|Todd Derkacz and Dick McBride install blaze|
The modern version, we call them blazes but alpha numeric reassurance marker is perhaps the more appropriate term, can be found in Purgatory Creek Natural Area. Each marker or blaze has two key bits of information: a letter corresponding to the first letter of the trail name and a number indicating the rough progression along the trail. This data could be very helpful to anyone needing to report trail conditions, interesting features or, as in the case of one desperate fellow injured in the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin, the place where emergency services should respond. Zachery Underwood, a geocacher, was able to give coordinates to emergency dispatchers after having been pinned under a boulder, but that still wasn’t enough to get the quick response he would have appreciated (link below). (What’s with hikers and climbers and boulders? Remember the story in the movie 127 Hours?)
|Blaze D-156 in Upper Purgatory|
If for some reason you find yourself being held down by one of the many boulders out in PCNA or any other emergency that would warrant a 911 call, scout the nearest trail blaze and let them know the letter or trail name and the number – help will find you quickly, and odds are you’ll be glad very grateful it did.
– Todd Derkacz, SMGA Trailblazer Extraordinaire