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[cdt-l] Miscellany

Good words!  After hiking the CDT and a bit of the much less popular and
travelled Pac.NWT, I have the same feelings, but much stronger because the
PNT is really a lot less developed than the PCT.
For me dirt roads are fine, or actually superior (and maintenance free) if
travelled very little by autos.  On paved roads that are dangerous, try
thumbing it - what the heck; I caught a ride right behind a state patrol car
(illegal to thumb in WY) just north of Rawlins by hiding my thumb behind my
body and visible to the next car which picked me up.
Happy Hiking!

   Bill Gurwell

>From: "Ginny & Jim Owen" <spiritbear2k@hotmail.com>
>Reply-To: cdt-l@mailman.backcountry.net
>To: cdt-l@mailman.backcountry.net
>Subject: [cdt-l] Miscellany
>Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 16:02:36 -0400
>Rafi - thanks for your comments.  What fun to have news and views from
>recent hikers.   It sounds like you had a good hike, despite the drought
>fires.  As you said, five or six months on the trail beats any of the
>I agreed with most of what you said.  One thing to consider though in your
>discussion about single track - building new trail is expensive and time
>consuming, and maintaining it may be impossible.  A couple of examples: we
>met the trail crew just as they were completing the relocation of the trail
>over Elk Mountain in Montana (near Leadore).  It had taken a professional
>crew of 50 people 2 months to dig about 4 miles of trail.  It was beautiful
>trail - but that was a lot of work.  And they had that large a crew only
>because the record snow levels in Washington that year meant that the
>Washington crew was loaned to Montana that year.  Most of the forests
>willing to commit that level of resources to the CDT.  It has been hard
>enough just to get crews out to put up blazes -- you saw how well that has
>worked!  We also ran into crews near Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado.  For two
>summers they had sent out crews to rehabilitate the trail.  They dug dozens
>of drainage ditches and water bars -- and had completed about 1 1/2 miles.
>When we passed through two years after that, the trail was a mess - badly
>damaged by the horses passing through wet spots.  It was sad to see. Since
>the trail is open to horses and bikes, it has to be built to standards that
>are really expensive and time consuming to build.  Then consider the trail
>in Wyoming -- south of South Pass and again near Bull Springs.  The BLM
>marked routes through the desert.  When we passed through, there was no
>treadway, you were supposed to thread your way through fairly dense brush,
>including prickly pear cactus.  In both places, we decided it wasn't worth
>the aggravation, and moved back to the road.  Even if there had been a path
>-- i.e. if enough horses or hikers went through to create a real trail --
>the trail isn't maintained, the brush will grow back again. Do you remember
>the 10 foot corridors that Pete Fish creates on the PCT?  The CDT doesn't
>have much in the way of maintaining resources.  Unlike the AT and PCT,
>are few large population centers near the trail with maintaining
>organizations, and those that do exist are really stretched thin. I agree,
>it was a real treat when we ran into good hiking trail. I remember how good
>(and strange) it felt in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness to be on 'real trail'
>again after so many miles of jeep roads -- but I was also grateful for  the
>dirt tracks we followed for so many miles.  They were easy to walk and they
>allowed us to look around as we hiked without too much worry about the
>underfoot.  We rarely ran into vehicles on our hike - they really were no
>problem at all.  Bottom line - I won't worry about it if they keep a lot of
>the jeep tracks as hiking routes.  Better a straightforward route than no
>route, or one that is unmaintained and overgrown.
>Also keep in mind that once the single track is established, what you'll
>have is nothing more than another AT.  There won't be alternate route
>options because the maintaining agencies will be hard pressed to keep a
>single route open - they won't have any interest at all in maintaining
>alternate routes - or any money to do so.  And that doesn't even consider
>the AT "purism" arguments that would become as prevalent on the CDT as they
>are now on the AT.  Did you really hate the trail so much that you'd wish
>that kind of dissension on it?
>The paved roads are a different matter.  What was the situation near
>Rawlins?  Have they moved the trail yet off the busy highway? That was
>terrifying.  How about the stretch in the Rabbit Ears?  Have they found an
>alternate to the 20 miles on roads there?
>"Cutting the space budget really restores my faith in humanity. It
>eliminates dreams, goals, and ideals and lets us get straight to the
>business of hate, debauchery, and self-annihilation." -- Johnny Hart
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