Planning with Google Earth, offer your advise!

9:31 p.m. on December 22, 2009 (EST)
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Hey guys, here is a trip I'm planning....and looking for some input from those of you who use Google Earth.

The picture below was generated by Google Earth. I like to use the program to find fishing holes in mountain streams.

The stream pictured below is the upper section of North Chickamauga Creek, located in Sequatchie County, TN.

35 15' 22.36" N 85 16' 48.98" W

If you look closely you can see the stream, large boulders, and rocks piled up along the inner bank of the bend. The white is well,......white water, or what we call the run. If you look just to the left of the bend in the stream you will see a dark patch in the stream, that indicates deeper water, or a 'blue hole' hopefully. I think this one is 6' to 10' deep, just an educated guess as I've fished the stream a good bit. There is another one I have marked with a blue balloon further downstream.

My plan is to backpack there from an existing primitive campsite close by. It is about a 7 mile hike to get to the campsite, and the course I have plotted from the campsite to the blue hole is another 1.5 miles, off trail. I plotted the course with the ruler tool on Google Earth, mostly just to estimate distance. Later I will plot a course on the actual topo I'm taking.

This is the course (dotted line) from the campsite (far right) to the first blue hole in the stream (blue balloon). Experience tells me I probably will not be able to stick to this course, I always end up modifying the route as I hike.

So....any tips, tricks, or advise you guys can offer concerning planning with programs like Google Earth? Add ons, links?

11:05 p.m. on December 22, 2009 (EST)
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749 forum posts

Hey Trout

Thats a cool area. My first comment is that generally you do not know when the photos were taken and the conditions when they were taken may have changed. Secondly I had to look around a bit to find what I though was the place you meant because your coodinates seem to be off and if you are going to use a GPS you need really accurate coordinates. Did you mean

35 15 46.16 N 85 16 13.85 w? It looks like you have swiveld the north orientation and are looking at an angle. I like to zoom in and turn the photo and look from different angles, but you can't control the angle of the sun when the photo was taken. At least by taking print outs and marking spots of interest on the map and writing the precise coodinates on the map, it will be easier to find your way around when you get there. Also you can see major obstacles, cliffs or dangerous terrain, although that country looks pretty smooth by comparison. You have mentioned that you like to have altitude information, so also write that on your map, especially at the waypoints with listed coodinates. Don't forget to get a waypoint where your truck is parked, never walk away from your truck without takng the time to warm up the GPS and mark that truck. Did I mention marking your truck? And take multiple print outs, some very close in and some taken further out and be sure you know which is which. Finally give a copy to whom ever it is that worries about you coming home.

This is my number one GPS use. You fish along a stream for hours and then decide its time to leave. No way your gonna backtrack three miles of stream wading, so you decide to go cross country. Even if you turn off the gps after leaving the truck, and turn it back on when its time to leave, thus saving batteries, you can still get to your truck, however if you leave it on and carry spare batteries - two spare sets please - new fresh ones - having the track of your original trail might save a lot of bushwacking. If there are other trails into the area at least mark the spots where they cross the stream. If your track memory is full, the gps may not record the new track, empty it.

Jim S

p.s. other people will tell you to have a map and cmpass... good idea.

6:05 p.m. on December 23, 2009 (EST)
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Thanks for the reply Jim,

You are correct the coord's I posted are for a blue-hole a little upstream from the google earth picture in my post. The correct coord's for the site pictured is 35 15' 47.97" N 85 16' 23.85" W.

Yes I did have the image rotated, looking South I believe. I like to tilt the image and rotate as much as possible to evaluate terrain, keeping in mind it's Google Earth.

Yeah, a lot can happen between the time the data is collected and the time you venture in that area. That's especially true with water flow / level. The area downstream is popular with hikers and kayakers and water level information is available at several sites, I prefer to use the info from the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) website. Water flow is above normal right now. This particular watershed drains about 120 sq miles although this particular stream is located in a pocket wilderness area, only about 1100 acres.

I'm thinking of going there in February or March provided the water level remains satisfactory. One of the reasons I like the area is due to it's history, if you search the streams you can find (but I don't remove stuff) things like arrowheads, pottery, & gold. You can also find Ginseng growing wild here.

I will be sure to way-point the truck! I know what you mean, and I always carry fresh, spare batteries.

I'm leaving town in the morning and will not be back for a few days, but I plan to resume planning on this trip when I get back.

I have some other questions but they'll have to wait.

3:10 p.m. on December 24, 2009 (EST)
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749 forum posts

I understand what you mean about the naturl features that you find, but its hotly debated. Most real important finds are done by amateurs because they have the time. Most reported finds have no scientific value and universities won't even go look. An isolted bone or tooth is probably not of value. Arrowheads have no scientific value at all if they are found along a stream and moved from their orignal location. Fossils especially bones will be deteriorated from exposure to air within a year or two of being exposed. In the southwest people use ancient pottery for rifle targets. If I find pottery thats been used as a target, I collect it, at least my collection will end up in a college collection. Gold is another thing - I would take it unless its on a currently patented claim. Skulls etc are sacred and remain, I might even move it from a stream and rebury it. The rangers who are supposed to protect this stuff don't have even the slightest clue as what is an antiquity and have ZERO anthropology training. I suppose part of my "bad atitude" is from being part Native American and feeling that some of this stuff is my heritage and would be better collected by me and turned over to a college if I feel it actually had some scientific value.


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