A guide to our Guides

Sweet Adversity Trip Guides are intended to be informational. We've tried to think about the kind of data we like to be able to access when planning, driving to and even taking a hike (or kayak or backpack), and attempted to aggregate it for convenience...especially for those using tablets and smartphones. (Please keep in mind that some functions - e.g., Everytrail maps - may require a Flash plug-in.)

We've also left out stuff - photos, excessive description, narratives - that is better suited to a different format. Those more readable accounts of our trips can be found in our Trip Reports (look for the "SA Report" link at the beginning of many of the Guides).

Because it's possible that we may be using shorthand or naming conventions that are confusing to some, we've created this page to try to facilitate and enhance use of the Guides. Below are the bolded bullet points we use in our Guides, accompanied by explanation.


"Guide Title" (dayhike, kayak, P.O.I., backpack, yakpack)

Our Guide titles are essentially intended to identify locations. For example, most kayak trips are simply named after the primary paddling area (e.g., "Newport Back Bay").

Hikes are usually identified by trailhead or destination (e.g., summit, waterfall, etc.) or main trail. In some cases multiple hikes depart from, and/or return to, the same trailhead. In those cases we try to further identify a hike by including the names of departing and returning trails (e.g, "Blackjack / Lake trail") or even the name of a transitional trail.

A trip is referred to as a "backpack" in the case that the hike either begins or finishes (or both) at a pack-in campsite.

A "Point of Interest" (P.O.I.) can be an interpretive walk, a nature trail, or even just a short hike to an overlook. P.O.I.s are generally under 1.5 miles and require comparatively little effort.

A "yakpack" is our (probably a bit too cutesy) short form for kayak camping. As with backpacking, it's a paddling trip that either begins or ends at a boat-in campsite.

SA Report: Not all Guides have accompanying Reports. We try to post a Guide for all of our trips, but we post Reports less frequently. Reports are descriptive narratives.

Trip Date: We include a date for the outing because it may be useful for consideration of conditions and attractions, the date of the Guide posting is often later than the trip itself, and sometimes multiple Reports refer to the same guide. 

Location: Usually a linked park name, sometimes a launch location for paddling.

Permit/Pass: Information about fees, quotas and permit requirements.

Inspections: At many lakes and inland waterway launches there can be quarantine considerations for certain invasive species. This often results in inspection procedures for kayakers and their boats.

Trail maps: We post links to a trail map, or maps, when we can find them. 

Directions: Either to trailhead or launch site.

Synopsis: This is usually a short description of what kind of hike, kayak etc. one can expect, including types of habitat, landmarks, and potential problems.

Trail sequence: In some cases a hike may range over several different trails. We provide a beginning to end sequence of trails traversed.

Type: Most of these labels are self-explanatory. An Out and Back trip returns along its outward path. A Point to Point or Shuttle requires a ride or two cars. And there are several types of loops, including - Loop (begins and ends on different trails, never retracing steps), Lasso Loop (a loop connected to an out and back section), Balloon Loop (a loop connected to a short out and back section), and a Knot Loop (a loop in the middle of two out and back sections). (We like loops.)

Distance: Distances are taken from our trip tracks (we variously use: MotionX, Everytrail, Accuterra or Trail Tracker). The results from these apps sometimes differ from published mileage (in fact they sometimes differ from each other), but since trails change we go with the most recent and presumably accurate GPS measures we can find, usually our own tracks.

Elevation: Like most guides we note a minimum and maximum elevation when available. Anyone who's done a bit of hiking understands that these numbers can be misleading. For that reason we also include a hike profile when possible so that one can judge just how much up and down happens between the Min. and Max.

Profile: Our profiles are taken directly from our tracking program data. Since GPS can be finicky, and often ends up with a sawtooth-looking profile when in fact the grade was fairly smooth, we encourage users to consider particularly the range of elevation change and the general trend of ascents and descents, without paying too much attention to the data noise.

Portage: For kayak trips, most of which don't require any overland transport.

Rating: Of necessity, ratings are subjective. Ours do assume a decent level of physical condition, but we are not marathoners or adventure racers so anyone in reasonable shape should be able to use our ratings as a gauge. Levels include - Easy, Moderate, Difficult, and Strenuous, with combinations - e.g., Moderate-Difficult - being used. We also include factors to be considered - e.g., (factors: heat, steep ascents) - in order to further inform potential choices.

Notes: Expanded information regarding conditions of the trail and considerations to be aware of.

Track: A link to an Everytrail or Google Earth track, below which we post an image of the track itself. 

Turn by Turn: Having talked with many hikers we've come to realize that some people are distinctly direction-challenged, even when there are trail posts and signs. And to be fair, sometimes trails are poorly marked or even missing signs. To that end we try to offer an account that describes what to look for as the hiker works his way through the Trail Sequence.

Navigation: Performs a similar function for kayak trips as Turn by Turn but with more emphasis on things like compass courses and hazards to navigation.

Landmarks: Here we try to add images of features (markers, formations, cairns, etc.) to look for in helping to guide the trip. (Added as of 5/2016)

Campsite info: Information, official and personal, regarding the resources, aesthetics and experiences related to backpacking sites.

Photos: Some Guides are linked to Flickr photo albums. 

Video: Some Guides are linked to Youtube videos that highlight either a particular trail or the entire Trip.

(...and we're working on..)

Comments: Eventually we'd like to add a section at the bottom of our Guides where readers can add their observations about the trips as well as any updated info on trail conditions or changes.