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[at-l] Maps - Negative stress on the trail.

Jim and Weary,

Reference your emails, both dated 11-24-04, responding to my post.

When I wrote my post, I was thinking of distance hiking on the AT.  I was 
not considering either other trails or day hiking.  I readily acknowledge 
there are other trails which require maps.

On day hikes, I carry trail maps.  They allow me to consider changing 
course, and also to explore areas along the trails.  On distance hikes, I 
have taken map sections, cut from an atlas, depicting roads near both sides 
of the AT.  The sections provide knowledge of where I am in the ?real world? 
and which direction I would take to get to resources.  I always carry a 
compass, along with paper and pencil to record directions I?ve taken, should 
I need that information.

I asked, ?Where else (other than along the trail you are hiking) are you 
going to go??  Jim responded, ?Wherever I want to go,? and added, ?so we'll 
have the freedom to go where ?we? want - rather than where a predetermined 
trail takes us.?

If you are hiking on the AT and have time pressure to get to a certain 
point, where are the ?wherevers? and ?where ?we? want? that you have in 

Jim advises ?... ther ARE circumstances under which it will not work ... on 
the AT.?

I don?t think I understand what you mean.  Please advise.

I wrote ?Why should I live in dread anticipating the horrors which lay 
ahead?   There
either are horrors ahead or there aren?t.  I will deal with them when we 

Jim advised, ?With the map, we ?may? be able to avoid those ?horrors?  (like 
the swamp, perhaps?)  Without the map, we have no choice and are truly 
?clueless on the trail? - even when we find ourselves in the middle of the 

Do you bushwhack around undesirable places through which the AT passes?  If 
you wish to do so without a map, you obviously won?t have detailed 
information provided by a map but you can still bypass obstacles using a 

Jim advises, ?regardless of where you hike, IF you hike, you should learn to 
read a map because without that knowledge, you are limited in where you CAN 
hike.  And those limits preclude your finding some of the most wondrous 
places to hike.?  He adds, ?(I)f you have no map or if you can't read the 
map, you may miss the wonders that ARE there?  And, Weary agreed, advising 
?... without a map, you may inadvertently bypass some of the wonders ...?

I agree that hikers should learn to read a map.  I would add they need to be 
competent with a compass.

Are you guys thinking of particular instances on the AT where you would miss 
wonders without a map, even when you carry a trail guide?