On previous trips we have a routine:
1. Read a LOT about about other people's experiences.
2. Search for and download KML files from other hikers.
3. Save KML files and maps for use in Gaia GPS app.
4. Call and talk to knowledgeable forest service personnel.
5. Order a paper map of the trail.
6. Cross reference all information.
7. Follow up with forest service before leaving.
On this trip, we had done some research, but weren't terribly worried about anything because we were going to be on a nice trail outlined in the "brochure" from the USFS.
1. There was not much first hand information about hiking this trail. I did find this article. The article was about the hike taken by a group of people who had similar skills to us and their stay along Medicine Creek. We made a special note about camping out along Medicine Creek as they had, but what we found after getting there, were lots and lots of downed trees and no perceivable place to camp. More on that in the Deer Leap post.
2. No backpackers had uploaded files to the typical trail sites. I didn't even think about trail running sites. That would have been helpful...especially for the Dread and Terror section because the mileage in the "brochure" was not especially accurate.
3. Like I said, I hadn't found any KML files...
4. Therese called and spoke to several people during the month before the trip at the USFS. The best information was from the folks at the Glide Ranger Station. The fellow there had actually hiked the trail and could speak to her questions.
During a previous call, she had requested a copy of the trail map (the "brochure" as we referred to it), which someone hesitantly mailed to her ("it's online...can't you look at it there?"). The folks at the other ranger stations, listed on the "brochure," were not specifically helpful, as they had no personal knowledge of the trail.
Basically the basis for our entire trip were these two resources: the North Umpqua Trail website and the associated brochure (which is much easier to read on paper).
5. Well, we didn't order a paper map. After all, we had the "brochure."
6. Not much to cross reference...
7. One of the other USFS folks that Therese spoke to, had mentioned that there were two sections closed due to slides. This was pretty important information to have and we did follow up the day before we left so that we had the most current information.
In hindsight, I wish that we would have:
- Asked specifically about camping options along the trail rather than relying on the "brochure" which made several sites appear accessible to hikers, but in reality they were not; and
- Brought along a USFS NUT map with notations regarding potential camping locations and potable water information.