Wednesday, September 9, 2020

GBT Guide Part 4

Great Basin Trail: Guide

GBT Map Set and Track:
I have a Great Basin Trail map set and GPX track available for aspiring hikers but under certain stipulations. I have created an email address (greatbasintrail@gmail.com) to address questions and for potential obtainment of the GBT map set and track. I am open to freely sharing the resource but I will only acknowledge the requests based on my intimate knowledge of the aspiring hiker or after a set of interview questions. The set I have potentially available is a first draft/edition which will be updated by myself, or from feedback and information from other hikers. When the updates occur I will resend the updated draft to the folks that have already had the previous map set drafts.


The Great Basin Trail is for the hiker, whether long distance or section or day hiker, who wants to explore the Great Basin region. I have put together a themed route solely contained within Nevada that I believe hits some of the highlights of this often overlooked region. Because of the remoteness, general nature of the rugged terrain, navigational and logistical challenges I will have some general interview questions to discuss skill level and experience, realistic goals and expectations, safety precautions and measures. Reason being is I do not want anyone to get in over their head who do not quite understand the endeavor they are undertaking. I understand this trail is not for everyone, especially inexperienced hikers. I understand as well that that phrase, 'inexperienced hikers,' is relative and/or subjective to any person or hiker. But since I have developed and hiked this route I understand the rigors and skill set needed to hike this route. And I am open to conversation about the GBT and map set resources.

In time, I truly hope to have at least 1 hiker to thru hike the GBT. I really believe in this route in its scenic value, wilderness experience, the provided growth of skill set challenges, the small towns and people of the Great Basin, and in the design of the route. The GBT has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had in all the years of long distance hiking and besides the characteristics listed in the previous sentence I found the GBT to be incredibly fun. If enough steam is gathered up in GBT hikers and inquiries I will have a Water Report and Databook developed. Furthermore, if interest continues to persist I may end up charging a fee for the complete resource set, considering all the time and energy I have put forth.

Resource Usage:
The Great Basin Trail resources are designed to be utilized in a triple-navigation method, which means to navigate the GBT I highly recommend combining the GBT paper Map Set (priority), with the GAIA GPS track (back-up and verification), and the Nevada Benchmark Atlas book (overview and safety bailouts). The map set and track are inspired by the Desert Trail map books, and plotted and hand drawn maps of the DT. Since the DT is a route driven trail, I have the same aspiration for the Great Basin Trail. On the GBT Map Set I have utilized a red dotted line to guide one through an area. Since the GBT has so much cross country meandering and weaving I refrained from a thick red line that would somewhat show or allude to what I walked. Furthermore, I refrained from not having a sole waypointed track without a dotted line to keep a corridor defined. I believe, especially since I do not envision a ton of hikers out there, that 'guiding' one through a corridor will help in alleviating any extra stress on the landscape. Besides, enough scattered and braided wild horse and cattle trail litter and meander the landscape. So, the red dotted line is a suggestion through from the multitude of options through an area. Plotted waypoints are a specific spot I plotted from to ground truth the route or any major intersections. On top of that, the waypoints are what one should be aware of or a waypoint may ground truth and verify where one should be.

All that said, since the GBT Map Set and Track is route driven the hiker will not have extensive information on what is in front of them. So, inevitably a high skill set is required in navigating through the Great Basin. The resource will help you but not walk you through. Because of this I feel this gives the hiker the freedom to create, to have independence, and to be self-sufficient. However, the caveat is that the hiker will have to count the miles to the next water source, to the next town or road crossing, find their own campsites etc. I have not created a resource for you to not be engaged. The hiker thus creates their own experience. 

Mileage is not given on the map set and is only estimated in the route I have drawn on the GPS track. I do, however, feel my estimated mileage is accurate but that estimation only accounts for meandering in forward progress and not in getting turned around or misplaced. That being said I estimate a thru hike of the Great Basin Trail will be between 1100-1200 miles and will lean closer to the 1200 mile mark. The map set is in the clockwise direction which implies a Spring time thru hike. The 7 Sections and 23 Segments are in that same clockwise direction. I do think if one chooses a Fall time hike the GPS route is solveable enough to figure out the directional cue and information since I had already made the map set and track fairly basic and route-driven. Additionally, plotted waypoints, both informational and locational, are in red, while blue plotted waypoints are for water sources. I only plotted water sources that I found to be somewhat reliable. Until more hikers hike the GBT and provide additional water source information all water source information will be on the map set and track or found en route such as pools and ponds. Segment starts and endings are signified by a yellow flag, while towns are highlighted with a 'fork and knife,' and, finally, cache point suggestions are marked by a 'red cross.'
  
As stated above, if you want any further information please email me at greatbasintrail@gmail.com. I believe the GBT Map Set and Track bring together my effort in sharing a route I have fallen in love with. The GBT is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. And if you are looking to further your skills, or a seeking another long distance trail, or require isolation and time spent in an incredibly scenic area, then the Great Basin Trail may suit your hankerings.

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