Based on the times and distances I was posting during my 5 day backpack through
the Golden Trout Wilderness, I had the feeling that the distance measurements described in the book were shorter than what I was actually doing. This is based on my experience of how fast (or slow) I’m hiking and what the terrain is like.
Also, I was able to watch the average speed on my Garmin GPSmap 62s. My guess was that the distance was 5-10% longer than the book described.
Until I checked the distance in the Garmin Basecamp map of my trip. The map tracker and elevation profile only shows 67.9 miles. I know it wasn’t that short. The book describes the Central Wilderness Grand Tour as 80 miles. That tells me the map generator in Basecamp draws the trail map exactly and actually snaps to the trail. That is a VERY nice feature. However, the elevation profile and actual distance are measured from the 90 waypoints I’ve added to the trail.
Then, strangely, the elevation profile shows a gain/loss of 15,000 feet. The book only shows a gain/loss of 10,500 feet. Does this make any sense for correlation? Only the author of the book can really answer the question on this one.
Hiking the Golden Trout Wilderness has, after hiking the full trail, a very good description of the trail conditions and what you will see. The last 10 miles of the trail description are much thinner than the previous part of the trail. I’m not sure if the author ran out of descriptions or figured after 60 miles, there’s not as much need for more information. Or the editor cut it down. This is not a negative criticism of the book, though. The final 15 miles of the trail description is contained in another trail, the Jordon Hot Springs trail.
As it turned out, I completely missed the Jordon Hot Springs. Why – there was literally 2 miles of hell on the trail to go through. After a burn in the Sierras, a certain thorn bush grows for several years before, it seems, other plants take over. And the trail is now essentially impassible in the Redrock Creek Canyon.
I can confidently say I’ve never been on a trail that bad because there was no trail to be on. 80% of the travel of those 2 long miles was completely through thorn bushes. My legs were not just scratched to heck. They were actually bleeding. It was an experience. And, it was the first time that I looked for a way out. If I had been planning on going up this trail, I might have actually turned around and looked for another way around. Good thing the author suggested the downhill direction on this section of trail.