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Topic: It started out as a good hike, Sleepy Creek< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 24 2012, 9:19 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Photos

Last weekend I decided to go somewhere close, with plenty of stream crossings and distance, to "train" for Dolly Sods.  I headed to Sleepy Creek WMA, to do an approximate 12 mile loop at Devil's Nose, rather similar to Hike 8 linked here, only done clockwise.  On Friday, the weather forecast was iffy for Saturday and good for Sunday, so Sunday it was.  Saturday turned out to be good, and the forecast was still good for Sunday.  Sunday morning, the forecast was more questionable, but I figured it was just the forecasters liking to forecast rain, and I should be fine.

I made it to the Devil's Nose trailhead on Maverick Lane on the northeast side of the WMA, past the extremely paranoid guy's house, though thankfully out of view from there.  I headed mostly downhill on the white blazed jeep trail, past a couple of parking areas and a couple of old coal pits, common for the area.  At the second parking area, I continued on the left woods road, also white blazed (the right woods road was my planned return route).  The woods road was mostly level after an initial dip past a small side stream, the blazing soon ended, and in a bit I reached the Tuscarora Trail.





Instead of turning, I continued ahead on the woods road (sometimes called the Fisherman's Trail).  It soon started descending, until it reached the banks of the Meadow Branch, still flowing reasonably well, but it'd be easy to cross.  The trail follows beside the stream for a bit, passing by small wetlands, and eventually I reach the first stream crossing.







I forded the quite scenic stream, perhaps a bit wider than I was expecting, but shallow.I notice on the other side the trail is much less traveled than before, a bit overgrown.  I pass through a meadows/dry wetlands, before entering an enchanting hemlocks/laurel woods next to the stream.  The trail is also in better shape here.  It sometimes follows an old woods road, sometimes veering off for a bit.  It is clear that it has seen illicit ATV use, but I suppose that means the trail has been able to survive.  There are some blowdowns, a few difficult to get over/under/around.  It is also clear that there has been blowdown removal within the last year.  Since Martinsburg was hit hard by the recent derecho, I suspect the same would be true of Sleepy Creek, as it is close to there.  On the other side of the creek is often a wooded outcroppy wall, making this a scenic section.  Eventually, the lowlands I'm on narrow and I reach the second stream crossing, much like the first.







Back on the east side of the creek, I put my socks and shoes back on (I typically ford barefoot).  Of course, maybe 200 feet later, I reach the third stream crossing, so back off go the footwear.



Back on the west side of the creek, I continue on the trail.  There is some elevation change here, I suppose to avoid some wetlands.  Other places the trail just heads right through them.  Still some massive blowdown areas.  Eventually, the trail dissappears behind one of them, and I start heading cross country, guessing where the trail should be, further away from the creek.  Heading on, that was clearly wrong, so I start heading back to the creek, eventually finding the trail again.  There is now a nice gentle rain, which does not bother me one bit.  I reach the fourth stream crossing.



I take a little break to catch my breath before taking care of my footwear.  The other issue is that I cannot see the trail on the other side of the creek.  As I wait, the sky opens up and the rain is now quite heavy.  I figure it won't be long, so I'll just wait five minutes, and when the heavy downpour passes I'll continue on.  It then started raining even heavier.  Four minutes in, I see the first lightning.  And I decide instead of waiting it out I should turn around.  

I am about two miles from the trailhead, with three stream crossings, often low lying land, in heavy rain.  I walk quickly, which is difficult in lowlands with downfall, especially as I have to get off trail to cross the derecho damage.  The further I go on, side streams have begun to form, and the lowland areas now have water.  Thankfully, the major stream crossings are still shallow.  To save time, I decide to ford with shoes, which turned out to be easier, faster, and safer than doing so barefoot.  After the first (i.e. final) crossing, I head uphill, as the trail has become a highly silted streambed, though generally with dry footing available.  I pass the Tuscarora Trail, and the woods road is a line of long, wide pools.  I trip and fall on a root, which I take care of with prejudice.  I pass the little side stream, which hasn't run any higher yet, though just below runoff from the parking areas is flowing into it, making it highly silted also.  I then climb the jeep road back to the parking area, still raining, but not as bad as it was previously.

The two miles I saw on this trail was quite nice, even with the derecho and rain issues.  I will certainly be heading back in the near future, likely in September, and completing the loop (or more likely, an eight mile or so variant).


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2012, 6:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice pics.  Sometimes a stream is even more rewarding than a view.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 30 2012, 2:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Aegis - I enjoy reading your posts about Sleepy Creek.  It's funny ... I've hunted and fished there for over 30 years.  But when I read about your hikes, I realize that there is a lot of the area where I haven't been yet.  I've been focusing on biking around the High Rock area off of Hampshire Road.  I'll have to pull out my map and find the trail that you took in this post.  

Please keep hiking and posting up pictures.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 30 2012, 10:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Part of it is listed as the "Fisherman's Trail" on the 2004 edition of PATC's map L (especially the Sleepy Creek North expansion).  I don't have the just issued revision yet, so I'm not sure what that shows.  It's not shown on the SCWMA official crudely drawn map, nor on the present day quads.  You can see it's approximate route on this historical quad, however.

I suppose I might as well ask.  Is "High Rock" what is on the Mini Knife-Edge Trail, or is it something else?


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2012, 11:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I believe that I also use PATC Map L when I bike in Sleepy Creek.  I'll check it tonight and post up where I think High Rock is located.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2012, 9:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yep .... On PATC Map L.  On the back noted by "South Enlargement" (Grid H-8 to H-13).  As you mention, High Rock is located along the Mini-Knife Edge Trail.  I biked along here early in the Summer, but did not follow it as far as Shockeys Knob Shelter.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2012, 10:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ok, thanks.  I guess I have been to High Rock, a couple of years ago. Didn't head up that way earlier this year because of the poison ivy lined trail.  BTW, there is a good vista about a quarter mile north of the Shockey's Knob Shelter on the TT.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2012, 10:47 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks.  I met some guys out mountain biking a year or so ago that mentioned a great place for a view of the valley further out the TT.  I'll plan to get back there this fall.  Thanks!

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 24 2012, 10:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Photos

Third time's the charm

As reported earlier, the first time I tried this loop very heavy rain started about two miles in, so I quit and turned around.  The second time, I didn't even get out of the garage as the car wouldn't start.

So, the second Sunday of October I decided to try yet again.  This time everything worked out well.  The car started, it didn't rain, the weather was great, and the hike was a spectacular one.  Because it was later in the year, I decided to shorten the hike to 8-9 miles, especially given the shape of the trail along the Meadow Branch.

Again, I started at the small parking area at the end of Maverick Lane, and headed down the hunter access jeep trail past a couple of coal pits.  Then onto a woods road, and headed past the Tuscarora Trail. Continued on the woods road, sometimes called the Fisherman's Trail, now downhill and somewhat eroded, until I reach the bank of Meadow Branch.  The first crossing was again a ford.  On the other side I soon entered the dark hemlocks, and eventually made the second crossing, this time a rock-hop.  Very soon after, the third crossing was again a ford.



From my first hike, I knew there would be some serious derecho damage before the next crossing.  The first half of this section was still easy, without major damage. When I reached the large blowdowns, I decided that instead of heading inland to go around the damage, I would head towards the creek.  I followed an assortment of game paths, but still had some derecho damage I had to hack my way through.  Being next to the creek did let me have a view of the rocky bluffs above the opposite bank of the creek.  Eventually I decided to head back inland to the trail.  After finding it again, I made good time to the fourth crossing.



It was here that I had turned around the last time because of the torrential downpour.  I had also noted the last time that I could not see where the continuation of the trail was on the other bank.  This time I had no problem finding it.  I crossed the stream as a rock hop.  On the other side, the trail is reasonably obvious, mainly following an old woods road, with some old blowdowns, but nothing too difficult to get over or around.  The trail gives some good views of the Meadow Branch in this short section, including some incipient beaver ponds.  Soon the trail meets up with a woods road coming down the mountain in a ravine.  I turned to head to the creek bank, mere feet away.

The fifth crossing was a rock hop, at the head of a still-water section with a nice downstream view.  I work my way up the other bank, as the trail heads to slightly higher ground.  I am also on the lookout for an intersecting trail heading uphill.  I think I find out, scout it and quickly realize it's not a trail.  Continuing a bit further, past some old pits (failed coal explorations?) I spot some pink ribbons ahead.  Sure enough, I can see an ATV (not allowed here) track heading up the mountain following the ribbons, near a side ravine.



I follow the ribbons uphill. I think that there is a mismatch between the faintness of the trail on the ground and its obviousness in aerial photos.  Soon I see why.  The ATV trace ends at the end of an old roadbed.  The trail now being obvious, I start to work my way up the mountain, following the winding, in places eroded, woods road.  It does not head that close to the rim of the side ravine.  I try to find some way to reach the rim, but was unsuccessful. Anyway, the woods road passes through some good color in the middle of the climb, becoming more green as I approach the summit.  At the top I meet up with the Sleepy Creek Mountain Trail, here a jeep trail.



I turn north, first heading slowly uphill, then generally level as I head along the wide top of Sleepy Creek Mountain.  The top is surprisingly not rocky, and fairly green for the time of the year.  This section is a pleasant hike with views through the generally open woods.  There are some stretches with high grass, but these are generally not that bad or long.  There really aren't many views in this stretch.  This used to be the Tuscarora Trail, and you can spot the camo-green painted over blazes, and the random faded blue blaze.  One wildlife clearing is passed, along with one section of a rougher jeep trail below a knife edge.  There are some poison ivy vines, but readily avoidable.  Near the end of the jeep trail, some new white blazes make their appearance. They lead off on a newer narrow trail, leaving the jeep trail for a rocky escarpment atop the mountain.  This is short, as soon it rejoins the jeep trail.  The jeep trail ends (at present) at a fallen tree.



I continue on the old Tuscarora Trail.  It starts off as a woods road, sometimes leaving it for more rocky tread.  Oddly, some of these relocations appear to be recent, after it was no longer the Tuscarora Trail.  The trail winds through the golden yellow-orange woods, near the west rim on the top of Sleepy Creek Mountain.  There are some minor window views towards the Berkeley Springs area.  The trail here is either level or slightly downhill.   However, at the northern end of the mountain, the trail makes a quick drop to a woods road, follows it for a short distance, and then turns east on very rocky tread to get past the point of the mountain.  It climbs back to the top of the escarpment making up the northern end of Sleepy Creek Mountain, switchbacking its way east downhill.  The trail nears the edge of the escarpment a few times.  Sometimes there are views into Maryland and Pennsylvania (a bit hazy).  Sometimes there are a bunch of boulder blocks, some fallen from the edge.  At one point is a small fissure cave, with a tree growing from the vertical rock face above it.  In a bit, the trail reaches the current Tuscarora Trail.



I head south on the TT, continuing descending along the escarpment of Sleepy Creek Mountain.  There is another view to the north.  The trail eventually turns south, away from the rim, heading along the side of the mountain.  It passes through an area of scattered outcroppings, before following a rim high above the Meadow Branch, with a couple of views just off trail.  The trail soon descends steeply, where it comes to a very sharp turn at the top of the Devil's Nose formation.

I head out onto the lightly sloping rock face atop Devil's Nose, with views both north and south along the Meadow Branch valley.  There is a good mix of bright yellow and oranges along the opposite ridge.  After taking in the views, I find the rough trail which continues down along the Devil's Nose.  It starts with a short three-four foot drop off the rock face, and then follows a trail through the pine and mountain laurel.  Sometimes it heads out on exposed rock faces, with swarms of ladybugs.  Other times it's a rock hope, at one time on a capstone above a deep crevice.  Rarely it's on a rock spine.  At others it heads through a set of fissures in the rocky ridge.  This is basically a wonderland area, looking different every twenty feet.  At the end, there is more mountain laurel and also rhododendron, with the last stretch of trail being a sharp descent.  





At the bottom I am on a wide floodplain in a bend of the Meadow Branch, looking at a woods road across the creek, below a wooded talus slope.  Behind me are the cliffs of the north face of Devil's Nose, almost fully ensconced in rhododendrons.  I explore the area to the extent the rhodos and cliffs allow me, getting some views of the creek.  I try to find the deep crevice I saw on the way down, but it must be hidden in the rhodos.  I eventually cross the creek, a very easy rock hop, and climb up to the woods road on the other side.



I first head downstream, taking numerous side explorations down to the creek, looking back up at Devil's Nose hundreds of feet above me, and looking at the small cascades in the stream and a swimming hole with rope.  I turn around at the next stream crossing (it would be an easy rock hop, but continuing would eventually lead out of the WMA).  After making it back to the crossing point, I continue on the woods road, as it starts to ascend above the Meadow Branch.  I pass by some rock outcrops, as the woods road leaves the Meadow Branch and follows high above a side ravine.  This ravine would likely have a nice long cascading falls when sufficient water would be present.  The small side stream eventually makes it up to the level of the woods road.  I continue on, and I soon see the clearing at the end of the access lane ahead.  Once there, it is a short uphill hike back to the parking area.  Thus ended what was easily the best hike I've done in the Sleepy Creek area.



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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 25 2012, 9:47 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Interesting! So what would you call the definitive dayhike circuit there, on (mostly) maintained trail?
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 25 2012, 9:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'd have to say the loop I did is, or a variant thereof.  I don't think the roadbed I took up Sleepy Creek Mountain is on the GPS data I sent you a while ago.  If you continue upstream on the Meadow Branch, you will eventually reach the Whites Gap Trail, which would add two stream crossings and make a 12 mile hike or so.  Or, at the fifth stream crossing there was a woods road which should head to the TT near Eagle's Nest Mountain (vista and parking nearby)(though I don't recall seeing it when I hiked that part; but Hupp's GET guide mentions it, so it must be reasonably clear) if you want to minimize stream crossings.

And who knows, it wouldn't surprise if someone were to go through the creekside trail with a chainsaw sometime; I feel safe saying someone did so sometime in the first half of the year.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 31 2012, 12:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Aegis - let me ask a few questions.  I went over to Sleepy Creek on Saturday, the 27th, to hike a bit.  Having your posts here in mind, I decided to try to find the access to Sleepy Creek via The Woods resort.  Unfortunately, that didn't work too well for me and I ended up going back into Sleepy Creek via Jones Springs.  I did hike the Meadow Branch, only I started from the lower campground at Sleepy Creek lake.

Looking at Google maps, it looks like I came close.  I was on Lodge drive, and I see that Terrain Drive would take me back to the powerline.  Do you know if there is parking there?

You mention "Maverick Lane" (on Google Maps it is "Maverick Trail").  So it looks like you cut off of Mountain Lake Road prior to where I did. The trail is fairly well marked, and you used the PATC map for this area?

Back in the late 70's, we used to access the top of Sleep Creek mountain via White's Gap road.  We would travel south past the fire tower and camp a few miles down the fire road.  In your latest post, you came up the side of Sleepy Creek mountain and accessed the fire road .... north of White's Gap road.  I have to say that I've never been north of that road on the top of the mountain.

I met a mountain biker a couple of years ago at the southern end of the lake who said that he lived in the Woods resort.  And that he mountain biked Sleepy Creek roughly 300 days a year.  Seems like an optimal lifestyle!


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 31 2012, 10:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

From 9, I took Mountain Creek Rd, until Audubon Rd (paved), about 1.5 miles from 9, on the right.  This winds around a development with lake, and heads thru a gap between Hedges and Short Mtns.  Just past there, Maverick Lane heads off to the right, soon becoming gravel.  (If you stay on Audubon, you take a curve and make your way up Third Hill Mtn and a small parking area near Eagles Nest Mtn.)  Anyway, Maverick heads uphill for a bit, then downhill, past a paranoid guy's house, ending at a parking turnaround, space for a few vehicles.  

The trail/road I took up from the Meadow Branch is north of White's Gap.  The junction at the top is obvious, tho unsigned.  I've not yet gotten around to accessing SCWMA from Whites Gap, tho I may in the future to explore more of the trail along the creek.

The main thing to be aware is that the trail along Meadow Branch is unblazed and unsigned, and with many stream crossings.  And the one part has many blowdowns, perhaps even more now.

This map should show the hike I did (highlighted in orange).  The TT is in red, while other trails are pink or purple.  I have made a Google Earth file of the trail system (as best as I understand it).  If you want it, PM me your email address.



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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2012, 7:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the info on Maverick Trail.  I'll get time over there again in the next few weeks, and I'll explore that route.  

Yes, I would like to have a copy of your map.  I've sent you a PM this morning.  Please let me know if you didn't get it .... I'll try again.

Thanks!


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 9:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It seems the Sleepy Creek area fared surprisingly well during Sandy.  I did a Pee-Wee Point/High Rock circuit this weekend, and there were at most three trees across the trails that could be attributed from the hurricane.  There are also plenty of downed trees in the lower third of the Pee Wee Point/Little Brushy Creek connector trail, but they've clearly been there a while.

No full report, as a combination of colder temperatures and neglecting to recharge some batteries right before the hike meant I only got photos for perhaps the first mile, and none from the overlooks.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 22 2012, 10:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I apologize for not following this thread. I read the first part of the saga but not the continuation. For some reason I thought the WMA was relatively small. It wasn't until I saw the photo of the shelter on the thread "Photos w/o reports" that I started to research it (I do most of my research over the winter.) and saw that it encompasses over 20 thousand acres and nearly 20 miles of the Tuscarora Tr. This will be a great venue for several overnight trips about 1.5 hours from one of our usual meeting places. I haven't been this excited over a new venue, except the Laurel Highlands Tr, in a long time.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 22 2012, 10:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Overnighting may not be that easy.  The shelters are actually out of the WMA, though Shockeys Knob is located so that one could do a loop hike past there.  It'd be about the same distance away from you as the Cowans Gap area, so it's certainly within your day hiking radius.

In the WMA itself, there are some designated primitive campsites (pay).  Four are along the east side of the lake, and others are scattered around, as shown on their old map.  I know you need to register, but not sure where, so you'd have to contact them first.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2012, 9:25 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You'd be surprised at where we can camp. We just need a bit of flat ground w/o rocks preferably near a water source.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 23 2012, 9:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The issue is that the WMA has camping allowed only in the designated areas.  (The PATC shelters are not in the WMA itself.)

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 24 2012, 7:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh!

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 03 2012, 10:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Experimenting.

Sleepy Creek Trails


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 04 2012, 12:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Looks good from this end.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2012, 2:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Is there a vista at Pee Wee point?

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 Post Number: 24
AegisIII Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2012, 10:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No.

There are two.  

One is just east of the end of the woods roads, by the rocks.  The other is south of the end, at the end of the ridge following a white blazed footpath.  I suspect it may be possible to reach the little spur off the Brushy Creek access jeep road by a little bushwhack; it looked like you could avoid the rocks.


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EJS
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 Post Number: 25
Jelff Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 14 2013, 4:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

@AegisIII

Nice map.
You can also write that Gmap4 link with just the 'q' and 't' parameters.  Like so:
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p....?q=http

When you are using Gmap4 to display a data file AND you do not include the 'll' or 'z' parameters in the Gmap4 link, then the map will automatically be zoomed and centered such that all of your data is on the screen.   You can override that behavior and force the map to be zoomed in on a certain area by also including the 'll' and/or 'z' parameter in the Gmap4 link.

All of the other parameters in the Gmap4 link you posted are set to their default values and do not need to be included in the link.

And for those who have not checked out Gmap4, the homepage has a FAQ, examples, quick start info (in the Help file) and more to quickly get you up to speed.

Gmap4 default map: http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php

Gmap4 homepage:  http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html

Some forums are allowing Gmap4 to run as an embedded map.  Be cool if the admins here would allow that.  See for example:
http://www.bogley.com/forum....ing-Map
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8002972
http://www.portlandhikers.org/forum....shougal

Joseph, the Gmap4 guy
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