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Archive for the 'Mapping' Category

Indian Trail at Big Pocono State Park

Monday, November 24th, 2008

On Saturday, Sarah and I hiked at Big Pocono State Park. It was cold, with the high temperature for the day in the 20s, and quite windy — with gusts to about 30 mph. We felt every bit of it, too, as the park is at the very top of Camelback Mountain, and that is where we parked, completely exposed at around 2100 feet. The wind was so strong that it kept blowing the trunk closed as we tried to get ready for our hike. The road going to the trailhead was closed, so we parked in the main lot, I snapped a few photos of the views, and we started our hike.

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Panoramic view to the north

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View to the south

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The Delaware Water Gap is visible in the distance

This hike was also a gear test for my new GPS. I had one previously, but at some point it stopped working, and it never worked very well on my bicycle. The new GPS, a Garmin eTrex Venture, worked incredibly well. It gets a much stronger signal and seems to be more accurate than my old GPS. This will allow me to do some cool things like geotagging my photos, and posting maps of our activities. For example, see this hike on motionbased.com, or this interactive Google map:

View Larger Map

I have a lot to learn about that stuff, but I think it will make for some interesting ways of presenting photos combined with maps. Another fun way to look at it is in Google Earth. Here’s an example.


Google Earth view

Since this hike starts at the top of the mountain, there’s nowhere to go but down. It started with a smooth, gradual hike down the side of the mountain, and once we got away from the mountaintop and into the woods, we weren’t as exposed to the wind. Eventually we warmed up from the physical activity, but for the first 15 minutes or so we were quite cold.

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Easy hiking through birch trees

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You can see how cold Sarah felt

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Snowy moss

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Me

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Sky

The trail got perpetually rockier as we hiked. After a while, we reached the edge of a cliff, which the trail followed, quite close to the edge. This afforded us some great views of Tannersville below us in a large valley, with the Delaware Water Gap and New Jersey in the distance.

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Rocky trail

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Panoramic view — worth viewing large

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Unidentified building

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Big rocks, part of the trail

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Delaware Water Gap

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Sarah

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Precipitous trail

The trail turned back away from the edge, and now it was time for some climbing. The rock-to-trail quotient increased further. It was slow going, but we were having a lot of fun. The sun was getting low in the sky, the trees throwing long shadows, and we enjoyed the quiet and beautiful hike back up the mountain.

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Hiking into the sun

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The trail climbed this rock wall. If you look closely you can see an orange blaze on a rock.

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More rocks

We reached the connector trail that went back to the car, but we hadn’t had enough. We looked at the map and figured out a way to extend our hike by about another mile. It looked like it would be mostly flat, but there was still significant climbing ahead of us. In a way this was preferable as the more we climbed, the warmer we felt. And as the sun followed its downward trajectory the sky took on new hues.

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Climbing

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Looking back at Sarah, and the elevation we’d gained

We reached a power line right-of-way, and peering down we had a great view of the valley below us to the south. There was a small lake that appears to have been Mountain Spring Lake, and another, Trout Lake, behind it, and the whole scene was illuminated by nearly-sidewise rays of sunlight. I fought my way through a bush to get a good shot.

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Looking toward Mountain Spring Lake

A short while later I discovered that my efforts to find this clear view were not necessary. We found a vista, complete with a rock on which to sit, or stand. I stood atop this rock and gazed down on the land below, the lakes, the Delaware Water Gap in the distance, and who knows what, beyond that. I watched as the clouds caught the sunlight and refracted it erratically. I took a deep breath, drinking in this crisp mountain air, and held my wife close to me. It doesn’t get any better than this, peering out over the land in our new home, with my beautiful wife. When we lived in Indiana, we grew to feel a sense of ownership of the land. We were familiar with every twist and turn of many roads, the topography of the land, and many of the sights and sounds. I knew, standing here, that soon we’d feel the same way about this place. But more importantly, that we would discover this new land together.

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Taking in the view

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Panoramic image of the view (view large)

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An even better view, if you ask me

We had a little hiking left, but we were almost back. It wasn’t the longest hike we’ve done, or easiest, or the most challenging, but it was quite beautiful, and even more memorable.

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Sunlight

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Solitary tree

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Back in the parking lot; one last look to the north before heading out

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Sarah again. If she ever runs for office, maybe she can use this shot.

Another mixed media ride on the Long Haul Trucker

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

The Long Haul Trucker continues to impress. Once I got the idea to try it on a trail, I knew I had to go for it. Last night, I cobbled together a route that traversed paved and gravel roads, a bike path, and even some light singletrack — as many different types of terrain as I could find. If I could find some dirt roads to throw into the mix, I’d have all my bases covered, I think.

My ride started in the same area as my previous ride, but instead of taking Knightridge to Gross, I took Lampkins Ridge Road. I had never ridden on this road before, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. A long, flowing, mostly-downhill ride for a few miles. On roads like this I really appreciate the wider tires on the Trucker, as they allow me to lean into the turns more and ride on rough, curvy roads with more confidence.

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Lampkins Ridge Road

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Action shot

Lampkins Ridge spit me out onto Friendship Road, a gravel road I rode for the first time the night before. I tried to capture some photos that didn’t work out too well last time.

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Gravel

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Bridge. A sign said it was made in Lafayette, IN.

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The Trucker on the bridge

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Bike by a field

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Wheel on the metal grate bridge, water below

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Friendship Road, again. Lovely.

I rode down 46 briefly. I wish riding on that road didn’t make me feel such anxiety — it’s very scenic — but traffic moves very quickly and there’s no shoulder. Fortunately, traffic was light.

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Barn on 46

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46

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Concerns in your crawl? Give me a call. CRAWLSPACE DOCTOR.

I turned on Getty’s Creek Road and took it down to Kerr Creek Road. There’s a hiking/biking trail through the woods near the neighborhood where I grew up, and I used to go back there all the time. I knew it dumped out onto some road or driveway that connects to Kerr Creek Road, and wanted to find that trailhead. I use “trailhead” loosely, the trail unceremoniously reaches the road. There are no markings, and if you didn’t know it was there you’d never find it.

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Riding on Getty’s Creek Road

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The Trucker, showing off its lack of decals

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Kerr Creek Road

Hell, I knew the trail was there, and I still had trouble finding it. I rode up a big hill thinking maybe it was at the top of the hill, but it turned out not to be. I made the climb for no real reason. I called Sarah and asked her to look at a map for me, and she gave me some help. I ended up finding the driveway up and rode back up the same hill a different way. This was quite a long and steep climb, but the low gearing on the Trucker made it easy.

It was getting pretty dark by the time I found the trail, but there was enough light to see. The Trucker handled the trail very well, better than I expected. It was rough going over rocks and roots in the trail, but fortunately it’s not a highly-technical trail. I don’t think I’d take this bike on hardcore trails, but on a trail like this it handled phenomenally well. Not once did I lose traction, even with the mostly-slick tires that came with the bike. It was exhilarating riding through the woods on a road-ish bike, it’s definitely more challenging than on a real mountain bike, and at least as much fun. I heard deer shuffling through the woods on either side of me as I rode.

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The Trucker in the woods at night

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Approaching the exit

Once I was out of the woods (literally), there was a lot more light. I’ll have to go back sometime soon when there’s more light to get some photos of the bike on the trail. The trail spit me out less than two miles from home. I’m so lucky to have all these great riding options so close to where I live, and this is the kind of ride that would be impossible on the road bike and miserable on a mountain bike. The Trucker handles everything I throw at it with aplomb, and I haven’t even tried it loaded down, which is where it truly excels. This ride was only 16.5 miles but had almost 1600 feet of climbing and a fair amount of off-road riding.

Out of curiosity I looked at Google Earth after I got home to see what its view of some of the terrain looks like. I was pretty floored at how accurate it was. Here’s a view of the drive up to the “trailhead” I described earlier — I should have drawn the path on there, but I came from the lower-right corner, and the trail started by the yellow pin and headed west from there. As you can see, it was quite a climb.

Kerr Creek Rd (drive off it) up to trail
Google Earth view of the drive off Kerr Creek Rd

Sometime soon I’ll go into Google Earth and lookat its depiction of some more parts of my routes. I wonder if they’re all this accurate.

GPS Mapping

Friday, August 18th, 2006

I’ve tried mapping my ride at Brown County State Park with a few different programs. The data is from my Garmin eTrex Vista GPS, which is mounted on my handlebars. Here are the results (click for larger versions).

Google Earth:

Garmin Mapsource Topo:

ExpertGPS Trial – Topographic map:

ExpertGPS Trial – Aerial photo:

ExpertGPS Trial – Elevation Profile

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