Exilr wrote: "I thought the US did have managed tracks which are called blazers or something?" Hmm, haven't heard about blazers tracks, but the US has a few trails in whose basket most of the eggs are placed: Appalachian, John Muir, Pacific Coast. The Appalachian has a few shelters spread along its length but no proper huts. The JM and PCT are along vast areas of granite and pine forest so require little maintenance. However, in my experience tramping through various State and National Parks, along with Wilderness areas and BLM areas, little to no infrastructure exists. The "infrastructure" I refer to is stuff like signage, markers, cleared camps, maintained tracks. The US Forest Service has been depleted of most field staff and their mission has shifted to more of a fire suppression entity. One of my favourite playgrounds is the Ventana Wilderness centred around the Santa Lucia Mountains of Big Sur, California. If it weren't for the volunteer group Ventana Wilderness Alliance, this wilderness would be completely impenetrable. The USFS hasn't conducted any track/camp maintenance for at least 60 years. When you would query staff they wouldn't have a clue about the area they "manage" as they haven't stepped foot there. Of course, they're awfully good at warning trampers of certain doom, death, and despair if one were to be so foolish as to venture into such country. The Wilderness Act prevents any type of machinery in Wilderness Areas, so even chainsaws are forbidden. Windthrow is a massive problem because the only way to remove fallen trees is by hauling in 2-person saws and wedges to manually saw each downed tree. I'm not having a whinge, I'm just pointing out a few differences between the resources the US puts into its backcountry compared to the extensive network we have in NZ, and thank goodness I live here now!
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Id chose the bush lawyer
yes the bush lawyer is the lesser of two evils but would try and find a way around both to be honest.
Yes, I'm casting a spell now to turn agentben into a pile of dog poos... I've had a bit of ongaonga coming out the Waimea in Mount Richmond FP. Not fun; immediate, intense, prolonged. The common ingredient in poisons oak, ivy, and sumac is urushiol. It's vile stuff and can take a few days to really get going. Exposed areas can become weepy, possibly infected, and chronically, maddeningly, itchy. In general, poison oak grows in the western US, while poison sumac is mainly in the east, and poison oak can be almost anywhere except, strangely, California. I used to apply a pre-exposure topical cream at the start of a tramping day and wash at the end of the day with Tecnu, a post exposure wash, and I would still get the urushiol rash. Burning it is a big no-no, as the oil can be absorbed in the lungs, then look out! I actually bought a machete to hack the worst of it, but was turned off by the number of injuries that occur with machetes, even in the hands of the experienced. I would not advise a machete or any other 'hacking' tool to cut through any unwanted plant: ongaonga, poison oak, or otherwise.
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