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25693Re: Conventional Wisdom Regarding GPS on JMT

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  • richard long
    Nov 7, 2012
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      I thought I might second some thoughts expressed about using a GPS. I stopped using a GPS in the Sierra because I wasn't really using it to navigate! It was more of a toy, and by going back to map and compass, I have found I pay more attention to my surroundings. By returning to using a compass,  my route finding is more accurate. I do a fair amount of cross country hiking as well as trail jaunts.
      Any electronic device can fail, and you save weight of the device and spare batteries by leaving it at home. Compasses are almost bulletproof, and a compass with a sighting mirror gives you an emergency signalling device, and a way to see how dirty your face has become after a few days in the High Sierra! I always carried a map and compass even when I was carrying my GPS for backup.
      Most people can learn the basics of reading a map, and using a compass by spending a few hours with a classic book like "Be an Expert with Map and Compass" by Bjorn Kjellstrom( ISBN0470407654).
      This book is available at most larger libraries, or it is only about $12 new on Amazon. Reading the book, and then practicing with the topo map provided in the book will get you up to speed quickly with the basics, especially if you are only navigating a popular  trail like the JMT.
      Richard Long
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