[at-l] 09 Data

Frank Looper nightwalker.at at gmail.com
Sun Dec 6 15:04:06 CST 2009

On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 3:22 PM, Frank Looper <nightwalker.at at gmail.com> wrote:
> http://www.aldha.org/companyn/ma-vt09.pdf

As a matter of fact...

Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee
West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania
New Jersey, New York, Connecticut
Massachusetts, Vermont
New Hampshire, Maine

>From The Online Companion

But at least you didn't have to venture into the wilds of the Googles!

I have copies of these all the way back to '04. There is no reasonable
reason why. But it was funny to watch the elevation change at Tesnatee
and Hogpen gaps from one year to the next. They changed from the
wonked-up, wrong info that ALDHA was using to the info on the highway
sign at both gaps. Don't remember the year. Could look it up. Doubt I

It was so funny in '05 talking to this absolutely stupid and green
thru-hiker at Tray Mt. shelter who was SO proud of the altimeter on
his wrist. It was the size of an espresso saucer. I told him it was
wrong. He told me that it agreed exactly with the elevation listed on
the shelter and in the companion. I told him they were all wrong, and
asked him why his matched theirs so closely. He said he had calibrated
it using the numbers on the side of the shelter. I showed him the GPS
that I was using to gather data with. It was absolutely the best
hand-held mapping GPS available at the time. So is my current one, but
it is not the same one.

Anyway, the GPS had been sitting still for 10 minutes or so, making a
fixed waypoint, and the satellite pattern was especially good that
day. The expected Horizontal error was around 5 feet. Vertical is
always about double the horizontal. The GPS disagreed with the GATC on
elevation by about 30 feet at that shelter, as it did most of the way
through Georgia. It turned out that when Del Doc had gathered data in
the area in '02, there was a problem with the antenna that he was
using. When the cartographer went to re-do the maps, he had to use the
old 80s-vintage Topos as overlays in his GIS to guess at a lot of the
elevations and shelter locations. When they later re-gathered the data
with a newer, better GPS, the companion and my GPS started magically
agreeing, or at least being very close.

But that's not the real story. That idjit carried a grudge about me
laughing at his useless toy all the way to Maine--well, I didn't
really laugh. Just told him it was wrong. Might have said useless. As
soon as he got back, he went to WB.net and told in great detail how
dumb I would have to be to think that my GPS could be better than the
elevations that the ATC cartographer had cadged off a 20+-year-old
USGS Topo map, that I snored, and that I was the most irritating
person that he met in 6 months of hiking--which strangely enough was
all the hiking he had ever done, as far as I could tell.

An even funnier part of the story is that when I went to Baxter State
Park later in the year ('06), the rangers still remembered him from
the year before as the whiniest, most self-entitled finisher of the
year before. Can you imagine carrying a grudge about a toy for 6
months, and then excoriating someone over it, then having been
absolutely wrong in the first place? At the time, I could not.

Later on, I found out that I had been carrying a grudge for 5 years at
an outfitter over something that the owner didn't even know about, and
would have fixed in a second if I had not just assumed that his
employees spoke for him (well, technically, they do). Anyway, I
thought it was funny that I had been doing the same thing that I had
been looking down my nose at this stick-green newbie for doing. But
hey, everyone knows I'm a nice guy. Unless I'm off my meds, having a
PTSD episode, it's been too long since I had a hike, or my team lost
the last two games (Grrrr Clemson, Grrrr). So, anyway, it's probably
completely different.

You know what else is different? Me and Felix. We both tell
"interesting" stories, but he writes his down somewhere besides the
AT-L so that he can go back and look at them later. I just throw mine
out into the interwebs. Sometimes a few people read them; sometimes no
one does. But years later, he still has his, and mine are gone the
minute I hit SEND.


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