On a recent hike along the old Welland Canal section of the Bruce Trail (longest footpath in Canada at just under 900 klms) I decided to try a much hyped tracking app on my smart phone to test out the new vs old technology. The old technology being a combination of the trail marked by volunteers and the paper maps provided in the official Bruce Trail Guide book.
Since as I’ve mentioned it is a very long trail, keeping track of how far you’ve actually walked becomes a central part of the experience – every kilometre counts. And sometimes the quaint clues they leave for the trail direction are a little challenging…
Not to say that the fascinating perspective you get from wandering down disused locks and canal paths that you would never ordinarily see doesn’t have a thrill all it’s own.
However at the end of our day’s walk when the Bruce Trail Conservancy claimed we had walked 10 kilometres and my satellite powered smartphone app said it was in fact 12.5 I can tell you who we wanted to believe! Now don’t get me wrong – the Bruce trail types are my kind of people – outdoorsy, dedicated volunteers trying to encourage an appreciation of nature. And the satellite driven technology people are well…not – privacy invading, drone enabling, spying types as they are! So of course I believe the Bruce trail folks but come on – 12.5 would be such a nice accomplishment!!
I would go with new technology any day when the result is like this. 🙂
That’s hilarious – Marian and I are working on our end to end, and we kept having arguments with the mileage shown on the maps, Once I even wrote to the Bruce Trail Conservancy, and got back a very detailed response that their count is based on GPS and is considered accurate. We figured their count is two dimensional and does not take into account the extra steps it takes to go up and down the escarpment a thousand times. I now use an App called Runkeeper, which works on GPS and does seem to jive better with the trail maps. magdalena
I’m happy for you to test the technology for me 🙂 I haven’t got round to apps yet. I know! I know! Dark ages 🙂
Well mostly my son insists I try these things and some of them are quite fascinating…but there’s a lot to be said for the simpler methods.
Looks like a great trail. And, it’s great to have both the old and new technologies to accompany you. Does the app allow you to put in feed back?
I should find out whether there is feedback to the app – good point since they may have an explanation…or did you have something more mischievous in mind?!
Mischief is always possible! But sometimes these apps appreciate feedback, so they can design better ones. At the very least, they should provide an explanation of the difference. I am assuming here that the app is wrong when in fact it could be very accurate. 🙂
When I recount to family and friends I tell them 12.5 although I know I’m only subtracting 10 from the 895 goal. And I’m with you – who wants to put their TRUST in a smartphone app!
Yes whatever the real number is it’s a few steps closer to our goal…and when we’re on the trail the technology should be the furthest thing from our minds. Looking forward to the next few klms however far that ends up being!
I’m impressed! . . . And, surprised that there is such a large difference between the two.
I suppose in the end it doesn’t matter and the satisfaction comes from a few more steps taken!
I love the canal path photo, especially…
Thank you! It’s so interesting to see the old canal system and the old industry that was once a big part of the community…motivates us to find out a bit more about the history of the area.
Either 10 or 12.5 a good accomplishment in the terrain.
Thank you – we did feel good either way!
It’s interesting you have provided the comparison. I’ve often felt that the mileage markers were not accurate given the time required to complete the distance. I appreciate that the degree of difficulty factors in but sometimes it just didn’t make sense.
Thanks for validating what I always suspected 🙂
Well you have a lot more experience with this than me since you are a revered ‘end to ender’… It would be interesting to hear from other bruce hikers as well…
oooo – I’m revered!!! I’ll try not to let it get to my head 🙂
My hiking partner’s opinion was that we could probably rely on the markers and my suspicions were suspect! I didn’t have the technology to accurately prove otherwise but with the trail constantly changing, I wouldn’t be surprised.