Today's Friday Feature
describes an outdoor adventure in New England. Below, Paul shares trek into Maine's wilderness and why he considers his Garmin GPS indispensable.
"While looking for some exploring to do while I was home in Massachusetts in the winter of 2002, I checked out the New England clubs online. On one of the ride boards, someone was trying to get interest in a trip to Maine. Some folks in Maine had made a winter trek to a pair of abandoned locomotives in the Allagash Wilderness. This is ghost town stuff. I have never really had the western ghost town experience so the thought of two huge locomotives in the remote wilderness might be the closest I would get to anything like that."
"So with plans put in place for outfitting vehicles and people, and with a date set, we locked down our plans and staged for departure. Our road trip will take us to Massachusetts where we will pick up my father, New Hampshire, where Carl will spend the night with his brother, then to Ellsworth where we will pick up Carl's father. The last leg of our road trip will land us in Greenville, Maine where we will step off into the wilderness and travel up the western side of Moosehead Lake, into the North Maine Woods at the 20 Mile Check Point. We may make a brief stop at Pittston Farm. Then we will work our way up to the area around Allagash Lake where we will make camp and explore the vicinity for a day or two. After a visit to the trains, and perhaps to the Ice Cave on Allagash Lake, we will explore as we go, no doubt with the self-encouraged delusion that we are the first to come to these places..."
"Once I had determined where we were going, how long we were staying, I spoke with the Allagash Wilderness Waterway ranger and got some local insight. I learned things that I couldn't possibly see on the map, for instances which roads would provide us with the most driving challenges, where we could not park, and the nature of the woods near where we wanted to hike. With all this information, I began the very tedious process of recording waypoints, naming them with a scheme that would cross-reference them to the paper Atlas that we'll be using, entering them into the GPS, creating routes, and finally verifying each and every one to confirm that it was recorded and entered correctly. In all there are nearly 100 points that will be used in our navigation. When I got to the validation step, I found that there were about six marks that had been entered incorrectly. As it turned out, three of them were critical marks as they represented the location of camp sites for which we have fire permits. I am happy to report that the errors were easy to spot and correct. The final review of the waypoint plot compared to my annotated DeLorme's confirms that there are no more errors. This certainly is taking something to the extreme, but when it comes to knowing where we are in a place like this, I just can't see any other way."
"We set out for Maine and after a day and a half, guided by our Garmin
, we literally stuck it with a perfect navigation to our campsite. Over the next week we explored the Maine wilderness, found the trains, and lots of other landmarks. Without the GPS would have been very difficult or impossible to locate. This was a trip of a lifetime that included my father, and two friends. It would not have been possible without the GPS, or perhaps possible but considerably more difficult!"
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