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Map Question

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Ray52

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Map Question
« on: July 15, 2007, 08:37:14 PM »
Sort of related to Randell's "To-Do List" posted elsewhere but don't want to hijack an interesting thread so I'll post this one here.  My own short list are backpacking trips on the Outer Mountain Loop and the Marufo Vega Trail and I'm wondering what maps of these trails I should have...and of course where can I get them?  I can't even begin to speculate on a date for either trip as it could be a matter of months from now, or a few years, but I can use that time to improve my map skills and want to order them soon.  

Also, would it be suicidal to attempt either of these in the hot months....May thru October?  

As always, thanks for your suggestions.

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Offline presidio

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Re: Map Question
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2007, 09:23:23 PM »
Quote from: "Ray52"
I'm wondering what maps of these trails I should have...and of course where can I get them?


Well, I don't have it in front of me, but I seem to recall the tyvek whole-park NGS map shows the 24k topo grid somewhere on it. It's a simple matter to match up the trail with what you need.

You can do pretty much the same thing on some online sites as well. The park will sell you the 24k maps you need or you can get them from any number of map retailers or directly from the USGS.

You want the 24k (1:24000 scale) as nothing else will give you the detail. Of course, it goes without saying that compass and orientation  skills need to accompany the map in the field.

Long before the 24k maps were published for the park, I hiked the OML using the only map available at the time....a 1:130,000 topo. It really was useless for navigation at the trail level and while we carried it on the hike I can recall looking at it only once the second morning. We repeatedly lost the trail but it was obvious where we needed to go and we never got very far off track. It wasn't much hiked in the early 70s and parts were very indistinct.
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
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--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Map Question
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2007, 10:41:57 PM »
I created a custom 1:24K topo series for my OML trip in 2004 which fit on 8.5 x 11 paper. The links to the 4 maps, which show my campsite locations, are as follows:

http://www.jeffblaylock.com/pix/oml_map1.gif
http://www.jeffblaylock.com/pix/oml_map2.gif
http://www.jeffblaylock.com/pix/oml_map3.gif
http://www.jeffblaylock.com/pix/oml_map4.gif

At 250 dpi, they print to 1:24K scale. They use the UTM grid system, which I know is foreign to some folks on here. I prefer it, because I have a good feel for what 1000 meters looks like (10 football fields including a few end zones) but I have no idea what 5 seconds of arc look like. Anyway, I hope they are helpful.

My trip recap of that hike begins here.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline presidio

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Map Question
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2007, 11:05:43 PM »
Quote from: "jeffblaylock"
They use the UTM grid system, which I know is foreign to some folks on here


But a very easy system to use since it deals in whole numbers and not the arcane 60 seconds and 60 minutes of a degree.

Some may be interested to learn that the 'northing' is the distance in meters north of the equator and the 'easting' is derived by adding meters when east of the 500,000 meter central 'false easting' line in each zone and subtracting them when west. Thus, you can easily determine distance between two points with simple math; or more precisely, you can determine how far apart two points are on the horizontal and vertical grids.....the straight line distance will take some trig to derive...but you can still can make an approximate distance determination, mentally, something very hard to do with any of the variants of degrees, minutes and seconds.

In descending order of ease-of-use after UTM are decimal degrees, then degrees and decimal minutes, followed by DMS in last place.

Nautical and aeronautical folks still use DMS and probably always will, despite the more intuitive UTM.
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Map Question
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2007, 10:37:18 PM »
Quote
How difficult is the access to the Juniper Creek/Dodson trail junction for the purpose of caching a resupply of water and food?


It's several miles down a rough high-clearance road, but not inordinately difficult to get to. I would allocate a few hours the day before you begin your hike to get there and back. When I hiked the trail, there was a large bearbox at the Juniper Canyon trailhead, perfect for storing provisions.

Your choice of directions has one added benefit. The Blue Creek trail will be easier to follow heading down than up. We wandered off the trail a few times while ascending. You should also be able to get water from Fresno Creek on the way across the Dodson Trail.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline presidio

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Map Question
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2007, 11:04:52 PM »
Quote from: "Ray52"
Presidio, which direction did you follow on your hike, and how many days & nights?


We went clockwise. Started in the Basin, down Juniper Canyon, around to Ross Maxwell Drive. Was going to go up that side back to the Basin, but ran out of water so bailed out on the road and hitchhiked back. Ended up hiking the entire distance on the road up Green Gulch so we wouldn't have been any worse off had we just finished the backcountry part of the hike.

40 miles in 2 days, 2 nights and a half day more. We were young and hard hikers.
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<  presidio  >
_____________
Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Map Question
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2007, 06:40:24 AM »
All that UTM vrs Decimal Degree's stuff is making my head spin.  Just buy a Trails Illustrated Map from Barnes and Noble and look at the scale bar.
Barnes and Noble (or probably any big book store) stocks the Trails Illustrated maps for BBNP and Quadalupe NP and are plastic-coated paper so they don't get wet and turn into mush.
For the Vega Trail - it will be on the Trails Illustrated map but the PJ VC has a nice page-size map and (more importantly) a description of the route and major junction points, camping spots, etc..   You might be able to get a copy by snail mail.  While you are at it you might as well ask for the same page-size map for the Mesa De Anguila which is a excellent information source on the tinaja's and water sources.
I would recommend going down Juniper Canyon and up Blue Creek because it's much easier to stash water and supplies at Blue Creek than at Juniper Canyon plus if you can't make it the entire way your much more likely to get help/ride at Blue Creek than at Juniper Canyon.
I would not recommend either hike during hot periods.   Even if you have a water filter and are willing to drink out of the limited sources available it can still be hours between water & shade so you might become very overheated and uncomfortable.  Backpacking in 100+ degree heat with full sun sounds like fun until you actually try it.. TWWG

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Map Question
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2007, 06:50:40 AM »
Quote from: "Ray52"
Also, would it be suicidal to attempt either of these in the hot months....May thru October?


The short answer is yes especially anything other than October, which can still be hot.  October is like March statistically which can be pleasant or very hot depending on the weather fronts.  There was discussion of this here
http://www.bigbendchat.com/viewtopic.php?t=3985&highlight=


Quote
Long before the 24k maps were published for the park, I hiked the OML using the only map available at the time....a 1:130,000 topo. It really was useless for navigation at the trail level and while we carried it on the hike I can recall looking at it only once the second morning. We repeatedly lost the trail but it was obvious where we needed to go and we never got very far off track. It wasn't much hiked in the early 70s and parts were very indistinct.


Ah the good old days, yes that map was about like navigating with a road map.  The trail is much easier to follow now.  I would recommend 4 days 3 nights going either way.  We did it clockwise in the 70's with a night in the mountains, one at Dodson ranch and one at Blue Creek.  It was April and hot as blazes!
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline trtlrock

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Map Question
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2007, 07:44:22 AM »
I feel pretty strongly that doing the Dodson from Juniper towards Blue Ck is the way to go, simply because as you crest the final saddle before dropping down to Blue Ck, and see Carousel Mtn, St Elena, Chimneys, Mesa Anguila, etc ahead of you...well, the view is just freakin' ridiculous!  And you get to slowly descend & see variants for an hour or so...

Tess & I remember thinking, "man...glad we hiked it this direction!"

Of course, hiking it a 2nd time CCW would be fun as well...
John & Tess

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Offline JeffB

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Map Question
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2007, 12:11:27 AM »
Quote from: "presidio"
Quote from: "jeffblaylock"
They use the UTM grid system, which I know is foreign to some folks on here


But a very easy system to use since it deals in whole numbers and not the arcane 60 seconds and 60 minutes of a degree.

In descending order of ease-of-use after UTM are decimal degrees, then degrees and decimal minutes, followed by DMS in last place.

Nautical and aeronautical folks still use DMS and probably always will, despite the more intuitive UTM.


I agree UTM is by far the best for a small area of interest and short distance navigation.  But I still use a lat-long grid and decimal degree coordinates in my weather maps because it is more intuitive when the extent spans nearly pole-to-pole, and also for specifying a location on the globe.  There is an excellent graphic visualization of distortions inherent in common projections here. (The circles should be all the same size and area).
Jeff Bullard
Dallas, TX

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Offline presidio

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Map Question
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2007, 06:25:50 AM »
Quote from: "JeffB"
I still use a lat-long grid and decimal degree coordinates in my weather because it is more intuitive when the extent spans nearly pole-to-pole, and also for specifying a location on the globe.


True. D.DD, D M.MM and DMS all have the advantage of not needing zone data and if you are the least bit aware of global geography you can form a quick mental image of approximately where something is without even using a map. That is almost impossible to do with UTM, except maybe in a very small area you are intimately familiar with.
_____________
<  presidio  >
_____________
Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Map Question
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2007, 10:39:39 AM »
Quote from: "trtlrock"
As you crest the final saddle before dropping down to Blue Ck, and see Carousel Mtn, St Elena, Chimneys, Mesa Anguila, etc ahead of you...well, the view is just freakin' ridiculous!


Ah, yes. Those are great views:



Quote
And you get to slowly descend & see variants for an hour or so...






All the way to that last bend around Carousel Mountain ...



Until you reach one of the most inviting porches you've ever seen --



... shade, cool air, fresh food and water from your nearby cache, and company, usually the first people you've seen in a long while. It's definitely a better finish to the Dodson portion of the loop than going the other way (A usually empty gravel parking area and a bear box, not pictured).
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

 


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