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I don't have time to get lost anymore. I can normally carve out two or three of hour-long time blocks to ride each week, and I like to spend that limited time on trails that I know I will enjoy. My longer rides are usually with other people who tend to get nervous when they don't know exactly where they are on some digital map.

I did used to love just riding into a trail system and exploring, but it can be pretty frustrating to hike-a-bike a bunch of crap. I much prefer exploratory voyages on foot these days.
 

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Not so much in that sense. I like to know where I am and where I'm going, and I have a pretty good sense of direction. What I do like is to head out to new riding areas as much as possible and ride new things, but I do like to do some research to know what to expect and to see if there are some "must ride" trails in any given area.
 

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I've been riding since the days before cell phones and GPS and have been lost 3 times in my life.

First time was on a backpacking trip in the White Mtns in New Hampshire. A heavy fog/clouds moved in when we were on a summit. I had to use a compass to locate the trail back at treeline. I'm actually still quite good with a compass and map.

Second time was on a MTB ride late in the day. I came to find the trail had been obliterated by a logging operation when I was too far out to backtrack. It got dark and I had to literally feel the ground to tell if I was on a trail or not. I nearly spent the night in the woods on that one.

Third time was just this spring riding Holy Guacamole outside of Zion Natl Park. Man, every intersection looks the same there. Throw in some descrepancies between MTB Project, Trailforks, our printed map, and a bit of herb... I'm sure we could have returned to the car but am forever grateful to the rider who pointed us in the right direction. That ride is too fun to miss out on.

I know all of the trails within a 2-hour drive of my house well enough that I don't need maps etc. to navigate them - that's about 95% of my riding. I'm not very willing to get lost in the desert when I visit there so, while I'm all for riding new trails and checking out spurs, I make sure to know how far I'll need to go and whether I have the energy and water for it before I do.

If I'm truely going to explore something unknown to me without having a destination in mind I do it on foot and off trail.
 

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I think exploring new trails is one of my favorite aspects of the hobby. Navigating trails might be my best skill as I'm terrible at everything else on a bike.

The rest of my riding buddies will never explore on their own, so I'm pretty much the scout and trail guide.
 

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I already know where you stand on the subject. "I don't even know the name of this trail, but its one of my favorites".
I'm sorta in that boat myself. Even in familiar places like PMP, I'll often take a random turn different from past rides just to see what's over there. And I definitely don't know the name (official or crowdsourced) of most of the trails as I ride them. It kinda makes describing a ride to someone after the fact a bit more challenging, but that's a small price to pay for just going out, riding, and enjoying myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I'm sorta in that boat myself. Even in familiar places like PMP, I'll often take a random turn different from past rides just to see what's over there. And I definitely don't know the name (official or crowdsourced) of most of the trails as I ride them. It kinda makes describing a ride to someone after the fact a bit more challenging, but that's a small price to pay for just going out, riding, and enjoying myself.
Thats one thing I really enjoy about Pyramid, no maps, no trail names, just random videos on YouTube on certain features. It's taken me 2-3 rides out there, just to learn where everything was. But even now, you can make a turn and be on a whole new section of trail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I'm not very willing to get lost in the desert when I visit there so, while I'm all for riding new trails and checking out spurs, I make sure to know how far I'll need to go and whether I have the energy and water for it before I do.
I decided to explore one trail past the sign that said "bike and horses not recommended beyond this point". It was 8 miles of hike a bike, I ran out of water, and it took me 3 hours. But now I know. At the time it did suck, but now I look at it as gate fee to the experience. So I do save those longer going out to explore rides for the winter.
 

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i like riding trails blind so i pretty frequently will find stuff on maps and go check it out, make a day of it. sometimes this goes well and sometimes it doesnt (i had a ride down a trail with a somewhat deceiving name, which resulted in me going way too fast into a very steep and loose chute)
but a lot of the time i end up just happening upon some really sick trails just from seeing a little hole in the bushes and seeing where it goes. thats how i found a few of my favorite trails.
 

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Thats one thing I really enjoy about Pyramid, no maps, no trail names, just random videos on YouTube on certain features. It's taken me 2-3 rides out there, just to learn where everything was. But even now, you can make a turn and be on a whole new section of trail.
That's half the reason I ride solo almost exclusively anymore. The crowds I used to ride with often just got too predictable. One group would ride out at Brown's (and pretty much nowhere else, except the occasional night ride event at Pemberton) and it was always the same basic hellish loop at mach 120 with no goal other than many miles at high speed. Another group doesn't seem to think anything exists other than South Mountain. You could pretty much guarantee that the ride announcement would include keywords such as 'pima lot,' 'natty,' and 'mormon.'

Don't get me wrong, there's good stuff in both trail systems. Brown's is my go-to for days I'm just feeling sluggish (most days anymore) but even there I've gotta have diablo and balanced rock in the loop to keep semi interested. Somo just never blew my skirt up though given the massive crowds and guaranteed suffer-fest. Climbing Mormon just isn't my idea of a fun time. And most of the trails out there are bigger commitments. Make a random turn and you may have a hell of a long way home.
 

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I only have my phone with me when I ride on occasion and if I don not have time constraints I have no problem riding and exploring.

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I can't say I get "Lost" often. But I frequently try trails which I have no idea where they end up. Often to the Chagrin of my friends. Sometimes I'm using a map. Sometimes it's a trail not on a map.

The other day I was going to a friends new house and I knew there were un-mapped trails above her place. So I dropped in on one of them until eventually I popped out about half a block from where she lives. Now it's a new/ regular route.

I do tend to use maps on my phone because they are super convenient. But I also use paper maps and often just take that random side trail that nobody knows where the end is.
 

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One of my favorite things to do when driving my weekend car. i just drive with not particular place to go...

Steve
 

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Due to time and geographical limitations, I mostly ride routes that are in other states. Aside from the purple line that I'm following on the GPS, I usually don't have a clue where I'm at. I try to prepare enough to survive, but not enough to NOT be truly lost if the technology were to fail. And I'm OK with that.
 

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I still do not use GPS for navigation. I look at maps first, study google earth to get a birds eye view and then start my adventure. Phone is off and buried in the bottom of a bag for emergencies or to check in at the end of each day on tour.
 

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I do it a lot on my CX and did a lot of exploring last year, getting away from everyone and did it again this past weekend. I'll start out looking for a route off of a road that I saw somewhere or going down a gravel road I come across. I've ended up on single track or less, done a lot of hike-a-bike and even returned with a mountain bike after finding it would be a better tool for the job. Got lost plenty of times when my gps just showed I was somewhere in a big green area.

Lots of riding in Wildlife Management Areas and I was scrutinizing a WMA map online last night looking for a way to string together the gravel I'd ridden last weekend with some roads to connect to more gravel roads (after failing to find a route last Sunday). Lots of failed attempts to find routes but then it's just a reason to go back.

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Yeah man. If you are in good enough shape, carrying enough water and fuel, why not get lost? Other options are, like, return home and mow the yard or sort your sock drawer. The challenge is finding the like-minded and equally-prepared.
 
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