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Hiking goals Tue, Jun 02, 2009
Two weekends in a row I've gone hiking.  Two weekends in a row I've read a map incorrectly or made some other navigational mistake, resulting in a hike much longer than originally planned.  What I should've learned after the first time was that a hike, like many things, should consist of specific, measurable goals, and that if such goals are not met by a certain time, a decision should be made, most likely to turn back.  For example, both recent hikes had certain waypoints, such as a trail crossing or a waterfall.  These things were supposed to appear after a certain number of miles.  We should've said from the outset that if we didn't see these waypoints by a certain time based on the slowest speed (2 mph on average, 1 mph being ridiculously slow), we should've turned back or at least taken a closer look at the map.  In both cases it would've cut the length of the misguided hike in half, and in one case would've saved a call to the state park police after following a trail for four times its stated length while carrying next to no gear and watching the sun quickly disappear. #sports

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