In past years I’ve been fairly informal when organizing hikes. The impromptu ones are just that, grabbing a couple of people and heading to the hills. Once in a while I sent out an email and a link to a regional park, or a link to a map created on AllTrails. Someone even suggested I used a Facebook group, but I know a few people who are averse to FB. Every time I organized something I used different tools, but now I want to settle into a formula.
The first thing is letting people know. Sure I have an email list for the usual suspects, but you can get in a tangle with all the replies. I am not sure how people feel about being “spammed” with such an invite either. Should I bcc everyone so that their email doesn’t get distributed willy nilly? What about people who ignore bcc mail?
The second method to let people know would be Facebook or Instagram or (does anyone still use) Google+? You’d think they could all follow me on AllTrails, but that is a bit of an imposition. Can we use Strava for this? Meetup closed group? I’ve failed with e-vite, people dismiss that as spam. Is there a form of social media I can guarantee everyone uses?
Maybe just a calendar invite. That sounds good. Everyone will get it, and be able to check conflicts immediately, and not lose track of when it will be.
As for getting the hike information distributed? All Trails would seem a natural place to do this, but it is more geared to organizing a family hike, or sharing a good trail. People need to be a member, and then they need go find you. I have tried a blog before, but I know blogs have a habit of burying things in the chronology (tried finding this one next year). So why not a web site?
Enter WordPress. This is an interesting service, not unique, but popular, trusted and they made it all idiot proof. I even snagged a URL, which seemed like a good idea at the time. I can blog here, and have many static pages. Blogger gave me lots of blog space, but I had trouble working out how to get more than one static web page. I want the static pages so I can put things where people can find them reliable.
I am still using AllTrails despite it not being a social as I’d like. I find AllTrails a very helpful tool for planning a hike. It quickly allows me to see how far and how high we will be going, and give an indication of steepness. Today I learnt something new, and that is the ability to create a PDF of the trail so I can take a printed map with me, and share it with my friends. I’ll have to look into how many people I can share with. I can also generate GPX files for use with a handheld GPS device. Since most our hikes are close to cell service, and only a few short hours long, we can mostly rely on using a phone to navigate. I guess a GPX file could be used outside AllTrails on another phone app.
So my recipe for success? (I’ll know how successful I’ve been by years end)
- planning – AllTrails/Google Maps/Parks website.
- resource distribution – WordPress
- invitation and logistics – Google Calendar
- Navigation – AllTrails app, printed map
- logging/recording – Wahoo app or AllTrails app.
- results sharing – AllTrails, Strava, WordPress