Hike Planner Help Page
What is This?
This is a tool used to plan long distance hiking trips. It dynamically creates a plan based on your hiking style, terrain and other important factors. A spreadsheet or other trail planners use static methods to create a plan. You do not move down the trail at some predefined speed. There's a reason you hike 100 miles differently at the beginning of the trail compared to the end of the trail.
This is the only planner that captures the dynamic nature of planning a long distance hike.
Quick Start Guide
How do I create a plan?
That's it! You must be logged in to save your plan. That's important to know before you make a lot of edits.
Also, you may want to...
Consider zero/nero days. In terms of where and when, this is the single most important thing you can do to create an accurate plan. The catch is, you don't know exactly when, where or how long you are going to stop. You have a good idea of where your resupply packages are going to go, but you may not know how long you'll be there. Do your best! This goes a long way in creating a better plan.
What is a zero/nero day? From the moment you step off the trail, to the moment you step back on the trail counts as a zero/nero. If it's less than a day that means 'nero'. Travel time can be significant or not so much. A trail town like Cascade Locks is right on the trail, no travel time to or from the trail. On the other hand, leaving the trail for Bishop may mean a whole day just in travel time to and from the trail.That doesn't count the time you spend in town! Defining what a zero is can be very important to the accuracy of your plan.
So, what am I looking at?
If you didn't move the 'Style Slider' or change zero day values the plan represents a completely generic, average plan. This is a good place to start. The 'Section Days' column is important, it tells you how many days between resupply. More than 7 days it will be 'red'. The 'Section MPD' column tells you how many miles you must cover a day to reach your next resupply. Your MPD differs from section to section as dictated by terrain and other factors. Moving the 'Style Slider' will affect your MPD and 'Section Days' inversely.
How fast and how far will contribute significantly to the quality of a hike and it's different for each and every one of us. Not better or worse, just different.
Making it your own
This is the fun part! Here's a look at some of the options:
Select the trail you're going to hike.
Choose the date you wish to start. (or arrive, see next)
Checking this checkbox will cause your start date to be used as an arrival date at the location you select below. It's a big snow year and you don't want to arrive at Kennedy Meadows before June 20th? Set a date of June 20th above, check this box and select Kennedy Meadows from the box below. Want to get off the trail at Reno for a wedding on a certain date? Use the same steps. Your start date is determined by your arrival date.
All of your saved plans can be loaded from this list box (you need to be logged in to see them). Note, you can only have 1 plan for a given trail on a given year, ie, you can't have 2 PCT plans in 2017.
Choose start location of your hike. Typically, this is a resupply location. If you check the 'Show significant road crossings' (see below) you can also use any significant road crossing as a start/end location.
Choose your end location. Same rules apply as start location.
This will show significant paved & forestry road crossings in the start/end location list boxes as well as your resulting plan.
Move the slider to the location that you feel best reflects your hiking style. It's that easy.
This is one part of our dynamic method of building a hiking plan. Frankly, you don't know what your average speed will be, nor do you know how much climbs will slow you down. It varies depending on your conditioning, terrain, time on trail, elevation and other factors. You might know an overall average at the the END of your hike, but even that value is useless in planning any given trail section and any plan but your own.
You'll want to add/remove resupply locations. Use the 'Add Location' list box and your plan will be updated when you select a location. Be sure to add zero days.
Check the checkbox on the far left side of the row and click 'Update Plan' or 'Save Plan'. Zero days and notes you may have typed in will be lost.
Each location has a 'notes' link. Click this to show/hide expanded information about the location. Here you can add your own custom notes.
Here you'll also find links to a google topo map centered on this location, current weather, data book and elevation profiles.
The older spreadsheet-esque planner is still used in the case your trail is not specified in the new planner. This will be most cases. Otherwise, the new planner is integrated into your journal instead of the old one.
If you create a plan with the new planner it will take precedence over your old plan. If you wish to view/edit your old plan you must delete your plan created with the new planner.
You're still here???
Have fun out there on the trails and remember to always be careful! Now go plan a hike!
-postholer Sep 1, 2015
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