Thursday, May 8, 2014

Map App

A application developer has a map application for USFS and BLM campgrounds, iTunes Web page, which costs all of $2 in the iTunes app store. And while it's cheap, I have to say it's only about worth the money you pay for it.

The app is based on Google Maps and indexes of US Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campground in western states. For that the app does a good job as well as providing links to additional information about each campground.

What I found to dislike about the app is that it doesn't save a start map and place when you open the app. It resorts to the  world maps, then a map of North America based on your current location. You have to go to the "set current location" window to click the place you set for your preferred place.

This could be resolved by just saving the map and location information. The second is that, despite having a checkbox for "walk/hike in" campsites, it doesn't have any. All the USFS campground are all drive-in sites. Or at least the areas I've looked at.

The main area I checked was Mt. Rainier NP. All the campgrounds are accessible by car, and only those on maps of the Forest Service forest or Wilderness Areas around Mt. Rainier NP.  This is in part because the backcountry campsites are only on other maps but are listed in guides and other publications.

This means detailed information isn't readily available to put into an app like this one. So if you're looking for backcountry campsites in USFS forests or BLM lands, this isn't the app for you. Your best bet is USGS topographic maps and hiking books.

The last minor inconvenience is that it leaves the icon on your dock. If you don't want it, you have to trash it and keep remembering to remove it everytime you close the app. This should be a user setting or not keep it and let the user put it there from the applications folder.

Aside from these things the app is good for what it does and if you travel a lot and use car accessible USFS and BLM campgrounds, this is a good app for $2.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Updated Book

Peggy Goldman has updated her book, "Washington Scrambles", published by the Mountaineers and available in both print and e-book (PDF) formats. The book has 8 scrambles in Mt. Rainier NP, most of them in the northeast quadrant of the NP.

The book has an 18-page introduction and overview of the scrambles, all of which are non-technical hikes and scrambles, but some hiking and scramble experience is preferred. The chapter has advise for the various possible conditions for the hiker, weather and other factors.

The book has an overview of the presentation of the areas and scrambles in the book. The scrambles for Mt. Rainier NP are:

Echo Rock and Observation Rock - Northwest
Mount Ruth - Northeast
Goat Island Mountain - Northeast
Banshee Peak - Northeast
Governors Ridge and Barrier Peak - Northeast
The Palisades and Marcus Peak - Northeast
Tatoosh Traverse - Southeast
Mount Wow - Southwest

The book has excellent descriptions of the trail and scramble with map with each scramble. The book covers the whole state where only about 20 pages are devoted to scrambles in Mt. Rainier NP which makes the e-book nice if all you want is a specific area than the whole state.