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[at-l] re: guides

The guides are (drumroll please!)

1) The official guides put out by the Appalachian Trail Conference:

These guides give a detailed description of the trail, gives some good
descriptions on non-shelter campsites, has some good info on the geology
and plantlife of the area, as well  a brief synopsis of any noteworth
history of the area that the trail goes through (My favorite part!). 
Most long distance hikers opt to not take these guides because of the
weight, but I think it makes a fine collection at home for later

2) Then there is the Appalachian Trail Data Book.  Ounce for ounce and
cent for cent, by far the most valuable guide book about the trail.  Has
all the shelters, water sources, campsites, road crossings, etc. in a
Maine to Georgia (the correct  way of listing... Felix and Nina would
argue) format.  Thin book, weighs little, costs almost nothing. Get it.

3) Then there is the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Assoc. (ALDHA)
 This too has a mileage guide, but is more limited in scope, mainly
listing the major roads for re-supply purposes as well as mileage for
shelters (but not primitive campsites).  Has maps of towns, and a
description of the services in each town. The book also has a brief
description of wildlife and flowers along the AT.  This year's edition is
more detailed than previous editions. I think with the lack of a guide
book from Wingfoot (see below)  their was a call for a more detailed

4)  Dan "Wingfoot" Bruce publishes the Thru-Hikers Handbook. The last
published edition was in 1998.  Same type of   material  as the
Companion, different presentation.
For whatever reason, the book was not printed in 1999, it may or may not
be printed this 
year.   The Handbook was the most widely used "guide" to the AT at one

  ******* The predecessor to these guides was the "Philosopher's Guide". 
Similar idea to the Handbook and the Companion.  THAT alone is another
controversey...so I won't go there! :D

5)   The "Maine guide" is actually by  Beverly "Maine Rose" Hugo, a 1995
AT thru-hiker (and with input from others). This book is a recently
published  one that deals with issues on the trail that concern women.
Have not read the book for some odd reason. :D  

Hopefully that should answer some of your questions in a (hopefully!)
neutral way.

(Don't worry about the book squabbles, on the trail, most people have not
heard of Wingfoot and ALDHA. Just enjoy the hike. )

Desk to Fridge, to Desk again...... March '00

Eanie, Meanie. Jelly Beanie. The spirits are about to speak!
--Bullwinkle Moose
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