Has the Internet been a massive mistake? It definitely feels that way sometimes. On the other hand, funny memes! Wheeee! For hikers, getting solid trail info and conditions intel from trustworthy hikers is one benefit we’d definitely miss if the Net went away.
Get Your Trail Intelligence Intelligently
There are so many ways to pick up current hiking “intel”, from following Instagram accounts, to checking AllTrails reports and active subreddits, to Facebook groups.
However, not all sources are reliable or responsible — and some are downright toxic.
Sometimes, too, you have to wade through tons of posts to find what you’re looking for.
Those days may be over.
Reddit user CPuck42 has come up with an ingeniously minimal solution…
Bookmark that spreadsheet with your other hiking links.
Notice the scrollable list of mountains at the bottom of the screen. Use that list to navigate to the peak you’re hiking — and then update it after your hike with your own comments. It’s so simple.
Conor says the idea came from lack of consistency in reporting across various sources of current trail conditions. He thru-hiked the PCT southbound in 2015 (during one of the worst drought stretches on the trail) and literally lived off a crowd-sourced water report.
“I figured trail conditions information could be easily made available to those who wanted it regardless of platform — some people are less comfortable with Zuckerberg owning their info, for example — while truly democratizing it among whoever wanted to edit it.“
Yesss! Not everybody has a Facebook account, or feels comfortable posting in a large public group.
“Especially as we head into winter, I think being able to see when the most recent hiker was out there and whether they needed spikes/snowshoes/etc will be helpful.”
”I’d also just request people use common sense and trust but verify the info they read on any online resource.”
Be a Good Neighbor
The more people update the document, the more valuable it’ll become for the community.
Conor adds, “At the moment I’d like it to remain totally open but, obviously, if people start posting erroneous, incorrect, or misleading info, I’ll have to either require folks to request access or manage the input thru requests to the email address I set up for it. Neither of those are ideal.”
Update: literally within hours of this post being published the document was vandalized — an anonymous user started deleting sheets/mountains from the spreadsheet. (I’m sorry to say there’s a very small number of toxic community members who would even think to do this. Amazing.)
So, for now, the document is behind a request for access — just hit the blue button and, after a short wait, you’ll be granted permission.