Travel Distances & Travel Times
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(Article and chart preparted by Holly Hutchison; last updated 08/18/09)
These charts are meant to provide members with at least rough estimates of the distance between the Dentrees and various important landmarks in the tribe's world, and how long it takes to travel to them. All landmarks can be found on the Holt map, the Geysers & Hot-springs map, or the Local Map.
These are very rough estimates, for a few reasons. First, because they are largely not based on straight-line distance, but rather are based on estimated ground routes (which may detour over and around various landscape features). If the elves choose a different route to a landmark than the one used to estimate these distances, then the mileage may be greater or lesser, affecting the travel time. It should also be kept in mind that some routes may be shorter in mileage, but may involve more effort; it may be shorter to go up and over hills or mountains, but not faster, because the effort of climbing cuts down on the travel pace.
The travel rates are based on average pace estimates -- 3 miles per hour on foot, and 6 miles per hour on wolfback (at an average trot, which can be maintained over long distances); and, additionally, 20 miles on foot in a day, versus 30 miles on wolfback.
These average estimates mean that the amount of time can be greatly affected by varying the conditions of travel -- varying pace, going faster, travelling for more hours in a day than the average pace; etc. Therefore, all of the travel times listed are meant as a starting point for estimating a "realistic" travel time in a story; they are meant to provide a basis on which to decide on a reasonable time. If it takes 5 hours at a normal, average pace to ride from the Dentrees to the nearest point on the Great Stoneback Lake's shore, then it's probably possible to cover that distance in less time at a gallop, but, 2.5-3 hours is probably more likely than 1 hour. On the other hand, a hunting party that is heavily laden with prey that they have caught will probably take longer than the estimate to make it back to the Dentrees from a distant hunting location.
Writers should also keep in mind that the miles and kilometers provided here are not really distances that the elves would think in. They have no real way to measure distance other than paces and wolf-lengths, and really, not much reason to measure beyond that.
To the elves, what is more important than distance is the time that it takes to get somewhere. They would be aware of things like "average travel time" and "extreme travel time". They won't say to each other, "It's 30 miles to the Great Stoneback Lake." They are far more likely to say, "It's 5 hours on wolfback to the Great Stoneback Lake", or "It's a half-day's travel". Even when saying this, they would know that this means "on average"; that it can take more time to get there, or less time, depending on how they decide to travel.
Given a 24-hour day, and the need to conserve energy, it is likely that they would spend 10 hours in a day on travelling, with the rest of the hours in the day split between resting/eating and sleeping. As mentioned above, however: they can also choose to vary this if they want to push the pace, by sleeping less and/or resting less, and spending more hours in the day travelling. They would know, though, that this is a trade-off; it will get them to their destination faster, but tire them and their wolves more. Some circumstances may of course warrant exhausting themselves and their mounts to reach a destination more quickly. But most travel, for hunting or gathering purposes, would be undertaken at a pace designed to conserve energy for the hunting/gathering work still to do once they reach their target destination.