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  1. #1
    Registered User Kookork's Avatar
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    Default Alone or in a group, When are you more prone to lose the trail?

    When following white blaze or trail signs or a route do you think you are more prone to lose the trail when you are hiking alone or when you are in a group?

  2. #2

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    In a group, alone I'm paying more attention, in a group setting I've seen people walk right past a turn-off while BS'n.

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    lone wolves walk alone. they don't lose the trail. ever

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    doesn't matter if i'm being personally accountable as i should be

  5. #5

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    ...that said I have missed turn-offs while fatigued and not paying attention. Funny how when you backtrack, you find the last marker and wonder how ya missed it in the first place???
    So...

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    I'm more likely to lose the trail in a group (distractions). I'm more likely to abandon the trail in a group as well (because I generally don't bushwhack solo).
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  7. #7
    Registered User Kookork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    lone wolves walk alone. they don't lose the trail. ever
    Lone wolves define the trails. Wherever they are, there the trail is.

    How are you Sir? Is the heart pumping with passion as always?

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    yes kook. all is well

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    Really interesting question. I'd say it makes no difference. Mistakes are made at about the same rate.

    1/2 of the time I walk alone. 7/16 of the time with one other partner. 1/16 with more than one partner. (Something like that )

  10. #10
    Registered User Kookork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    Really interesting question. I'd say it makes no difference. Mistakes are made at about the same rate.

    1/2 of the time I walk alone. 7/16 of the time with one other partner. 1/16 with more than one partner. (Something like that )
    I have hiked the same trail twice, once alone and once with a company.
    My experience seems to be like this: When alone I am solely responsible for finding my way thus I pay more attention. I still lose the trail when I am exhausted or I am day dreaming deeply . When I am hiking with company and we are conversing then sometimes we forget about paying attention to the signs and although we should be less prone but in reality we assume that the other person is paying attention to the signs when actually we are both deep into our conversation and the chance of missing a blaze is higher while the chance of noticing the mistake is not as double as it should be.

    I lost the same trail more frequently the second time when we were two hikers. In group hiking when I was in a club, We used to designate someone to lead and never engage in conversation and every couple of hours we switched the designated leader.

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    Dont know about getting lost, but group think is responsible for groups getting into trouble . I occassionally follow a bad trail, miss a turn, etc. Usually recognize within a short distance that "this trail doesnt seem well defined enough" anymore. Especially around rocky outcroppings on peaks, there can be several trails people create looking for views or camp sites.

    Would others make same mistake along with me? I hope not.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 10-25-2016 at 21:28.

  12. #12

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    I've missed turns several times while talking with another person. My feet continue ahead automatically while my brain is diverted by the conversation.

  13. #13
    Registered User Kookork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Walker View Post
    I've missed turns several times while talking with another person. My feet continue ahead automatically while my brain is diverted by the conversation.
    Good point. It seems that when we are on autopilot, we just take the easiest path ahead. turning sharp left or right is not autopilot-ed I guess.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kookork View Post
    I have hiked the same trail twice, once alone and once with a company.
    My experience seems to be like this: When alone I am solely responsible for finding my way thus I pay more attention. I still lose the trail when I am exhausted or I am day dreaming deeply . When I am hiking with company and we are conversing then sometimes we forget about paying attention to the signs and although we should be less prone but in reality we assume that the other person is paying attention to the signs when actually we are both deep into our conversation and the chance of missing a blaze is higher while the chance of noticing the mistake is not as double as it should be.

    I lost the same trail more frequently the second time when we were two hikers. In group hiking when I was in a club, We used to designate someone to lead and never engage in conversation and every couple of hours we switched the designated leader.

    Yep, pretty much. Each person might be assuming someone else knows the way. Occasionally though, when everyone's attentive, the synergy works.

  15. #15
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    There are very few places on the AT where you will not stay on the trail, even with minimal attention.

    I recall two road crossings in PA where the trail didn't pick up immediately on the other side, even though there was an (unblazed) trail of sorts there. The actual AT was down the road, sort of marked. And of course in the Whites, where signage doesn't favor the AT (the AT follows trails that existed before there was an AT, using original names) and cairns sometimes stand in for blazes.

  16. #16
    Registered User theinfamousj's Avatar
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    The few times I have lost a trail have all been in a group setting. So group for sure.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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    I definitely got furthest off trail while walking with a group. First day into Pennsylvania walking with a couple of friends, crossed a road and missed an arrow and a crude stick barrier and walked about a mile up a valley which actually had a single white blaze on a tree, not sure if it used to be the trail or not. We ended up at some sort of pump station with a chain link fence and believe it or not we were thinking we possibly had to climb the fence to carry on...we finally came to our senses and back tracked back to the road, each of us blaming the other for the mix up...overall not too bad, but after 1000 miles you'd think we'd of had better senses.

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    Oh yeah almost forgot, Pennsylvania also held the most confusing section just south of Palmerton where they developed some sort of alternative to the white blaze, I believe it was a white blaze with fuzzy edges. I guess this other trail ran with the AT for a while then diverted. I was certain that I was on the wrong trail for probably 6-8 miles until I finally limped into Palmerton...anyone remember this section? Probably been talked about before, but definitely had me as confused as confused could be.

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    We went about a mile on the wrong trail in the Smokies. We had taken an unblazed side trail up to the AT from the valley below. On the way we passed an intersection with another trail. On the way back, busy with conversation, each assuming the other "knew" which way to go, we turned at the wrong intersection. Only when we got to a backcountry campsite did we say uh-oh. It would have been so easy to pause at that intersection, check the map if we were unsure, and stay on track.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Walker View Post
    I've missed turns several times while talking with another person. My feet continue ahead automatically while my brain is diverted by the conversation.

    This. The AT is generally clearly marked, but it is possible to go astray. Groups are more likely to contain people who are talking animatedly and fail to notice change of direction indicators like signs and logs lying across the trail.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

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