Spring Cleaning… Site Updates and Upgrades

For quite some time, it’s been widely known the ECTA has been working on a project to redesign their web site. I’ve heard it said more than once that many usability and structural issues arising from the way the old site evolved – with sections and info added and grafted on to an existing design – would be addressed when this pending updated design went live.

Personally, I’d been holding out hope that much of the functionality contained within ECTThruHike.com would be eclipsed with data provided by the association when this project was complete. As ECTThruHike.com itself has evolved since it went online just over a year ago, an increasing amount of data has been added, often following an inquiry or request from a user.  As a result of this expansion, the site has not only taken more time to maintain, but in fact has been used by a wider range of hikers than originally intended – a testament to the utility of the data. Whether these users be Section Hikers, Slackpackers or Local Recreational & Weekend Backpackers, the focus here remains squarely on Thru Hikers.

As it turns out, the recently unveiled East Coast Trail.com seems to be largely a cosmetic change. While the design is no doubt visually appealing and cohesive, there seems to be little new information added. In particular, the idea of promoting the trail to the thru hiker is noticeably absent, and in fact indirectly discouraged through certain policies.

Of course this is not likely an oversight… but thru hikers should not be deterred or put-off in any way. The omission would most likely be born from a misunderstanding regarding overuse. I would confidently suggest that, amongst all users, the light footed, nature loving and respectful thru hiker is going to be the least likely to have an impact. In reality, there is of course no organization or no individual who has the authority or ability to discourage this particular use. Rest assured that, as a thru hiker, you will be very welcomed by people you meet along the trail.

The Resupply tab in the ever expanding ECT Thru Hike Spreadsheet... viewed here on mobile.
The Resupply tab in the ever expanding ECT Thru Hike Spreadsheet… viewed here on mobile.

The idea then that ECTThruHike.com could slowly slide into obsolescence seems to be somewhat flawed.

As a result, I’ve recently done some additions and tweaks… a few things that have been in the pipe for some time.

  • Canada Post Resupply Info. Since the concentration on the ECT seems to continue to be first-time thru hikers, info on Canada Post locations and their proximity to the route has been added to the Spreadsheet.
  • Resupply Strategy. Contains a simple how-to for grocery store / post office food resupply strategy aimed at novice backpackers doing a self-supported hike.
  • Direction of Travel. Info that’s been collected regarding why certain hikers have chosen a specific direction has been added.
  • Transportation. This section has been cleaned up and simplified… now categorized by direction of travel. Detail on flat rates offered by Portugal Cove Taxi to the Bell Island Ferry Terminal (Picco’s Ridge South) have also been included.
  • Connectivity. I’ve been told the section was unnecessarily technical. I don’t really know what that means, so I just deleted some stuff. 🙂
  • New Server. More processing power, faster page load.