In an effort to help people find places to hike, I recently — through trial and error — created an online map of the trails I’ve traversed since November, when I began my “One-Minute Hike” project.
The “One-Minute Hike Map,” launched on Tuesday, is now located in the right rail of my BDN blog (“Act Out With Aislinn”) homepage.
For those of you who don’t know what I mean by “One-Minute Hike,” I’ll explain.
On Oct. 28, 2011, I followed blue and orange flagging tape wrapped around beech trees to the top of Eagle Bluff in Clifton. With my Canon Rebel T1i camera, I shot footage of the leaf-covered trail and, upon returning home, I edited those clips into a one-minute video. Accompanied by a brief description of the trail (location, difficulty, history, etc.), the video became my first “One-Minute Hike.”
“Act Out With Aislinn,” my blog on outdoor recreation, launched just a few weeks later, on Nov. 10, and it became home to the long-term multimedia project.
Since then, I’ve posted one hike per week — rain or shine, hail or snow.
The project has led me to the evergreen forests of the Moosehead Region, a snow-buried rock slide on Mount Katahdin, lighthouses along the coast and cliffs on Mount Desert Island — and it is far from over.
In fact, most people dig out their hiking boots right about now. And while a part of me is sad to be stowing my snowshoes and ice cleats, I’m also eager to see wild flowers and jump into the ocean.
I’ve saved several mountains and coastal trails for summer — Big Spencer Mountain and its shabby warden’s cabin, the majestic Bold Coast in Cutler, the seemingly endless rock slide of Mount Abraham and, of course, Knife Edge of Mount Katahdin. I’m eager to hear more suggestions from readers through my blog or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hikes shown on the map as of April 4, 2012:
• Sawyer Mountain, Limerick
• Bradbury Mountain State Park, Pownal
• Bald Mountain, Camden
• Mount Battie, Camden
• Megunticook Mountain, Camden
• Holbrook Island Sanctuary, Harborside
• Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs
• Canada Cliffs and Beech Cliffs Trails, MDI
• Day Mountain, MDI
• Dorr Mountain, MDI
• Schoodic Mountain, Sullivan
• Black Mountain, Sullivan
• Birdsacre, Ellsworth
• Bald Mountain, Dedham
• Fields Pond Audubon Center, Holden
• Blackcap Mountain, East Eddington
• Eagle Bluff, Clifton
• Bangor City Forest, Bangor
• East Chairback Pond, near Brownville
• Borestone Mountain, Elliottsville Township
• Little Moose Mountain, Greenville
• Big Moose Mountain, Greenville
The list of “One-Minute Hikes” grows weekly, so a map seemed the best format for readers to search for a hike in their area. I know that I typically prefer to study a map when deciding on a hiking trail.
The project wasn’t simple — not for me anyway. Much of what I was faced with looked like HTML jibber jabber combined symbol soup — something I couldn’t begin to translate. Nevertheless, with the help of coworkers, I delved into the mysteries of Google Maps, Picasa and Gimp, a primitive alternative to photoshop.
Not only did I map out the approximate locations of my hikes, I added a brief description of each trail, along with a link to the “One-Minute Hike” blog post (a video and more detailed description). Just click on a marker and a window of useful information will pop up about the trail.
But what I’m most proud of is the special icon I created for my map — an image I first drew in Gimp, then uploaded onto Picasa, then uploaded to Google Maps. The yellow icon, outlined in black, is the standard “hiker” symbol seen on many trail signs, a simple human figure stepping with one leg, a walking stick held before it. I copied and flipped the figure to create a shadow underneath, which I scrunched down and faded. And most importantly, I made sure to draw a bouncy ponytail on the back of the hiker’s head. Because if that hiker icon marks a location, that means I’ve been there and explored that spot for you.
Visit “Act Out With Aislinn” at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com; and visit a large version of the “One-Minute Hike” map at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com/one-minute-hikes.