike ahead of him. I couldn't convince him that he didn't really want to do what he thought he wanted to do.

Please, guys, get a good hiking map and a reasonable plan before you set out on the trails of Acadia !!

Salisbury, MD
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1. Re: Be careful out there, folks

BonnieMaey, CWoigt had a similar post and I conveyed my strong support for a portable gps to go along with the map. With all the technology out there, a rather inexpensive gps to go along with the map could have prevented all of this. I take my gps just about everywhere I go, not only for a sense of direction, but also because it is a lot of fun to use one!!

Bar Harbor, Maine
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6,217 posts
8 reviews
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2. Re: Be careful out there, folks

I can't really agree with you on the GPS. I've met a couple on top of a mountain in Acadia that were on the wrong trail even with their GPS. But you did say a good map along with the GPS. A map and some common sense are the most important part.

Salisbury, MD
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3. Re: Be careful out there, folks

If they were on the wrong mountain trail with a gps, then they need to learn their equipment better!!

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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3,879 posts
13 reviews
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4. Re: Be careful out there, folks

"If they were on the wrong mountain trail with a gps, then they need to learn their equipment better!!"

That, I think, is the point. There is a tendency to think that 21st-century technology will handle all problems. However, the technology is no better than the individual employing it. Another way of putting it is that no technology is foolproof because no technology is proof against fools. For many, the low-tech option (a good map) is probably the best option.

Salisbury, MD
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5. Re: Be careful out there, folks

Actually, I was just trying to support your recommendation that a map is, in my opinion, a bare necessity. But, how many people out there have no idea how to use a topo map, how to figure out where north is, know how to match the lay of the land to the contours on the map, etc. From what you both have observed, it sounds like quite a few. That is why I suggested a gps.... It shows your postion on the map and takes all that guess work out. A good gps and topo map program to go along with it is really not that expensive anymore.

Furthermore, if you get lost with a gps loaded with topo maps that SHOWS your current position on the screen in relation to the map itself, then I dont know how one would be able to figure out their position with a topo sheet map where they would have to "guess" their current position. At least with a gps loaded with topo maps one could route to any waypoint, user made or pre loaded for a direct route back to a known position. Not to mention at night in total darkness, one can still navigate IFR to get where they are going. I have done it many times.

Not sure if one realizes it or not, but a gps loaded with topo maps is exactly the same as a sheet topo map (but usually with more detail) only it shows your current position on the map, your track and heading. It takes out all the guessing of trying to figure out where you are by studying the lay of the land and comparing it to a topo map. So, I go back to if they are lost with a gps, then I just cant seem to realize how they would be any better off using a sheet topo map. They pretty much are exactly the same only one shows your current positon and the other doesnt. I would like to think that those that get a gps learn how to use it before hiking, but from what you are both saying, that doesnt seem to be the case. I am sure you both have seen some pretty crazy things in the park.

I would profer that the person lost with the gps had in use the pre loaded base maps which only show major roads. Trying to navigate in country with that data would be like tying a blindfold around your head and looking at a map. Or using a state endorsed road map to hike through the country.

I am not knocking anyone who chooses not to use a gps, but those that do use them and know how to use them will tell you they are totally awesome and reliable. I have been using one for over 5 years now, and I really cant understand how anyone could get lost when using one. But, like I said, I guess you both have seen some silly things in the park. For those that are planning on hiking in the park, just know if you are interested in doing some major hikes such as linking one trail to another, make sure you know how to use either a map or gps.

boe
central NJ
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55 posts
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6. Re: Be careful out there, folks

Speaking of maps, does anyone know of a link to an updated trail map online that could serve to help someone plan some hikes before actually arriving and buying a new map?

Thanks so much!

Virginia
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291 posts
102 reviews
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7. Re: Be careful out there, folks

Here's a map to help you plan some hikes before you get to Acadia:

…utexas.edu/maps/…5Fpark97.pdf

I believe its the same as map of the park you can get at the visitors center. I would not use it as a trail map.

As far as GPS vs "paper" maps, call me old-fashioned. I still love good old maps. You can get a waterproof, tearproof, light-weight detailed map that can fold into your pocket. I find these to be much easier to take along on the trail. Plus I just like looking at maps. I like folding them out oon a table, studying the entire terrain and looking at trails the night before a hike. Heck I even have some framed maps in my house. I just find them fascinating to look at.

I can definitely see the GPS having an advantage when you are bushwhacking. If you are out in a large area that you are unfamiliar with and is not well marked then yeah, GPS is helpful. GPS is pretty cool and one day I'll likely take the plunge but I'll still carry a map with me.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor
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10 reviews
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8. Re: Be careful out there, folks

We have a portable GPS ( a good one) and we often have trouble getting a signal when walking the hiking trails here, especially in really wooded areas. It is often frustrating. While having the GPS can be fun, I would not rely solely on it.

Salisbury, MD
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9. Re: Be careful out there, folks

Signal on mine is great.... even under heavy pines. I am using a Magellan Explorist 600 right now - color screen, fits in the palm of my hand and weighs a few ounces. It takes a sd memory card which I pretty much have the entire mid-atlantic and northeast states topo maps loaded. There is a different type of antenna in this one - heck if I am sitting within 5-10 feet of window inside of my house it picks up a signal. My older one was not so great, though. I have been a lot of places in the park hiking over the last 5 years and never really had a problem though. Even along the gorge path or giant slide everything worked great. But, that is why I said a gps along with a topo map....

Ever use one on a jet? Coolest thing ever - tracks your speed, altitude, towns you are flying over. I routed from Philadelphia to Barbados once and the route time was right on with our landing time.

I guess I am a huge supporter of a gps, obviously. If you know how to use one then they are awesome support for a trip. As far as losing a signal - you shouldnt have to walk far before it picks it up again. I am done with this post, now. It seems technology is not a big plus for a lot of people and my suggestion in support of trying to keep people from getting lost was not well taken.

10. Re: Be careful out there, folks

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