It is a rubbish picture, but it does give a slight impression of what is in store. I’ve got to go all the way down and then back up again.
The South Loop of the Whites Creek Trail is a lot less traveled, and a lot harder to follow. I’d already spent a fair bit of time bushwhacking when after I lost the trail, and I was about to take a side trail that led me astray. Side trails and game trails can cause a lot of confusion. GPS (and compass) to the rescue both times. Navigating in dense woodland with no major landmarks is difficult (well I find it difficult). I always know roughly where I am — Missouri 🙂 — but opportunities to get a precise fix on the map are rare — you cannot rely on the trail being where it is marked on the map either. The only reliable guides are the few fixed and identifiable topographic features.
So while I don’t get ‘lost’ I often miss the trail. If my GPS failed I have a back up — the Garmin InReach includes a GPS (and so does my watch come to that), but the most reliable backup I carry is a paper map and my compass. All I need to do is go in a straigh-ish line (that the topography will allow) for the nearest accessible road or edge of the wilderness.
losing the trail is more frustrating than anything because bushwhacking your way through the underbrush is a lot slower than walking on a trail.
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