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[cdt-l] CDT --- Planning, Learning, Doing

Ginny & Jim,
Thanks very much for your thoughtful and informative writings about the CDT.
I saved every one of them and will put them in my CDT files.  When the time
comes to plan a hike the CDT I will have your notes!

I can certainly understand you taking 3 years to plan a CDT hike.  When I
started the process a few years ago I realized my efforts were too little,
too late!  So many maps, alternatives, different guidebooks and routes.  I
enjoy planning and typically spend lots of time organizing my trip before

For now, I have no plans to do an extended hike on the CDT.  For me the CDT
is best done as a thru hike, or very large sections, perhaps at least 1/3 of
the trail done each season. I'm not allowing myself that kind of time for
the nest few years, at least.   It's a tough place to walk, and I have a lot
of respect for anyone who hikes it all in one year!


----- Original Message -----
From: Jim and/or Ginny Owen <spiriteagle99@hotmail.com>
To: <cdt-l@mailman.backcountry.net>
Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2001 6:48 PM
Subject: [cdt-l] CDT --- Planning, Learning, Doing

> Some final words about planning, etc. - some of this came up recently on
> another list.  It applies here as well as there.
> There are a lot of philosophies about planning.  Some people enjoy it -
> others hate it - and a lot of people are somewhere in between.  I spent a
> lot of time planning my AT thruhike - with the realization that once I got
> out there the plan WOULD fall apart - and that I wouldn't care.  It
id  --
> and I didn't.  We (mostly Ginny) spent 3+ years planning our CDT
thruhike -
> with the same caveat.  And then we spent 3 months planning the PCT
> - with the same caveat.  In each case the PLAN fell apart within an
> amazingly short time.  In each case we finished the trail.
> The PLAN is NOT reality - it's only a representation (paper or otherwise)
> what we think reality will be (or what we'd like it to be).   And only an
> extremely good, extremely lucky and truly omniscient planner will put
> together a PLAN that comes together 100% on the CDT.   And if you're
> omniscient, I need to talk to you - there are a few things I'd like to
> like the origin of the Universe and what came before the Big Bang and why
> intelligent people act so dumb and ....... a few million other such
> questions.  :-))
> Remember- the purpose of planning is NOT to set up an iron-clad
> PLAN that you have to adhere to in detail.  We've seen people do that -
> it's invariably an unmitigated disaster.  The purpose of planning is
> 'familiarization' with the trail (or whatever else it is that you're
> planning) so when things go wrong (and they will), you'll have some idea
> about what resources, options, solutions, etc. are available. This is as
> true on the CDT as it is in building a Space Station.
> To paraphrase Dwight Eisenhower - "Planning is absolutely vital, plans are
> useless"
> Planning is a survival tool, even on the trail.  And the more you
> the sharper your planning skills will be - and the better your chance of
> success will be, not only on the trail, but in anything you do.
> Of course, there are those who decide to NOT plan.  That can actually work
> for most of the AT, but it doesn't work well on the other trails.  One
> of CDT thruhikers 'couldn't afford' to buy the guidebooks - so they didn't
> know where the water sources were.  They got through a large part of New
> Mexico by finding partially filled water bottles that people had discarded
> alongside the road - not a source I'd care to depend on.  At one point
> had no food or water for over 36 hours.  Not my kind of hike - but you've
> gotta give them credit - they did finish.
> There are also those who believe that "planning" mainly consists of  "what
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