Every hare seems to follow a personal vision all their own, but all can agree that laying trail is part craft, part artistry and some down right sneaky shit.
The Craft of Trail Setting
Give yourself 5-15 minutes of a head start ONCE you leave “Opening Circle”. Make sure you tell this to the RA who will release the pack. Give instructions for all your markings, and what to expect on trail, including if ALL trails end/3 marks are on/etc...
Handy tip: it's better to put more marks in circle, even if you don't think you're using them all. Shit happens when you're actually on trail and you may need that mark you didn't think you would.
….AND YOURE OFF….
Keep the pack safe and more or less within legal bounds while following trail.
Lay a trail that the pack can (and hopefully will) follow with marks every 50-100yds. Use lots of flour, chalk, flagging tape, etc.
Checks are the accepted method for slowing the pack down, but in between checks, mark the trail clearly.
Checks that slow the pack include: song check, shirt swap, intersection, whichy-way, YBF, back check… etc. B-E Creative, BE CREATIVE. Keep the pack together using these marks. Set enough false trails or other diversions to ensure that the front runners don't get too far ahead of the DFLs. (fish hooks are great for this!)
When changing the direction of the true trail, turning, or switching sides of the road, provide one of the following methods to alert the pack: hash- mark, true trail, pack arrow or an intersection/check-mark.
Crossing true trail at any point should not happen - you will lose the pack or they will go backwards. Provide directions/instructions for walkers/turkeys to get to the finish.
Have cold beverages ready for the pack when they arrive at beer checks and the finish. A happy (drunk) pack is a good thing.
More info on trail marks can be found HERE