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Hi everyone,
I have a few southbound questions, but first allow
me alittle venting if you will. No it's not about,
electronics, horses, or mountain bikes, what it is about
is AT planning materials. Has anyone used the following
to plan their thru-hike:
Thru-hikers handbook
AT companion
ATC guidebooks and maps
AT data book
What do all these have in common ? Answer , The Appalachian
Trail. What are their differences ? Answer, they have many
differences, the one I want to concentrate on is  direction.
Two are written with northbound thru-hikers in mind, the other
two are more southbound , yes I know the guidebooks have both a
north south, and a south north trail discription, but if
you are going north you have to read the guide books and the
data book from the rear to front. Now I will admit that is
a minor annoyance, but have you ever tried to read the handbook,
or companion backwards. Alot harder than reading the guidebooks from
back to front. For a southbounder you have to remember before is really
after, and left is really right, among the many other
things written with northbounders in mind. A question to Dan and 
Frank, have you ever thought about writting a directionally
challenged version of your books ? Yes I know they wouldn't be
best sellers, but they would be appreciated by all us southbounders. 
At this I am going to pull a Jim Owen and that is I am going to make
a bold prediction. I predict in the next several years the number of
people who do southbound thru-hikes will increase at a faster percentage 
rate, than those doing northbound hikes. No, I am not saying the number of
people beginning in the north will equal the number from the south,
it won't even come close, but there will a dramatic increase in
southbounders. Why do I say this? I believe it will be caused by a
disillusionment with the thru-hiking experience caused by the masses
of people who begin in the south every year. I believe more hikers
will begin in the north to avoid those masses, and have a more solitary
hike. Yes I know alot of people really enjoy the social aspects of the
trail, and they seek out those crowds, but it seems the sheer number of
those people beginning in the south has begun to turn some people off
to thru-hiking. I believe those people will begin to look more closely
at a southbound hike and even with its' draw backs find it more appealing. 
So bottom line, Dan and Frank, beat the rush and do the southbound
editions now. How about before the end of May ? (wink wink nod nod )
Well I have vented so much now I don't have time for the questions.
We are off to the BWCA for some canoeing, so the questions
will have to wait for Monday.
So what do you think ? Am I nuts?  wait ,hold it ,don't answer that...
Sandy and Alison
"The Smiths"
Me to Ga '97