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[cdt-l] re: divides and crests
The Continental Divide is not a physical feature on the landscape that a
person can point to and say, "Aha - there's the Divide." What they might be
able to point out, in certain cases, is a prominent ridgeline or mountain
range that happens to have the Divide superimposed upon it, due to
fortuitous geography. But the Continental Divide itself is a concept, not an
entity. A concept, but true and verifiable all the same. Almost real. And it
IS continuous, although in certain places there may be more than one
Continental Divide, as when a region of interior drainage lies along its
course. Why must it be continuous? Because of the concept itself: the Divide
describes the boundary between all those drainages (not necessarily creeks
or rivers, per se, but all landscapes with a particular aspect) whose
waters, whether or not any are present, eventually would flow into the
Atlantic Ocean, from those that would eventually flow into the Pacific
Ocean. Even on the flats of southern New Mexico near Separ, the Continental
Divide is just as real as it is up in the high Rockies. All land drains
water. Whether or not that water actually reaches the ocean, or even flows
at all, is immaterial. It's simply a network of drainages that the
geographers are concerned with.
Of course, I haven't actually thru-hiked the CDT yet, so this is just a
conceptual argument. Like the Divide itself.
As for the Pacific Crest, turns out guidebook author Schaffer invented this
concept to give himself a place to point at while kicking and screaming
every time the PCT tracks anyplace else. (Only kidding.:)
"The next section is decidedly uncrest-like, and no doubt will serve only
those long distance hikers passing through to a more scenic section."
And so forth...