This past season I thru hiked the ECT. I’d been hiking the trail for years, but for the last several had been collecting detail that would allow an efficient end-to-end-all-in-one-go trek. Admittedly, the result of that preparation got a little out of hand, but as it turned out the data was not available online. The information was quickly put to use by other hikers.
With previous background in organizing data and web development, I found this an intuitive progression toward collection and distribution. And having grown up using the Internet before it became widely popular, the seed for the idea of freely sharing as much as possible had long ago been planted.
After my thru hike, as I looked closely at other trails in the region, it became clear that there was an amazing disconnect between some great hiking and the terrible representation of those trails online. Text descriptions of a route may have been fine in 1998, but it just doesn’t cut it today. A picture – or in this case a map – is worth a thousand words.
Another feeling that was overwhelmingly present after that hike was that my trail of choice was simply too short. After only a week of walking – just when I started hitting my stride and knocking out some good distances – I reached the end. 300 km had seemed like it was going to be a good haul, but it just wasn’t enough. Of course, in the end it worked out – I had to return to a day job anyway.
To be continued in Part 2….