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Buck30 - Hot Springs Trail Journal - 2017

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Brian (Buck-30)
Begins: May 6, 2017
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Wed, May 3rd, 2017
Start: San Diego
End: San Diego
Daily Distance: 0
Trip Distance: 12.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 824
Journal Visits: 50,229
Guestbook Views: 333
Guestbook Entrys: 10

Hot Springs Trail Planning

Even though only 2 people have completed the Hot Springs Trail, planning hasn’t been all that difficult. That’s primarily because Zoner has created a massive guidebook. The more I’ve looked through it, the more I’ve realized what an enormous effort it must have been to create something so detailed. It’s really refreshing too in this day and age of technology. With most other trails going to solely GPS apps (even the Great Divide Trail has an app now); I really appreciate having a printed guidebook. Back in my early days on the PCT (2004) I carried the Wilderness Press guidebooks. There was no other option, no GPS’s, no apps. I tore out each day’s pages and put them in my pocket. All day I would follow along with my progress and the guidebook. Bits of history were in there, flora, fauna, little stories. Things that you can’t get by staring at a GPS. It’s really a shame to hike a trail without knowing anything about the land you are walking through. I realize that technology has taken over everything and I embrace it as well, but I REALLY appreciate having a guidebook along for the hike. I actually carried the PCT guidebooks a second time in 2009 and read every damn work again. The Jim Wolf CDT guidebooks in 2005 were amazing. No one carries them now, they’ve been replaced by a Guthook app and a big piece of the trail is lost in my opinion.

Anyway, so planning hasn’t been too hard due to Zoner’s guidebook. Here’s what I’ve done:

· Tore up the guidebook into segments which my off trail manager (Dad!) will mail to me maybe once a month. I’m not a big fan of mail drops but I’ll need shoes every so often too and can combine that with sections of the guidebook. I refuse to carry the entire guidebook (it’s gotta be like 2 pounds!) like Zoner and Bernie did last year!

· Made myself an Excel resupply summary. Mostly I pulled information out of the guidebook, paired with information from Bernie and summarized it into an excel spreadsheet and figured out where I’ll resupply. I typically like to do as few boxes as possible and I should be able to get away with just a few.

· Talked to Bernie a lot. Bernie and Stacey were the first other than Zoner to hike the HST last year (Stacey didn’t quite finish it all as she got off for a big chunk to take some Amish friends on a National Park tour!). I met them back in 2004 I believe and we’ve loosely kept in touch over the years. They have hiked a ton of miles and provided a lot of good insight into the trail as well as Bernie’s blog which told the story of their hike in a really nice picture type blog. A highly recommended way to get a good feel for what that trail is like.


· Made myself a GPS track of the trail. Since Zoner has never GPS’d the trail and only he and Bernie have hiked the trail, there is no GPS track of the trail which is fine by me. I actually wish it would stay that way but probably not. I considered GPS-ing the entire trail for Zoner, but ultimately I feel like it leads to increased popularity with people who otherwise couldn’t hike a trail like this. But I created one by hand using Caltopo which is kind of a nice little backup to have. It’s only accurate to the extent that it’s an estimate of where the trail goes, but in a pinch can be really helpful. Especially when dirt road walking and figuring out which random road to take. This week Zoner sent me his GPS trace and I replaced mine with his as his is probably a bit more accurate, but I really enjoyed making mine. I felt like I could visualize the trail as I was tracing it through Caltopo.

· Traced the trail on the Delome Atlas. This is more old school I guess but it used to be nice to have a big overview of the area in case you needed to bail out for whatever reason or take an alternate. Given the possible snow and fire issues on the HST this seems nice to have. Plus my friends I am staying with had all the Delorme HST states so I just roughly traced the trail, scanned it to a PDF and put it on my phone.

· Maps: This was probably the biggest planning decision I had to make. The guidebook has small black and white maps. They are pretty hard to read. You can’t really even see elevation/contour line numbers and lots of other features. Personally, I couldn’t solely use these for navigation. I was planning on creating a set of maps on my own but then the guidebook maps have tons of little notes on them and also distances so it was going to be a big process to hand write all that data on my printed maps or carry 2 sets of maps. Ultimately I decided that the guidebook maps, paired with the incredible amount of guidebook trail descriptions and my GPS would be adequate and I wouldn’t produce my own set of larger color maps.

· And I found someone to hike with. This is kind of unusual for me. Usually I either hike on my own or hike a trail with someone I’ve known for a while. I don’t think I’ve ever started a trail with someone I’ve never technically met. But both Heather and I had been messaging with Bernie and he put us in touch with each other. Heather is a Triple Crowner as well as a bunch of other trails in Europe, etc. She has the experience and we seemed to get along so we’ve decided to start together. It kind of seemed a shame on a trail with maybe only a handful of hikers to start a few days apart and maybe never see each other. We’ve kind of agreed to just see how it goes. We both seem to be pretty self-sufficient and used to hiking alone or with others. It sounds like our paces are a bit different, but that we probably cover the same number of miles daily or weekly. I could see us kind of leap frogging each other daily and then mostly camping together and trying to hit towns at the same time. Kind of like Skittles and I did recently on the Greater Patagonian Trail, although we were a little more attached due to the developing country / we don’t speak the language issues. It’s actually pretty unusual to find someone qualified to hike a trail like the HST that you might get along with. There just aren’t that many people out there that have the time, money and skills.

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Journal Photo

The Hot Springs Trail: The Hot Springs Trail Is A 2,421-mile Backpacking Route That Connects Sacred Places With Healing Waters.


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