Maps and Research

OK this Is the last thing I have to say about packing (I said that with my fingers crossed, but you couldn't see that, could you?)

Just needed to get some thoughts out the way, so here is the final part of this series, then I can get on to my Wales trip late in 2009

The Internet is great, it gives us access to a phenomenal amount of information, and most of time it is true. But on the path nothing beats the good old Ordinance Survey maps my dad used to use. The Internet of course makes it easy to get hold of them too. In fact even with postage it’s cheaper to buy them in advance and have them mailed to my home in the US, than to purchase them at full price at the destination.
I prefer the paper maps to the coated maps, it’s a fraction lighter, but more importantly you can write on them. I generally like to hike a route with a map one time, so I consider maps to be consumable items.
By the time I get to the start of the hike my map will be marked with:
• Location of YHA/Campground/potential camping sites, including phone numbers/Name/any other relevant information (red)
• Exact minute of sunset for the day I will be arriving at each destination (red)
• Every pub (PH) on or near the route is circled (Blue)
• Every grocery store close to my route (Tesco, Costcutter, Coop, Asda, Sainsburys, Spar, Morrisons, Waitrose, Sommerfields) has been Googled and precisely located - I love Google, I am a total Google maps freak...(Blue)
• Coffee shops (Blue) (Thanks again Google)
• Locations of Bus stops, ferrys, train stations complete with the bus number and anticipated times (Red)
In effect the map becomes a “Just-in-Time” repository for all the information on your route. Where you need it, when you need it.
The internet is the place to research the information; the Map is the place to store it.
Then at the end of each day, or in a coffee shop, or pub, I will carefully trace, in black ink, my route so far. Sometimes I get a couple of days behind, but defiantly do it while its fresh in my mind.
In addition to making the journey easier it saves me from carrying numerous other pieces of paper on my trip.

So thats it, Happy hiking

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