How to obtain great maps of your hikes

I want to tell you how to obtain great maps of your hikes, such as this one of the hike from Squaw Valley to High Camp.

First, you need to record a GPX track file describing the hike.  Most GPS can record a GPX track (I personally use a Garmin 62st; I will write later about it).  Android and iPhone phones can also record such tracks.  My favorite app for recording GPX tracks on Android is Maverick, which has support for offline maps from many sources.

I then edit the tracks using Garmin Basecamp, a free application from Garmin which lets you (among other things) view and edit GPX tracks.  I edit the tracks removing any portion that is unrelated to the hike (such as the driving to the trailhead, or any side-trips that are not part of the main hike).  To view and edit the tracks in context, I generally load in Basecamp some free base maps obtained from gpsfiledepot; my favorite maps are the California Topo and the maps for the South West and North West.

Once the GPX tracks are edited, I use the excellent gmap4 service to obtain maps displaying the GPX tracks.  To this end, I upload the tracks to a web server, and I form an URL of this form:

which, when you follow it, produces a map like this.

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