P. Edronkin

Preventing dangerous situations (VI).

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Thus, the second factor that you should consider is the overall shape of the terrain in terms of its slopes, ravines and possible detours along the path because no matter how short the theoretical distance between your point of origin and your destination is, most obstacles will significantly increase it.

Consider that in a map, many of the obstacles that do have a bearing against your personal efforts don't even appear for they are too small. These obstacles usually change the shape of any human or animal trail or path, increasing its longitude. Moreover: in many regions, landslides, falling rocks and trees can alter the shape of a given trail within days. If you sum up the brief detours and delays caused by these, you will be surprised on how they increase distances.

On irregular terrain you should multiply your theoretical distance by a factor of three in order to get fairly accurate figures. That is, if your estimation for a trip is in the order of five theoretical kilometres, the real distance that you will have to walk would be around fifteen kilometres on such landscapes.

However, the study of your itinerary should not stop there: seasons can also alter the viability of paths and trails as ways of communication, and what is usable during the summer may not be so during the rest of the year.

In Uganda, for example, during the rainy season, most - already questionable - roads become absolutely impassable, even with all-terrain vehicles.

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