|I am supplying a limited amount of information
(but probably far more waypoints than you would get from many other sources).
You need to make sure you have all the information and skills necessary
to finish the trip successfully, for instance, without getting lost, injured,
or worse. I do what I can with the resources I have to produce maps
and location data that I wish I had for travel in the particular area.
Accuracy will vary even though I take great care
in gathering and processing the data. Most of the results are an
average of data gathered at two different time periods to help improve
the accuracy. People and nature change things so that the data can
be wrong even after a very short period of time. For instance I've
seen a wilderness boundary sign moved shortly after I marked its location.
The accuracy will vary depending on the type of terrain and the satellite
constellation at the time the data was gathered in addition to other variables.
Try out the data for the local urban parks such
as Garden of the Gods or Bear Creek Regional Park before using the data
for the high country. Note that it is probably more accurate because
there where many more measurements and often fewer obstructions compared
to the high country or less accessible areas. Use the local urban
parks to learn how to use a GPS receiver or to practice.
Not all geographical or man made features will be marked so don't be surprised
that there is a stream to cross where there is no waypoint.
Waypoint classification may be in error due to incomplete knowledge, a
mistake, or changes by man and/or nature.
Sometimes waypoint classification is subjective so don't be surprised if
the trail looks like a road to you.
Do not count on water being in a "stream" because it wasn't classified
as an intermittent stream.
A stream that is thought to run all year may be dry because of drought
conditions or some other reason.
Sometimes it is difficult to decide whether a road is a trail (double track)
or a trail is a road. I try to label a double track a road if it
looks like it is often used by cars or truck type vehicles (non-ATV's).
It may be closed to the public and only used by park maintenance or water
district personnel, etc. However a road that is closed to the public
but used by official vehicles and that is also officially part of a trail
might be marked as a "trail".
A "road" may be temporarily closed to "regular" vehicles because of landslides,
washouts, tunnel cave-ins, etc. It may not be known whether a "road"
is temporarily closed to "regular" vehicles. If it becomes
permanently closed then it would become a "trail". So a trail (double
track) may be a road that is old and no longer used by "regular" vehicles.
The "Old Trail Junction", "Old Road Junction", "Spur", and "Cross-country
junction" classifications don't imply the type of track of the other branch.
The other branch may be a trail or road. The "Cross-country junction" may
be off of another "cross-country" route.
An "Old Road Junction" is likely not to fit the definition of a road above.
"OJR" is used when an old road branches off of the main trail (which was
probably part of the old road system). The old road probably hasn't
been used in many years.
Narrow trails (single track) may or may not be open to and used by motorized
vehicles such as "dirt bikes" and ATV's.
A "cross-country" route is very likely not to have any sign of travel by
people. That means finding your way is up to you and the skills you
"Cross-country" routes may be unofficial (social) trails or "minor" trails
because enough people use the same route. A "cross-country" route
may really be a "game" (dear, elk, cow, etc.) trail or the remnant of an
What is labeled as a trail in one area might have a tread that is less
distinct than what is labeled a cross-country route in another area.
A rarely used official trail in a remote part of a wilderness area and
a well used social trail near a populated area would be one example.
You must know your ability and the hazards of wilderness travel.
Know how to find your way without a GPS.
Weather can be hazardous in many ways. Lightning claims many lives
especially in Florida and Colorado. You must understand that streams and
rivers won't have bridges across them in the wilderness. A stream
that is easy to cross at one time of day may be impossible to cross at
another time because of rain, snow melt, or dam release, etc. The
rain doesn't necessarily have to be coming down where you are located.
Just because there are many of people on exposed ridges or mountain tops
during an electrical storm doesn't mean it is safe to be there! The
only reason there aren't more deaths in the Colorado high country is because
there are only so many lightning strikes per hour and many acres to hit.
Many people are really lucky. So when was the last time you won big
in the lottery?
Snow melt generally results in higher water later in the day but not always.
I have seen water higher in the morning than the evening before it.
Snow and ice can cause you to fall or can fall on top of you.
Some routes up mountains are technical so you should be familiar with rock
climbing techniques. I may or may not mention it on the maps.
Just because a pass has a name doesn't mean that there is a trail over
it or that it is easy to cross.
There are always exceptions (which may or may not prove the rule!).
This is by no means a complete or thorough list.
Copyright © 2001, 2002 by Dan Anderson. All rights reserved.