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Re: [BackpackGearTest] Re: OOP - Monday May 27, 2005

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  • Andrew Priest
    ... AP: Map and compass. However, we did have a GPSr with us on this trip which when we did hit a track that was unexpected during the off-track section was
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 2, 2005
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      At 03:37 AM 3/06/2005, you wrote:
      >Andrew.
      >
      >Just curious. Do you navigate the bush using pure map and compass, or
      >with GPS thrown in as well?

      AP:> Map and compass. However, we did have a GPSr with us on this trip
      which when we did hit a track that was unexpected during the off-track
      section was pulled out and fired up to help pinpoint where we where. I
      generally only use my GPSr bushwalking when I am geocaching or looking for
      Trig Points when on backpacks.

      >And is this primarily "flatland"
      >navigation (which can be very tricky if there are few features), or
      >are there hills and canyons to negotiate (which can also make the
      >navigator's life fun)<g>?

      Thick bush (particularly near water), hills and creeks. Little to no
      long-distance visibility and therefore no ability to locate "horizon"
      features to use as reference points, so very much reliant on contours,
      hopefully marked creeks, hopefully marked tracks etc. We use 1:50 000 maps.
      Nothing larger available for the area which is reasonably up to date. Not
      that the maps we use are that great. Lots of old logging tracks marked but
      which often can't be found on the ground.

      On this trip we realised we were on a unmarked track when it started to
      descend into a steep gully and we where heading to far south. The map was
      showing the track we thought we were on was heading more south-west and
      contouring.

      The "mistake" we made (I was not leading, so I can plead innocent on this
      one ;-)) was that we did not then retrace our steps to our last known point
      which was a Reference Tree. Reference Trees are trees marked with grid
      references based on the old mile grid system. The trees are also marked on
      the current maps, providing when they are correct (not always the case) a
      pretty good indication of where you are.

      We had a "reasonable" idea of our locality, well sufficient enough to make
      the reasonable call to head in a westerly direction as our camp site was on
      the Bibbulmun Track which is on the Murray River and in the area we where,
      it is aligned in a north-south direction. Heading in a westerly direction
      therefore would have resulted in our intersecting of the Track and/or River.

      As it turned out we headed west, entered a creek valley which was not
      expected (it turns out we where further east than we expected) and then the
      track we thought we where on. Pulled out the GPSr confirmed our position
      then headed off on the correct track to find it subsequently overgrown, so
      a short downhill bush-bash resulted anyway before we intersected the
      Bibbulmun Track.

      This all came about because we decided to take a "short cut" ... :-)

      Added some excitement to the day, but just made us late getting into camp.
      Not a big issue for most of us on the walk but some of the less experienced
      members where a bit concerned.

      BTW 98% of that days walk was not on marked walking trails. We don't do a
      lot of marked trail walking, but we do often make use of campsites on the
      Bibbulmun Track due to very poor water availability. Often take circuits
      which lead to the campsites, but avoid the Track.

      The Track goes through some our better walking areas in reasonably close
      proximity to Perth (1 to 3 hours drive).

      Regards
      Andrew






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    • edwardripleyduggan
      Andrew, Sounds like a bushwhack. The term perhaps has other connotations in Australia, I believe, dating from the days of Ned Kelly. I prefer these over
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 3, 2005
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        Andrew,

        Sounds like a "bushwhack." The term perhaps has other connotations in
        Australia, I believe, dating from the days of Ned Kelly.<g> I prefer
        these over trail hiking, as there's a sense of exploration involved.
        Having said that, I hike trails too, as some (especially in this part
        of the country) can be pretty rugged and demanding.

        GPS is handy for those problem moments, I must say, provided its use
        is leavened with common sense. It's true that one would work it out
        eventually with map and compass, but it often makes for an easier
        recovery after a navigational error (of which I make my fair share).
        The issue in leaf season is that usually any landmarks (peaks, etc.)
        are obscured by the canopy, so hikers in this region are in a not
        dissimilar situation to yours.

        I find the "reference tree" concept interesting. There are USGS survey
        markers (and others) here and there, but they are frequently almost
        impossible to find, unless on a peak. Those near trails tend to get
        totally overgrown, and since they are just small metal plates inset in
        a rock, there's no obvious indication.

        Aah, I love those "short cuts"...

        Ted.
      • Ralph Ditton
        G day again Ted, The reference trees are quite common in this part of the world. The surveyors who did this would remove a piece of bark, usually chest high on
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 3, 2005
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          G'day again Ted,



          The reference trees are quite common in this part of the world.

          The surveyors who did this would remove a piece of bark, usually chest high
          on an average adult, chisel out the reference letters and numbers then paint
          them white, or if they were lazy just paint the information on the tree. I
          think most of the referencing was done in the 30's and 40's but Andrew may
          have more on that.

          I am off tomorrow for my bush bash, Dwellingup to Mount Wells and return and
          it is raining. What fun.

          Cheers

          Ralph



          _____

          From: BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of edwardripleyduggan
          Sent: Friday, 3 June 2005 10:47 PM
          To: BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [BackpackGearTest] Re: OOP - Monday May 27, 2005



          Andrew,

          Sounds like a "bushwhack." The term perhaps has other connotations in
          Australia, I believe, dating from the days of Ned Kelly.<g> I prefer
          these over trail hiking, as there's a sense of exploration involved.
          Having said that, I hike trails too, as some (especially in this part
          of the country) can be pretty rugged and demanding.

          GPS is handy for those problem moments, I must say, provided its use
          is leavened with common sense. It's true that one would work it out
          eventually with map and compass, but it often makes for an easier
          recovery after a navigational error (of which I make my fair share).
          The issue in leaf season is that usually any landmarks (peaks, etc.)
          are obscured by the canopy, so hikers in this region are in a not
          dissimilar situation to yours.

          I find the "reference tree" concept interesting. There are USGS survey
          markers (and others) here and there, but they are frequently almost
          impossible to find, unless on a peak. Those near trails tend to get
          totally overgrown, and since they are just small metal plates inset in
          a rock, there's no obvious indication.

          Aah, I love those "short cuts"...

          Ted.





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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Andrew Priest
          ... Hi Ted If you go to http://aushiker.com/mount_dale_assault_photos.htm and the first photo on the second row you will see a Reference Tree. This one is easy
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 4, 2005
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            At 10:46 PM 3/06/2005, you wrote:
            >I find the "reference tree" concept interesting. There are USGS survey
            >markers (and others) here and there, but they are frequently almost
            >impossible to find, unless on a peak. Those near trails tend to get
            >totally overgrown, and since they are just small metal plates inset in
            >a rock, there's no obvious indication.

            Hi Ted

            If you go to http://aushiker.com/mount_dale_assault_photos.htm and the
            first photo on the second row you will see a Reference Tree. This one is
            easy to find, being located on the edge of the road. Sometimes the road has
            moved, sometimes the tree maybe off the road (I know of one which is no
            longer near a road or track - the track is long gone), sometimes the tree
            has long gone, so whilst they are good, they are not something that can be
            relied on.

            Regards
            Andrew


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