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Hackan Slash
May 31, 2007
Hit it until it's not a problem anymore

Packrafts are cool and good as long as you get a decent brand like Alpaca. I would feel much safer in any kind of whitewater in one of those as opposed to a Oruk.

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ihop
Jul 23, 2001
King of the Mexicans

Hackan Slash posted:

Packrafts are cool and good as long as you get a decent brand like Alpaca. I would feel much safer in any kind of whitewater in one of those as opposed to a Oruk.

I would too but any situation requiring you to propel yourself is going to be miserable.

Guest2553
Aug 3, 2012


Welp, algonquin park isn't a go this weekend...a course I was taking later this week moved to the left so :rip:. If the weather isn't bad I'll try to do an overnight or something afterward.

Re: packrafts - intent is to just dick around along nearby lakes/rivers that I hike to, not a cheapass way to avoid buying a real kayak. For $250 and 5 pounds a LWD/paddle/PFD is a fair trade-off in the right circumstances.

Aphex-
Jan 29, 2006



Dinosaur Gum

OSU_Matthew posted:

Keep in mind I've never done it (though it's a wish list item for me too), but here's an interesting article I just read which recommends the Manaslu Trek instead, because of development and changing conditions on the Annapurna:

http://www.cheapestdestinationsblog.com/2015/01/29/the-annapurna-circuit-aint-what-it-used-to-be/

That article is a load of bullshit I'm afraid. The Manaslu trek is definitely a good option, but if you've never been to Nepal before or done any trekking at altitude, the AC is still the best trek for it.

quote:

The normal trek starting point was Jagat at an altitude of 1,100 meters. From Jagat trekkers would hike to Dharapani (day 1), from Dharapani to Chame (Day 2), from Chame to Pisang (Day 3), and then from Pisang to Manang (Day 4), possibly spending an extra day there before climbing higher.

Today, a road has been built all the way from Jagat to Manang, so doing the above 4 trekking days is no longer ideal. The best trek starting point is thus Manang at an altitude of 3,500 meters.

The normal trek starting point is not and has never been Jagat. It's Besi Sahar, a day and a half before that village. So they're completely wrong about that already. Also yeah, there is a 'road' that goes from the start of the trek through to Manang but it's a small dirt track which doesn't in any way affect the experience of the trek, especially because there are now alternate routes which skip the road in the first place.

I'm not in any way getting at you about it, it just makes me sad that I've seen a few of these articles (a lot of them written years before I ever went on the trek) and they all basically tell people not to go because of some weird aversion they have to a tiny road that you can avoid in the first place. I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on it.

OSU_Matthew
Aug 23, 2010

IT ME




Toilet Rascal

Aphex- posted:

That article is a load of bullshit I'm afraid. The Manaslu trek is definitely a good option, but if you've never been to Nepal before or done any trekking at altitude, the AC is still the best trek for it.


The normal trek starting point is not and has never been Jagat. It's Besi Sahar, a day and a half before that village. So they're completely wrong about that already. Also yeah, there is a 'road' that goes from the start of the trek through to Manang but it's a small dirt track which doesn't in any way affect the experience of the trek, especially because there are now alternate routes which skip the road in the first place.

I'm not in any way getting at you about it, it just makes me sad that I've seen a few of these articles (a lot of them written years before I ever went on the trek) and they all basically tell people not to go because of some weird aversion they have to a tiny road that you can avoid in the first place. I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on it.

Thanks! That's really great to know! I've got no idea, I was just hitting the googler. Must be different guides and tour groups promoting their own treks to divert business would be my guess.

I've got so many questions if you don't mind me picking your brain about your experience...

How long did the trek take you? Did you go with a guide or local tour company? How much stuff did you bring? Eg, did you bring much more than a sleeping bag and pad and stay at teahouses, or did you camp at all on the trek? How much was the trip for you? How much was it to stay at the teahouses, and how was the food? Thanks in advance! That is easily one of the coolest things that I really really want to do in the next five years.

Hackan Slash posted:

Packrafts are cool and good as long as you get a decent brand like Alpaca. I would feel much safer in any kind of whitewater in one of those as opposed to a Oruk.

Nobody is talking about taking stuff out on whitewater. If that were the case, I wouldn't exactly feel safe in a pool toy, I'd much rather have a guide and a proper raft or kayak

Officer Sandvich
Feb 14, 2010


Whitewater packrafting is the best. Nothing like running a river that sees two or three parties a year.

Aphex-
Jan 29, 2006



Dinosaur Gum

OSU_Matthew posted:

Thanks! That's really great to know! I've got no idea, I was just hitting the googler. Must be different guides and tour groups promoting their own treks to divert business would be my guess.

I've got so many questions if you don't mind me picking your brain about your experience...

How long did the trek take you? Did you go with a guide or local tour company? How much stuff did you bring? Eg, did you bring much more than a sleeping bag and pad and stay at teahouses, or did you camp at all on the trek? How much was the trip for you? How much was it to stay at the teahouses, and how was the food? Thanks in advance! That is easily one of the coolest things that I really really want to do in the next five years.


Nobody is talking about taking stuff out on whitewater. If that were the case, I wouldn't exactly feel safe in a pool toy, I'd much rather have a guide and a proper raft or kayak

I don't mind at all! Any excuse to talk about it is good with me. I just found a couple of posts I made in the Everest thread at the start of the year talking about it that covers pretty much what you're after. Happy to answer anything else you want to know though! Everyone should do a trek in Nepal at some point in their life, it's just sensational.

A couple of things not mentioned in the following posts - Teahouses varied in price, sometimes from free (as long as you eat dinner and breakfast there) to around 400 - 600 rupees a night. The cost usually got more expensive the higher up the trail you got, but 'expensive' is a very relative term when you're in Nepal. My friends and I made the decision to go veggie for the trek to reduce the chance of getting sick, although even with that I still got sick for one day. The food in general was really great though. Anything is going to taste pretty amazing when you've been walking at altitude all day to be fair, but there's a good selection of stuff to choose from. Most places offer the same menu, sometimes the same exact menu menu but it's nice to get something familiar. Lots of fried noodles, rice, apple pies, coffee, masala tea (which is delicious by the way), soups etc. The main dish that is great to eat at dinner is Dal Bhat. It's a combination of rice, curried vegetables, lentil soup and sometimes other little things. Great fuel for hiking and the best thing about it is they will just keep topping it up if you want!

With cost, all in together I'd say it cost about £1500 for 22 days abroad. This covered flights to and from London, getting clothes and equipment, and money spent while in Nepal.

Aphex- posted:

Teahouses are amazing because yeah, it just makes everything easier. No need to pack any food or shelter, apart from a sleeping bag. On the trip I did around the Annapurna Circuit there were villages all with teahouses and places to stay pretty much every hour or two. I had a general idea of where I wanted to stop for the day but other than that you can just go with the flow, stop off for lunch where you like, take interesting little side routes, that kind of stuff.

The prep basically consisted of planning what gear I needed to bring and then making sure I got the right permits to do it when I got to Nepal, also I read a load of blogs from people who've already done it to get a general idea. You can pack really light, my pack came to 12kg but that was with a dslr and gorillapod, minus all that stuff it would have been around 9kg. The circuit is really cool in that you start off in subtropical jungle type climates, then as the days go on it gradually changes to temperate, then alpine forests, then tundra and high altitude barren landscapes. You just have to make sure to bring layers to account for all the different climates. I wore one merino wool (icebreaker) t-shirt the whole 16 days I was on the trail, it was loving awesome and didn't smell as bad as you think after that long, as long as you wash it with water when you get the chance. I had a long sleeve one too which I mainly used when I wasn't walking. I had one pair of lightweight trekking trousers, it would have been good if they were cutoffs because you get really loving warm and sweaty at the lower altitudes. Then just a lightweight fleece, insulated/down jacket, and a water and windproof jacket for up high.

I went in October and the weather was wonderful, never rained, mostly clear blue skies too. Other stuff I took was just the usual hiking maguffins, trekking poles, first aid, suncream and lip balm, wet wipes were really useful, sun hat, gloves (make sure they're windproof because mine weren't and the morning we went over the pass it was so cold my hands went completely numb), winter hat, polarised sunglasses and a buff. Buffs are amazing and I can't get enough of them. All of this stuff including the sleeping bag fit very comfortably into my 50L pack. My friend managed to do it with a 33L pack but he kind of regretted it afterwards because it just was too full and wasn't comfortable most of the time.

I did a little write up with some pictures earlier in the thread somewhere which I can dig up if you want to know more about it. The trip was absolutely loving incredible and Nepal is somewhere where I am DEFINITELY going to go back to because it's just a really really cool place. I want to do EBC like Elwood did, also the Manaslu trek looks awesome and a lot less developed than the Annapurna Circuit. I just wish I had time when I was there to do the Annapurna base camp trek too. I read Annapurna by Maurice Herzog when I was there and it was very cool passing through places he went when he did the first ascent to it. Oh yeah on that note a kindle is essential.

E: Forgot about the cost! Nepal is super cheap and while we were on the trek we had a budget of around 2000 - 2500 Nepalese rupees a day. I think I took out 45000 at the start of the trek and it lasted all 16 days I was on it with a little to spare. I did have a couple of beers most evenings though because god dammit it's such a good way to round off a tough day's hike.

And another one:

Aphex- posted:

Yup that's the post!

We sort of winged it yeah, just read up about it beforehand but there's nothing you need to book or anything before getting there. You just need to make sure to get your TIMS card and ACAP permit when you get to Kathmandu, you can just ask people at your hostel or hotel where to get that from, it's simple enough.

Yeah we went were there in the busy season, but to be honest until we got to Manang which is like a week into the trek, we maybe saw like 1 or 2 other groups of trekkers each day on the trail. After Manang it did get busier because people are more concentrated and there are generally fewer teahouses higher up, but as long as you start early and finish early, getting a room should be no problem at all. We generally started walking between 07:30 and 08:30 and finished anywhere between 14:00 to 17:00 depending on the day and how we felt. Also after Manang I would highly recommend doing the side trek to Tilicho Lake when you're there because it's an awesome trail. Another thing is to get a map of the circuit when you're in Kathmandu, one which shows the NATT routes because they are great and avoid the road for the most part. We got this book - http://amzn.eu/7P67TW4 - on kindle and it was really handy to read at the end of every day to plan the next day and get a good idea of where to go and how to get there.

Cheesemaster200
Feb 11, 2004

Guard of the Citadel

I spent $500 for two and a half weeks in the Khumbu, from Kathmandu.

I literally showed up in Lukla by myself on a one-way plane ticket, met some random people and hiked with them most of the way up. I only had a backpack, warm clothes, and rain jacket. I bought a sleeping bag liner and rented a sleeping bag in Thamel.

I want to go back and do the Annapurna circuit, but I keep hearing varying reports on the effect of the road. What I liked the most about the EBC trek was that it was completely isolated from motor traffic.

Aphex-
Jan 29, 2006



Dinosaur Gum

Cheesemaster200 posted:

I want to go back and do the Annapurna circuit, but I keep hearing varying reports on the effect of the road. What I liked the most about the EBC trek was that it was completely isolated from motor traffic.

See my post further up the page about the effect of the road. You'd really be missing out if that put you off.

Alan_Shore
Dec 2, 2004



You can fly into Kathmandu with nothing and load up on North Fake stuff for cheap or just rent stuff. You really don't need much money at all.

Its an incredible trek, super fun, and stay at the Three Sisters in Manang. You'll thank me later!

Ihmemies
Oct 6, 2012



How bad/good idea is it to bring your own gear? I have very good gear which fits perfectly and works without issues now. Would hate to go with some ill-fitting crap just to save a few bucks with plane fees ...

So if I understood right I could get flights from Finland for 1000€ and Nepal is only 300-400€ for 2 weeks? Doesn't sound bad at all!

Alan_Shore
Dec 2, 2004



It really is cheap. You don't need to book a hotel, just wander round, get some prices, don't be afraid to barter.

Ignoring clothes, you only really need a sleeping bag (no cooking stuff, no tent). You want your bag to be as light as possible. You can always leave stuff at your hotel/hostel if they're kind. You don't have to walk far each day! Sometimes you might only want to do a couple of hours. And stay at Manang for at least 3 days do acclimatize. Watch Into Thin Air at the "cinema" for a laugh.

marshmonkey
Dec 5, 2003

I was sick of looking
at your stupid avatar
so
have a cool cat instead.

:v:


Switchblade Switcharoo

https://mobile.twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/921543095933583361

Is donating more money to Doug Jones going to change anything?

Vivian Darkbloom
Jul 14, 2004



Not sure about Doug Jones's political future, tbh.

I feel pretty dumb for showing up at REI this evening, not realizing that the garage sale was this morning! Paid full price for REI-brand gloves, rain pants, and a hat that looks suspiciously like my old one but says it's waterproof. For tomorrow's hike in southwest Washington, the leader also recommended a change of gloves, a scarf, and gaiters, all of which I don't have. It will be raining like crazy, but I'm hoping those items aren't necessities. I do have a good raincoat and waterproof hiking boots plus a pack cover so maybe I'll stay a little bit dry?

Dangerous Mind
Apr 20, 2011

math is magical


Hey, so I'm looking for a multi-day hiking trail recommendation that could possibly span over multiple places. I have 6 vacation days I need to use up by the end of the year so ideally I'd be taking off a whole week (+ weekends + a Friday off for 9/80) to have a 10ish+ day vacation. My passport is not up-to-date so I want to keep the locations within reasonable driving distance of the Midwest USA. I've got my own car and plan on going at this alone, most likely sleeping in hotel rooms. Possibly camping but not sure because of the cold weather coming up. I only have basic equipment, nothing crazy.

tl;dr Please recommend me hiking trails in the USA near-ish to the Midwest for a sick 10-day solo vacation. Travel by car. My experience is limited to a week long Colorado camping trip with my ex-gf last summer.

My research right now is limited to this thread plus googling "best hiking USA" :bang:

Cheesemaster200
Feb 11, 2004

Guard of the Citadel

Alan_Shore posted:

It really is cheap. You don't need to book a hotel, just wander round, get some prices, don't be afraid to barter.

Ignoring clothes, you only really need a sleeping bag (no cooking stuff, no tent). You want your bag to be as light as possible. You can always leave stuff at your hotel/hostel if they're kind. You don't have to walk far each day! Sometimes you might only want to do a couple of hours. And stay at Manang for at least 3 days do acclimatize. Watch Into Thin Air at the "cinema" for a laugh.

I went to india afterward (in June), so I didn't want to deal with that crap afterward. If you are flying in and out of KTM, it might be worth it.

OSU_Matthew
Aug 23, 2010

IT ME




Toilet Rascal

Dangerous Mind posted:

Hey, so I'm looking for a multi-day hiking trail recommendation that could possibly span over multiple places. I have 6 vacation days I need to use up by the end of the year so ideally I'd be taking off a whole week (+ weekends + a Friday off for 9/80) to have a 10ish+ day vacation. My passport is not up-to-date so I want to keep the locations within reasonable driving distance of the Midwest USA. I've got my own car and plan on going at this alone, most likely sleeping in hotel rooms. Possibly camping but not sure because of the cold weather coming up. I only have basic equipment, nothing crazy.

tl;dr Please recommend me hiking trails in the USA near-ish to the Midwest for a sick 10-day solo vacation. Travel by car. My experience is limited to a week long Colorado camping trip with my ex-gf last summer.

My research right now is limited to this thread plus googling "best hiking USA" :bang:

Seems like a good time to plug the PYF places to hike/backpack thread:

https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3818236&pagenumber=1&perpage=40

Whereabouts in the Midwest are you? If I were doing that I'd start in Virginia and visit Grayson highlands, Crabtree Falls, Three Ridges Wilderness, then go visit the smokies in Tennessee, then work your way up there West Virginia with Monongahela National Forest, and work in Red River Gorge in Kentucky to see the natural arches. I'd also check out the hot springs in Washington/Jefferson National Forest and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Since you're driving, Gatlinburg in Tennessee might also be fun to swing by and get some Sugarlands moonshine.

If you're in Ohio and like historical stuff, Chillicothe in Ross county used to be the cultural capitol for everything east of the Mississippi. There are (were) incredible Earthworks stretching for hundreds of miles and mounds that are largely destroyed, but some of it has been preserved. Great Serpent Mound is going to be designated a Unesco world heritage site here soon, and Fort ancient is pretty cool, along with Junction Earthworks and Hopewell National Historical Park.

OSU_Matthew fucked around with this message at 16:00 on Oct 22, 2017

huhu
Feb 24, 2006


I'm scheming about using Thanksgiving as a 4 day weekend to head to an interesting place and get some hiking in/enjoy the fall colors. I'm thinking going abroad would be the best bet since I imagine most places will be pretty slow. My cheap flight tool suggests Halifax or Quebec. Anyone have any opinions about either of these places?

single-mode fiber
Dec 30, 2012



Gatlinburg is fun but not for the reasons you probably think. If you do go out to SWVA/TN/NC, Devil's Bathtub is neat, as is the Creeper Trail over by Abingdon.

Cheesemaster200
Feb 11, 2004

Guard of the Citadel

single-mode fiber posted:

Gatlinburg is fun but not for the reasons you probably think.

Do tell. Aside from being a place to get a civilized hotel room near GSMNP, I don't know what the purpose of that town is...

marshmonkey
Dec 5, 2003

I was sick of looking
at your stupid avatar
so
have a cool cat instead.

:v:


Switchblade Switcharoo

Missing Hikers Found Dead of Gunshot Wounds, and Locked in an Embrace

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/us/hikers-murder-suicide-joshua-tree.html

O_O

Maybe you should have brought a GPS instead of a gun...

Dangerous Mind
Apr 20, 2011

math is magical


OSU_Matthew posted:

Seems like a good time to plug the PYF places to hike/backpack thread:

https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3818236&pagenumber=1&perpage=40

Whereabouts in the Midwest are you? If I were doing that I'd start in Virginia and visit Grayson highlands, Crabtree Falls, Three Ridges Wilderness, then go visit the smokies in Tennessee, then work your way up there West Virginia with Monongahela National Forest, and work in Red River Gorge in Kentucky to see the natural arches. I'd also check out the hot springs in Washington/Jefferson National Forest and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Since you're driving, Gatlinburg in Tennessee might also be fun to swing by and get some Sugarlands moonshine.

If you're in Ohio and like historical stuff, Chillicothe in Ross county used to be the cultural capitol for everything east of the Mississippi. There are (were) incredible Earthworks stretching for hundreds of miles and mounds that are largely destroyed, but some of it has been preserved. Great Serpent Mound is going to be designated a Unesco world heritage site here soon, and Fort ancient is pretty cool, along with Junction Earthworks and Hopewell National Historical Park.

Thanks for the advice. I was actually recently in West Virginia for river rafting with a few friends a couple weeks ago so I don't really want to go that direction. For this trip I've decided on the Southwest, specifically Utah and Arizona, maybe western Colorado since I've explored most of eastern Colorado already. I've never been to the Grand Canyon or Bryce Canyon or Petrified Forest, etc. Most friends have already been there and loved it. Right now I'm in Peoria, IL. A friend and I have been hitting up all the hiking trails around here but we've all but exhausted all our options since we moved here three months ago.

I bought a Southwest-USA road map as well as Nat Geo's Complete National Parks of the US book which is giving me lots of good ideas. Right now I just gotta narrow down the main places I wanna hit up. I'm not sure how many places is feasible to visit in a 6-7 day span. I don't want to visit a place just to say I've been there, rather, I want to actually hike a lot of what each place has to offer. So should I be focusing on one whole park per day, or every other day, or what?

EDIT:

I've narrowed down the list of possible destinations to the following:

UTAH
* Arches Natl Park
* Canyonlands Natl Park
* Capitol Reef Natl Park
* Bryce Canyon Natl Park
* Zion Natl Park

ARIZONA
* Grand Canyon Natl Park
* Petrified Forest Natl Park
* Monument Valley
* Vermillion Cliffs
* Horseshoe Bend

COLORADO
* Black Canyon of the Gunnison Natl Park
* Mesa Verde Natl Park
* Great Sand Dunes Natl Park

NEVADA
* Great Basin Natl Park
* Red Rock Natl Conservation

Might skip Nevada all together though because I know some friends are planning a Vegas trip next summer so we'd probably visit those places anyways. And possibly Colorado just because it looks like I might have to go out of my way.

So far I've jotted down the distances + driving time to each of these places. Next I'll figure out how long it'll take me to drive to the first spot, how much time I should give myself to get back home, and the distances between each of these places to come up with an efficient driving thing to visit these places.

Dangerous Mind fucked around with this message at 04:15 on Oct 24, 2017

nate fisher
Mar 3, 2004

We've Got To Go Back


Dangerous Mind posted:


I've narrowed down the list of possible destinations to the following:

UTAH
* Arches Natl Park
* Canyonlands Natl Park
* Bryce Canyon Natl Park
* Zion Natl Park

ARIZONA
* Grand Canyon Natl Park


I just took a out west trip in May, and did all the parks above. We drove from Knoxville, TN to Tulsa, OK (my brother lives there) to Gallup, NM to Grand Canyon, NM to Las Vegas, NV to Hurricane, UT (our base camp for Zion and Bryce) to Moab, UT (Arches and Canyonlands) to Boulder, CO (Golden Gate Canyon State Park), and straight back to Knoxville from there.

The trip came in right around 5,000 miles, and we was gone a total of 14 days. It was suppose to be 15 days, but the last day we drove 24 hours straight back home.

The worst part of the whole trip was I-70 east of Denver and all the way to Kansas City, MO. If you can avoid doing that, avoid it. Since you are coming from IL, you may have no choice. It was so bad, it made I-40 in West TN and Arkansas seem not so bad.

We had an Outback with a Loadwarrior roof-rack (there was 4 of us). We also camped most of the time. It was a mix of true campground camping and camping at RV parks. Camping at RV parks are a nice break. You get a hot shower, laundry, and so on. We only stayed at a hotel twice (we did one day/night in Vegas).

We enjoyed all the parks, but if we picked one favorite it would be Zion. Still they all were great, and never disappointed.

If you have any questions about hikes, logistics, and so on ask.

Edit:


single-mode fiber posted:

Gatlinburg is fun but not for the reasons you probably think. If you do go out to SWVA/TN/NC, Devil's Bathtub is neat, as is the Creeper Trail over by Abingdon.

As someone in Knoxville (which is an hour from the Smokies) I've done 150+ miles in the Smokies over the last 2 years. During those times I only went thru Gatlinburg once, and it was because you have to if you want to get to Trillium Gap trail. I avoid Gatlinburg like the plague, and I know every back way into the Smokies to avoid it. That said if you are not from here, or want a break from 'nature' it can be a fun day or two.

Also the Creeper Trail is great. Rent a bike and catch a shuttle in Damascus, VA for like $20. They take you to the top, and you ride down. I still haven't been to the Devil's Bathtub. I just found out about the Great Channels area over that way (I grew up in Johnson City and for some reason never heard of it). I am planning to get over that way soon.

I would add the best hike in that region is the balds of Roan Mountain. Also the Smokies has great hiking, you just need to pick the right ones (Mt. LeConte, Mt. Cammerer, Rocky Top/Thunderhead, Charles Bunion + Jump Off, and Ramsey Cascades are the first that come to mind.). Also several good non-Smokies AT spots like Max Patch in NC and Laurel Falls in Hampton. Don't forget the Blue Ridge parkway in NC with Linville Falls, and Linville Gorge.

nate fisher fucked around with this message at 12:31 on Oct 24, 2017

Kaal
May 22, 2002



marshmonkey posted:

Missing Hikers Found Dead of Gunshot Wounds, and Locked in an Embrace

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/us/hikers-murder-suicide-joshua-tree.html

O_O

Maybe you should have brought a GPS instead of a gun...

Yeah pretty much. The only thing you'll end up shooting out in Joshua Tree is rocks or other humans. It sounds like they got lost while hiking the Maze Loop, the girl ended up falling down into one of the slot canyons, they quickly ran out of whatever meager food and water they had, and decided to end it before they baked to death. Pretty lovely tragedy, and it's too bad they weren't better prepared. From looking at pictures of the trail online, it seems like getting lost out there is a pretty easy thing to do, since it's mostly a cairn route.

https://modernhiker.com/hike/hiking-the-maze/

bongwizzard
May 19, 2005

Then one day I meet a man,
He came to me and said,
"Hard work good and hard work fine,
but first take care of head"

Grimey Drawer

The Devil's Bathtub is fun but so so full of people. We got to the trailhead at like 8am on a misty day and by the time we turned around after seeing the tub the trail was packed with incoming hikers.

The next day it rained all day and we just drove through the scary rear end gravel roads in the park, stopping to occasionally hike a mile or so down all the trailheads and jeep roads we passed. I really wish I had brought a GPS unit or even a proper map and compass, the entire park is stunning and it seems like if you drive into the middle of the park and pick a random trailhead, you stand a pretty good chance of not seeing another person all day.

We are absolutely going back there for our next vacation, there is a ton of outdoor stuff and little towns to poke around in.

single-mode fiber
Dec 30, 2012



Cheesemaster200 posted:

Do tell. Aside from being a place to get a civilized hotel room near GSMNP, I don't know what the purpose of that town is...

It's fun in the sense that it's incredibly kitschy, tacky, an incredibly successful town of low-rent tourist trap attraction, all juxtaposed against a quite beautiful park in the Smokies. Whenever I've gone to the Smokies, I always stay in Cherokee but marveling at the spectacle of Gatlinburg. Also, https://youtu.be/F6SiPbbU318

nate fisher
Mar 3, 2004

We've Got To Go Back


single-mode fiber posted:

It's fun in the sense that it's incredibly kitschy, tacky, an incredibly successful town of low-rent tourist trap attraction, all juxtaposed against a quite beautiful park in the Smokies. Whenever I've gone to the Smokies, I always stay in Cherokee but marveling at the spectacle of Gatlinburg. Also, https://youtu.be/F6SiPbbU318

When I was kid/teenager I loved going to Gatlinburg. My brother and I would end up with stuff like an airsoft pistol, butterfly knife, throwing stars, and other useless junk by the time we finished our walk up and down the strip. Now that I have kids of my own I've made that walk one time with my kids. I was the rear end in a top hat parent pointing out all the racists in their confederate flag shirts, the juxtaposition of the Myrtle Beach of Mountains surrounded by so much beauty, and how 95% of these visitors don't walk more than 20 feet from cars when visiting the actual Smokies. Still as someone born and raised in the Appalachians these are my people despite the fact I disagree with them on almost everything. I come from white trash, but I got lucky to leave the white trash part of our family behind. & I am not saying Gatlinburg is all white trash, it is just that whole area attracts a lot of white trash.

That said renting a cabin in that area is always super fun. We do it every other year or so. Hell after writing this I might go spend the day in Gatlinburg to see how it holds up against my memories of it.

Edit: Gatlinburg did use to have the best record store in the region back in the late 80's. They carried VHS bootlegs of all my favorite bands. I think it is still there (it is on the right once you first get into the main strip of Gatlinburg), but the bootlegs are all gone (YouTube killed bootlegs sold in stores).

nate fisher fucked around with this message at 15:01 on Oct 24, 2017

bongwizzard
May 19, 2005

Then one day I meet a man,
He came to me and said,
"Hard work good and hard work fine,
but first take care of head"

Grimey Drawer

I once bought a pistol crossbow at a gas station in Gatlinburg that was powerful enough to shoot through 3/4" plywood. We also got all you can eat catfish and almost got married at some drive up chapel. It was a fun trip.

Freaquency
May 10, 2007

"Yes I can hear you, I don't have ear cancer!"

Kaal posted:

Yeah pretty much. The only thing you'll end up shooting out in Joshua Tree is rocks or other humans. It sounds like they got lost while hiking the Maze Loop, the girl ended up falling down into one of the slot canyons, they quickly ran out of whatever meager food and water they had, and decided to end it before they baked to death. Pretty lovely tragedy, and it's too bad they weren't better prepared. From looking at pictures of the trail online, it seems like getting lost out there is a pretty easy thing to do, since it's mostly a cairn route.

https://modernhiker.com/hike/hiking-the-maze/

When we went out there this year, we had a hiking GPS and it was absolutely essential. The trails are basically non-existent, especially for some of the old mining/homesteading sites, and just having something that was putting down virtual breadcrumbs went a long ways towards making the trip more enjoyable.

nate fisher
Mar 3, 2004

We've Got To Go Back


bongwizzard posted:

I once bought a pistol crossbow at a gas station in Gatlinburg that was powerful enough to shoot through 3/4" plywood. We also got all you can eat catfish and almost got married at some drive up chapel. It was a fun trip.

Now that is the perfect Gatlinburg story.

svenkatesh
Sep 5, 2016

by FactsAreUseless


Freaquency posted:

When we went out there this year, we had a hiking GPS and it was absolutely essential. The trails are basically non-existent, especially for some of the old mining/homesteading sites, and just having something that was putting down virtual breadcrumbs went a long ways towards making the trip more enjoyable.

Which GPS device did you use for this?

Freaquency
May 10, 2007

"Yes I can hear you, I don't have ear cancer!"

svenkatesh posted:

Which GPS device did you use for this?

I bought a base Garmin eTrex a few years ago and it still holds up. You can put in the coordinates of where you want to go and it will draw a solid line to the destination, and as you walk it leaves a dotted line that you can follow back.

n8r
Jul 3, 2003

I helped Lowtax become a cyborg and all I got was this lousy avatar

Dangerous Mind posted:

Thanks for the advice. I was actually recently in West Virginia for river rafting with a few friends a couple weeks ago so I don't really want to go that direction. For this trip I've decided on the Southwest, specifically Utah and Arizona, maybe western Colorado since I've explored most of eastern Colorado already. I've never been to the Grand Canyon or Bryce Canyon or Petrified Forest, etc. Most friends have already been there and loved it. Right now I'm in Peoria, IL. A friend and I have been hitting up all the hiking trails around here but we've all but exhausted all our options since we moved here three months ago.

I bought a Southwest-USA road map as well as Nat Geo's Complete National Parks of the US book which is giving me lots of good ideas. Right now I just gotta narrow down the main places I wanna hit up. I'm not sure how many places is feasible to visit in a 6-7 day span. I don't want to visit a place just to say I've been there, rather, I want to actually hike a lot of what each place has to offer. So should I be focusing on one whole park per day, or every other day, or what?

EDIT:

I've narrowed down the list of possible destinations to the following:

UTAH
* Arches Natl Park
* Canyonlands Natl Park
* Capitol Reef Natl Park
* Bryce Canyon Natl Park
* Zion Natl Park

ARIZONA
* Grand Canyon Natl Park
* Petrified Forest Natl Park
* Monument Valley
* Vermillion Cliffs
* Horseshoe Bend

COLORADO
* Black Canyon of the Gunnison Natl Park
* Mesa Verde Natl Park
* Great Sand Dunes Natl Park

NEVADA
* Great Basin Natl Park
* Red Rock Natl Conservation

Might skip Nevada all together though because I know some friends are planning a Vegas trip next summer so we'd probably visit those places anyways. And possibly Colorado just because it looks like I might have to go out of my way.

So far I've jotted down the distances + driving time to each of these places. Next I'll figure out how long it'll take me to drive to the first spot, how much time I should give myself to get back home, and the distances between each of these places to come up with an efficient driving thing to visit these places.

I don't know what your budget it, but you can fly into Vegas and rent an RV. I looked into it very briefly and it seemed like a pretty reasonable option if you're looking to hit a bunch of the parks and you want to fly into the area. If you go after the school year has started, I estimated the cost would be about $100 per day including RV rental + fuel + mileage charges.

Kaal
May 22, 2002



Freaquency posted:

When we went out there this year, we had a hiking GPS and it was absolutely essential. The trails are basically non-existent, especially for some of the old mining/homesteading sites, and just having something that was putting down virtual breadcrumbs went a long ways towards making the trip more enjoyable.

There's something of a policy question here, in that a lot of these backcountry trail routes are somewhat intentionally poorly signed - with small and infrequent cairns, minimal artificial signage, and generally poor trails. Many outdoorsy folks often see this as a good thing, because it maintains the atmosphere of "untouched nature", creates a barrier to entry so fewer people use the trails, and discourages casual hikers from roaming more than a couple miles from the roads. But often the difficulty of navigating these routes is not adequately communicated, particularly by hiking websites that provide lines on a map that make the thing seem much easier than it really is. Perhaps the land management folks should start indicating at the trailhead when a trail uses widely spaced cairns, and perhaps they should be making these cairns larger than three rocks stacked atop each other. Certainly some people would dislike the idea, but it would definitely have helped these two poor kids.

Levitate
Sep 30, 2005

randy newman voice

YOU'VE GOT A LAFRENIÈRE IN ME


Kaal posted:

There's something of a policy question here, in that a lot of these backcountry trail routes are somewhat intentionally poorly signed - with small and infrequent cairns, minimal artificial signage, and generally poor trails. Many outdoorsy folks often see this as a good thing, because it maintains the atmosphere of "untouched nature", creates a barrier to entry so fewer people use the trails, and discourages casual hikers from roaming more than a couple miles from the roads. But often the difficulty of navigating these routes is not adequately communicated, particularly by hiking websites that provide lines on a map that make the thing seem much easier than it really is. Perhaps the land management folks should start indicating at the trailhead when a trail uses widely spaced cairns, and perhaps they should be making these cairns larger than three rocks stacked atop each other. Certainly some people would dislike the idea, but it would definitely have helped these two poor kids.

Warnings at the trailhead might be a good idea. I think you probably run into some issues if you start "maintaining" these cross country routes (I assume these are mostly unofficial "trails"). You probably start to become liable for the condition of the trail if you start maintaining them and then you need to put in a real trail and so on.

Could be wrong on that, but realistically a "if you are hiking these routes, they are unofficial and not maintained and you need to be prepared" etc etc is probably a good idea if it's really a bigger problem than just the very occasional person getting lost. The Parks/Forest Service also doesn't really have a lot of resources to try to be maintaining unofficial cross country routes.

Partly just typing stream of thought at this point but ultimately I think that ends up coming down to "are you going to be responsible for every route someone could conceive of" or do you warn people about off trail travel and leave it at that. There are tons of cross country routes all over the Sierra Nevada and some are described or ducked better than others and for all the various agencies to try to accept responsibility for them would be insane. A blanket "you need to know what you're doing if you're going off trail" should probably cover it. I don't know about the location in particular where those two got lost, but having some kind of permit system even if there are no quotas could be helpful as well because people would have to describe their routes and the Ranger/whoever can have a discussion at the time with them about the dangers.

Freaquency
May 10, 2007

"Yes I can hear you, I don't have ear cancer!"

Oh yeah, as a dedicated leave-no-trace-er, I'm totally down with making some of these things as difficult to get to as possible, but it doesn't change the fact that ill-prepared people are going to venture out anyway. It would probably be better to do a permit system or something that requires you to have certain gear when going out into the backcountry. I know that this is something that NPS and state agencies have been dealing with for decades, and in a way I guess it's a good problem to have, since more interest in the parks should mean better funding and more dynamic management. More often than not though, you wind up with damage to the parks and injuries or worse to visitors because the parks system can't handle the number of visitors and a lot of those visitors don't have the experience needed to safely navigate some of the more difficult terrain out there. I'm worried that sooner or later a lot of the parks are going to have huge off-limits areas put in place to protect the environment, which will suck, but I'd rather they be protected than be lost.

Levitate
Sep 30, 2005

randy newman voice

YOU'VE GOT A LAFRENIÈRE IN ME


Not really feasible without enforcement IMO but part of it probably will just be the imposition of strict quotas on permits

e: speaking of funding, the NPS is proposing raising fees in 17 of the busiest parks during peak season...to $70 per vehicle. That is quite an increase, but on the other hand they need money for maintenance and the government sure as poo poo isn't going to help them with funding

Levitate fucked around with this message at 19:52 on Oct 24, 2017

bongwizzard
May 19, 2005

Then one day I meet a man,
He came to me and said,
"Hard work good and hard work fine,
but first take care of head"

Grimey Drawer

Going back to the Devil's Bathtub hike as an example, it's got to be difficult as hell to try to manage it remote and wild area that has suddenly become super popular.

The devils bathtub trailhead had a huge obviously brand new sign about the trail and then hundreds of words of warning how difficult it is and noting how many search and rescue missions had to be done at that area over the last three years. In the little local attractions brochure section of the cabin we rented, there was a little flyer about it again, describing how rough and difficult the trail was.

When we got there I thought it was the most alarmist nonsense I have ever seen. The short route is basically a 3 mile stroll along a very clear trail, only complicated with maybe a dozen water crossings, which if you accepted that you were going to get your feet wet, didn't require any real dexterity or scrambling prowess. It was a literally no worse than most of the places I go fishing, just requiring a little common sense around wet rocks and the ability to look at the ground ahead of you.

And then as we are hiking out we began encountering people in like flip-flops carrying small pocket dogs with them and I suddenly realized why are all those signs are there. I'm a little torn on it though, because having seen how overblown warnings were about the direct route to the bathtub, I would've absolutely tried to do the full loop without a good map and compass, assuming that they had completely exaggerated its difficultly as well. Maybe I would've been fine, maybe not, but it's got to be hard as hell trying to figure out the right tone to take one trying to describe something a subjective as "difficulty level of a hiking trail ".

Officer Sandvich
Feb 14, 2010


Levitate posted:

e: speaking of funding, the NPS is proposing raising fees in 17 of the busiest parks during peak season...to $70 per vehicle. That is quite an increase, but on the other hand they need money for maintenance and the government sure as poo poo isn't going to help them with funding

Under the proposal the annual pass would remain $80 which is all I really care about. I hope they never raise that...

The ONP annual wilderness pass has gone from $30 to $45 in recent years, but with how the per-night fees have changed it's a better deal now than it was before.

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Levitate
Sep 30, 2005

randy newman voice

YOU'VE GOT A LAFRENIÈRE IN ME


Officer Sandvich posted:

Under the proposal the annual pass would remain $80 which is all I really care about. I hope they never raise that...

The ONP annual wilderness pass has gone from $30 to $45 in recent years, but with how the per-night fees have changed it's a better deal now than it was before.

Yah, I agree, this seems to basically be targeting the once per year visitors

I'm sure it'll get shouted down in the public comment period though and they'll revise it or dump it

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