It’s not very often that a single outing on the trail warrants a post of its own, but our last hike falls into that category.
It’s not because of stunning natural scenario or wildlife sightings. There weren’t even any brain farts that could provide a comical story.
This hike was all about trying to follow the trail.
I’ve been vocal on previous posts about my irritation with trying to find and follow trail blazes that provide direction on the Trans-Canada. Maybe they’re not so important on uninterrupted stretches where the direction is obvious, but they’re critical when faced with options.
From my planning of this hike, I knew we were about to enter a 15km forested section of trail with a network of alternative trails that resemble a spider’s web. The probability of getting lost without good trail markings was going to be very high.
However, we were about to enter the “Trail Capital of Canada”, so I had to believe that they would know a thing or two about marking trails.
It may be worth repeating – I have a deep-seated fear of being lost. While Helen and I may strongly disagree on the finer points of what exactly it means to be *lost*, the bottom line is, if I don’t know where I am, I’m lost.
… and I don’t like it.
It occurred to me on our last outing that perhaps the intention on the Trans-Canada was that users would follow the trail using the tracking feature of the mobile app instead of relying on physical trail blazes that need to be maintained by volunteers.
Armed with this new insight, I loaded the app on my phone and away we went.
In less than a kilometre we encountered our first problem. The app did not show all the possible trail directions we were confronted with, and even worse, the app and the blazes on the trail didn’t match.
After a brief discussion, we decided to follow the blazes … Helen has a blatant disregard for technology at the best of times, so this wasn’t a major leap of faith. Our decision was all good until we could no longer find blazes, and to add to my frustration, the app kept crashing and provided no guidance on which direction to follow.
To add further insult, it was chewing through my battery life like a hungry hippo.
Needless to say, the app was completely abandoned, and we went back to our emergency strategy – winging it. Thankfully, once we (as in, Helen) figured out how to read the maps provided in the forest, we were able to navigate our way around – although I’m confident we were often not on the Trans-Canada at all.
One little detail we’ve come to rely on is that the marker posts on any trail will always point north. It’s one of those little bits of knowledge I use to reassure myself I know the direction we are headed. If our understanding is incorrect, please, please, please let us know!!
… and yes, I do carry a compass.