I’m still contributing to the Guides project at Everytrail.com, which has signed up a half-dozen “partners” besides me to develop GPS-enhanced travel content. For now they’re nice resources for Web travelers, but in the future they’ll be available for download to iPhones and Android phones, so you can, for instance, track your progress up Half Dome (assuming the cables are up and you’ve reserved your spot).
Mine are all grouped at my partner page. Current count: 31. Other partners:
- KQED Quest — Science education at Bay Area outdoors locales.
- Trailspotting — Hikes in Hawaii, High Sierra, New Mexico, the Bay Area and more.
- Calipidder — Seven-part series on backpacking the High Sierra Trail.
- Modern Hiker — Trio of interesting Southern California hikes.
- Beautiful Places — Travels to Mount Saint Helens and Bryce Canyon National Park.
- Travel Savvy Mom — Reports from Paris.
I’ve done a half-dozen guides in the past two months. The highlights:
- Berry Creek Loop at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
- Bay Area Backpacking: The best places for overnighters. Includes new guides for Angel Island, Henry Coe and Point Reyes.
- Best Bay Area Day Hikes — A bundle from Guides I had already written.
I still have a few more Bay Area guides to write; after that I’ll turn to hikes in the Carolinas and points nearby. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited in the Park Service system, so it’s ripe for exploration and guide creation.
In the old days (like, last summer) the bane of guide-enhanced hiking was never knowing where you were, no matter how good the instructions might be. GPS-enabled smartphones could soon make that a thing of the past, though these gadgets are not quite ready for prime time in the outdoors — they can grab a GPS signal in open terrain, but they’re neither waterproof nor impact-resistant, and they turn a plum’s worth of battery power into a prune before you know it.
Still, there’s huge potential here. It’s fun to be batting in the first inning of this one.
Tom, I’m glad to see you’re still active at Everytrail.com. There are quite a few sites that seek to comprehensive, but I think they’re smart to focus on the GPS aspect.
Your guides look very detailed and well written. What GPS device are you currently using? I’m considering a Garmin eTrex Venture HC because of its low cost.
Ken: I have the ETrex Vista Cx; the newer models with “H” in the title use the higher-sensitivity receiver, so they should perform better in deep cover (at some cost to battery life).