Learning to travel off trail- where to start? | High Sierra Topix  

Learning to travel off trail- where to start?

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Re: Learning to travel off trail- where to start?

Postby zacjust32 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:21 pm

What is your general location? It may be helpful to know what areas are available that are ideal for beginner cross-country travel.
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Re: Learning to travel off trail- where to start?

Postby Cross Country » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:44 pm

After you go to Grouse Lake, hike up to Goat Crest and down to and around to Kid Lakes.
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Re: Learning to travel off trail- where to start?

Postby maverick » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:57 pm

That said the key to off-trail travel is to pay attention to what is around you and what you are doing. From your map you should have a good idea of the topography. Pay attention to drainages on the map and on the ground. Pay attention to the sun if it is out with a watch you can usually determine which way is n. When choosing specific route attend to what is immediately in front and what is up as far as you can see. Sometimes the easy route immediately in front of you will not lead to the fastest travel for the next 1/2 mile so a somewhat awkward jog might actually lead to a better route. Pay attention to terrain! I hate to loose elevation when I know I'm going to have to regain it and maybe more! But...sometimes the long way is faster. Trying to maintain elevation by doing a long traverse across uneven terrain can be much more tiring than going down and around and up. It really is a judgment call. Google earth, before you leave, can help with those decisions. I traversed from Wallace to Wright creeks this summer and it entailed some hellacious talus. But going down further didn't seem to have much better terrain. Going off trail is not an exact science but always involves almost constant corrections and-and adaptations to the terrain as you travel--which is why it is challenging and damn fun!


Would add to all this great additional advice by OR, turn around once in a while, you would be surprised at how many people get disoriented by just trying to follow their routes in reverse. :nod:
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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Re: Learning to travel off trail- where to start?

Postby Pietro257 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:17 pm

Think of it like swimming. At first you stay close to the shore, but as your confidence increases you explore further and further out. Pretty soon you can swim across the lake.

Hiking off-trail adds another dimension to hiking. Instead of always looking forward at the trail, you have to be aware of where you are in the landscape -- forward, backward, left and right; north, south, east and west.

Consult the topo map early and often. Pretty soon you'll learn how the marks on the map correspond to the landscape around you.

If you can get above the timberline, you'll find it much easier to travel off-trail there. The landmarks (peaks, lakes, ridges) are easier to spot without trees blocking your view.

Finally (and it took me years to learn this one) stop from time to time, turn around, and look at where you came from. Look carefully because you might have to backtrack and return there.
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Re: Learning to travel off trail- where to start?

Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:19 am

maverick wrote:
Would add to all this great additional advice by OR, turn around once in a while, you would be surprised at how many people get disoriented by just trying to follow their routes in reverse. :nod:

No kidding. Reverse Route Amnesia has always plagued me.
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