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Re: A few more Newbie questions

I carried an Olympus Super Zoom 3000 camera with me, mainly because I
liked the zoom capabilites, the "weatherproofness", and the compact size.
It is a very sturdy camera for backpacking, if you want the zoom capablities
in a compact form.  Note, though, that this was back in '94...there may be
something newer since then.
  The data book is useful for showing where water sources are, as well as
distance to road crossings.  Wingfoot now puts some mileage data in the
back of his guide, which is useful, but I think the data book has a lot
of useful info (water, road crossings, groceries) displayed in a pretty
convenient manner.  Plus, it's pretty cheap..$3.95.  The maps are useful
mainly for giving you the illusion of knowing what the upcoming Trail
profile is going to be...I say illusion because several hikers have 
mentioned the only map profile that they felt matched reality was the
Southwestern Va one for Mt. Rogers.  Still, they can be useful.  Many
don't carry the maps, but do carry the data book and Wingfoot's guide.