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[cdt-l] guidebooks




This is sort of a pet peeve topic of mine, as people who hiked with me know=
.
My basic take is this. I carried both Wolf and Westcliffe =96 I=92m part of=
 the
school of thought that says more info is better even if it=92s also more
confusing to have to reconcile conflicting info. Wolf=92s guides are
infinitely superior to the Westcliffe guides =96 Wolf is better written, mo=
re
detailed, has better information and data, and on and on and on. The
Westcliffe had 2 advantages for me =96 one was that they were written in my
direction of travel (except for CO, ????!!!), which has something to be sai=
d
for it; and the second is that they are occasionally more up to date as far
as recent changes go, which means that they helped out in a couple
potentially iffy situations.

Other than that, though, the Westcliffe guides had me FUMING throughout the
trip =96 they are riddled with inaccuracies, mistakes, omissions, bad writi=
ng,
unclear writing, and on and on and on. Every single day, I think, almost
without fail, the Westcliffe guides would blow it in at least one major
place. Now I know the CDT is (at this point) still all about using a variet=
y
of maps and books and whatever else you can dredge up to find your way and
not relying on one guidebook source, and we did. So in that light, you coul=
d
think of the Westcliffe guides as just another piece to add or subtract. Bu=
t
standing on their own, the fact that they purport to be =93official=94 is
preposterous, not just because they omit some great =93non-official=94 sect=
ions
like the Gila Middle Fork, Parry Peak, and Temple Pass, but because they ar=
e
sold as =93guidebooks=94 when they are more like =93lostbooks.=94 To be hon=
est, I
think the Westcliffe guides are so bad that they border on being
irresponsible and when I get around it to it, I want to send a couple angry
letters to Westcliffe for publishing such bad stuff and the CDTA for
endorsing them.

Good words for Jonathon=92s maps in all this. I printed out all the NM ones=
,
figuring (incorrectly) that NM would be where we would need them most
(should have had them printed out for southern MT), and hiked with folks wh=
o
had them in northern WY and all of MT, and in lots of situations, they were
the only thing that saved us from getting lost or lead us to a water source
or to the right place or whatever. They are detailed, unlike the NF maps or
the guidebooks maps, and full of good info. I really like the combo of map
and additional notes, and if I do any of the CDT again, I will definitely
print out those maps. Probably the only tricky part with them is that the
maps that they are based on are pretty old and so when you get into an area
with lots of roads, it=92s not always easy to tell where you are. But that =
was
a minor thing compared to their overall utility. Nice work, Jonathon. I hop=
e
this is something that will continue to be available to thruhikers, cause i=
t
may really be one of the best weapons in the arsenal.


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