cassandra has done an amazing job on this website and i'm just getting around to adding to it, so i'll start with a nice simple post about technology.
honestly, i don't want to use a gps, i've struggled with the thought for years now as friends and co-workers seem to have jumped on board. i don't really want to rely on something that uses batteries and could break. i'm the one that didn't even want to get an email address, but was forced to my junior year of college when i was told to get one or fail a class. my name is on our facebook page, but i rarely go on it. i'm just a little behind the times when it comes to this stuff, although my brother is all about it. all the cool gizmos and gadgets that we have, pretty much all of them have come from him. thanks scott.
so i have thought about it, done a bunch of research and decided to go with one as a backup for a couple of reasons:
1. we're heading southbound(sobo) and contrary to some other webpostings, washington is not 25% of normal snowpack, its more around 60-70% right now, which means that we are still going to be hitting snow in the cascades and undoubtedly losing the trail many times
2. i'm a map and compass guy, along with gut instinct, but i realize that there are times when you are deep in trees, or in pea soup fog, or just unable to find landmarks on a map and it is reassuring to know where you are
3. from reading other journals from previous years sobos, i believe that the statement is accurate that said, you can do an additional 5-10 miles a day with a gps in snow because it will cut down on trying to find the trail
4. halfmile has done all of us thru hikers an amazing blessing by providing trackpoints on his website that allows you to enter the trail into your gps. thanks halfmile!!
5. we don't have a cell phone and it puts people at ease knowing that we at least have some sort of modern technical devise with us that will save our lives should we become lost. (although, i'm trusting in common sense and God's good humor more than the battery life of technology)
so yes, we've sold out and are taking a gps, at least for the washington portion while in the snow, after that, no way, it weighs too much, its like half a pound!!! maybe we'll get it again for the sierras.
the plan is to only turn it on when we need it, save the battery life and attempt to make it just using maps and a compass.
my new catch phrase is, "its all part of the adventure." getting lost a little, side hilling in snow, postholing, rain, snow, mosquitos, ants, crazy hikers, crazy people in towns, hitchhiking, pain, doubt, struggle, the ups, the downs, all of it, its all part of the adventure.
so here's to selling out...