Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wednesday Search Challenge (6/5/13): Crowdsourcing discoveries...

One of the greatest ideas of the past several years has been the concept of crowdsourcing.  That's when a bunch of people distributed all over the internet work together to take a small piece of a bigger puzzle, and by solving their small piece, they contribute to a larger, deeper, greater piece of work.  

A while back regular reader Rosemary suggested this idea for the Wednesday Search Challenge.  She wrote that she's always thought the the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) would be wonderful to explore, but that she probably wasn't going to hike the whole distance herself.  But wouldn't it be great if all of us readers at SearchResearch could do the same thing as a group? 

While the idea of hiking the PCT with a few thousand other people is kind of wild and overwhelminmg, (imagine! a horde of hikers crowding down the trail) maybe we could crowdsource this.  

Background and Challenge:  

The Pacific Crest Trail runs 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. It crosses deserts, glaciers, the crest of the Sierra, and deep forest. 
Research question for you... 
Can you, using the searchResearch methods you know about, find interesting parts of the trail?   
Can you find use Google Earth or Maps to find unexpected views, beautiful paths, and impressive vistats?   
Can you find out something interesting about the history or geology or biology along the PCT? 
Can you locate specific threatened/protected wildlife (marine or land)?  
When you DO find something you love or enjoy--let us know about it... and how you found it.   

Feel free to use everything you've ever learned about on the web...  News/Books/Blogs/Archives... 

It's an open web kind of problem.  

Let's dive in!  

I'll write up my answer tomorrow morning with MY favorite place along the PCT and why I like it so much.  

Be sure to let us know how you found your favorite places, and give us a little story about why you find it so interesting! 

You can put your comments into our shared Google Doc:  Crowdsourced Favorites from the Pacific Crest Trail.  Click there to open the doc and add your comments.  Please follow the pattern I set up at the top.  (And no, you don't have to add your name if you don't want.) 

Search (and write!) on! 


  1. Wow - 2,650 miles - a serious trail. Makes our Wales Coast Path at 870 miles look like a minnow. But it is more achievable and you won't (normally) encounter snow :) And we are the first country in world to have complete coast path.
    Unfortunately I don't have time to look at this today but a quick glance at the Wikipedia page makes it look fascinating so I'll be following up the results at the weekend.

  2. Great SearchResearch Challenge to know more about our world and its beauty. Today also is World Environment Day. Seeing these beautiful places is another way to create awareness to keep them safe for the next generations.

    Google Doc Crowdsourcing is a great idea, Dr. Russell. Have a great day and even better June.

  3. I will explore the Canada to Washington/Oregon Border portion of the trail. The most northern point is located in Manning Park, British Columbia.

    First thing I did was to get co-ordinates for the start of this virtual hike. Here's a little trick
    Google Search [ coordinates manning provincial park] and you will get the coordinates in Longitude/Latitude(L/L). Most hikers use the UTM coordinates and there are websites that will convert L/L for you. Or click on the 'coordinates' on the Wiki website for various coordinate numbers.

    W49.066667, -120.783333 UTM 10 U 661910 5437234

    I should know something about this trail before heading out.

    ["pacific crest trail"] Most will start with this rich website.I want to hike from Canada to Mexico (¡Hola, Ramón fellow searcher) so I am going to look for Canadian information.
    Above website [ canadian]
    " This section begins at the Bridge of the Gods (elev. 180′), on the Columbia River and ends at Monument 78 on the Canadian border (elev. 4,240′). An additional seven miles were added beyond the border by the Canadian government to provide access to Highway 3 in British Columbia’s Manning Provincial Park (elev. 3,800′)."

    It's tough to narrow it down. Monument 78 & Bridge of the Gods (500 miles */-) sound intriguing.

    North Trailhead Location N 49° 03.380 W 120° 44.100 UTM 10 U E 665474 N 5436189
    [monument 78 “pacific crest trail” ] Wiki tells us monuments mark boundaries between Canada and the US. In 1925, the International Boundary Commission was made a permanent organization responsible for surveying and mapping the boundary, maintaining boundary monuments. Image Search for Monument 78 [us canada boundary monument] Other great photos taken by hikers.

    More [usa canada boundary monuments]

    South Trailhead Search [coordinates bridge of the gods]
    W45.662424, -121.901276 UTM 10 T 585593 5057129

    ["Bridge of the Gods" "pacific crest trail"]

    Named after an Indian legend regarding a landslide 500 years ago. Legend has it that its a love story about two brothers falling in love with a young Indian maiden and the fight over her caused the landslide.
    See American Native Legend or read “Walking in Albion” by Richard Leviton

    Also mentioned-Lewis and Clark had a very difficult time traversing this area, which they called "The Cascades"; that's where the Cascade Mountains got their name. The pioneers had a hard time here also. This bridge is located on the border of Oregon and Washington and is 2155 miles from the Mexican trailhead.

    Books on PCT
    Cheryl Strayed hiked and wrote Wild I haven’t read it but some of my hiking friends report that its a great read.
    Pacific Crest Trail Data Book: Mileages, Landmarks, Facilities, Resupply... by Benedict Go. Facts based to plan a trip.
    Blogs on PCT Filled with everything you need to know about attempting this trail.

    What I learned from this challenge was to stay focused because the subject is of great interest to me and I could get lost in the details for days and I’ve only begun. I think its cool that you can register your name if you complete the PCT trail and get an award/certificate (maybe your name is/will be on the list and if so make sure you tell us about it.
    Crowdsourcing is something I had never heard of before.Thanks Dan Russell for putting this on the challenge list. Rosemary