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Re: [CDT-L] "Blue blazing" the CDT

Hello Jim (Wolf) -

You asked:

>Just curious -- weren't you aware of the CDTS guidebook, which
>describes the route over Bancroft and Parry in detail?  We expect
>to continue to recommend that hikers take that route. Thanks for
>your informative post.

I was (and am) only vaguely aware that a set of "older" guidebooks exist
for the CDT.  I believe that I heard that they were written by you <g>.  I
have never seen one.

My short hike this last mid-Aug to mid-Sep was a spur-of-the-moment thing
for me.  I felt the urge to try out two things: I wanted to see if I was
still physically capable of doing (and enjoying!) distance hiking and I
wanted to see if section hiking in month-long segments suited me.

My total prep for the trip consisted of:

dehydrating a bunch of leftover food from the chow hall,
making a quick visit to Sams to get misc other foodstuffs,
applying a can of waterproofing spray to my old trail tarp, and
going down to a town bookstore to get a trail guide.

I got the only guide that I could find (Tom Jones' book) after looking in
bookstores in Ft. Collins and Colorado Springs.

I used the guide to decide which part of the Colorado CDT I wanted to hike,
which way I wanted to go, and where I would do resupply and/or town stops.
I had about two hours to skim the book, do the figuring, and to make my
plans (I was Director of a Scout High-Adventure Base and my staff was
evaporating as they went back to college...we were getting a tad short of
manpower to take care of our last visiting crews and to do a decent
seasonal shutdown!).

I borrowed camp vehicles to make a couple of trips to set out my resupply
buckets and found someone to do the long dirt-road drive to get me to my
first trailhead (road crossing).  I read Segment 1 closely for the first
time after I got into my bag on that first night out...I hadn't yet
realized that I was already lost <g>.

It would have been interesting to compare your guidebook and the one by
Jones.  I had guessed that I would want to use a guidebook on the CDT.

On the AT I bought the trail map/Guidebook sets for New England (I was a
southbounder) and planned to buy the rest of the map/book sets as I hiked
(I wanted to wait for a few updates that were in the works when I started).
I quickly discovered that I really didn't like having detailed knowledge
of what I would see around the next bend of that highly structured
trail...I returned all the guide books and used just maps (and the data
book) for the rest (the very large majority) of my hike.

I chopped up the two-volume set of PCT guidebooks and that was all that I
used on that trail.  We had some land-nav problems when we hit the Sierras
from the south (100% snow cover, strip maps were too narrow for good
compass bearings), but the problems went away when we decided to do a
skip/flip/backfill to get around the snow that year.

I expected to do the same thing with my guidebook on the CDT.  Mostly the
descriptive text and the non-contour maps in Jones guidebook allowed me to
muddle my way down the trail...I would have done better to add the
appropriate TI maps to my pack.

I did not know how to find your books (the book stores listed some volumes
as being out of print and I don't recall any mention of updates).  I didn't
have time to wait for a special order, in any case.

In general, unless your book was relatively current, I probably would have
gone with the Jones book.  I understood that the CDT is still being defined
and I wanted the guidebook to give me the latest/greatest on that process.
I also work a lot with managing agency folks (teaching Leave No Trace) and
I wanted to use trail information that takes this "new" (since early 90's)
backcountry-use educational program into account.  I was also way too cheap
to spend extra money buying multiple books (do you have any idea what the
pay scale is when you work in Scouting <g>)!

Now that I have hiked a bit of the CDT, I find that I like the fact that
all the defining hasn't yet been done for us.  I would like to have some
options as to how I want MY hike to go...but I want to hike (not to
mountaineer, climb, construct new trail tread, fly, swim, roadwalk, pass
thru private property without permission, or hide from the authorities
<g>).  I don't mind doing some land nav and I enjoy bushwhacking...as long
as I can still meet my overall trip goals.  I think that I will need a
little more info than the Jones book gives when I go back to do the rest of
Colorado's CDT.  Obviously, I need to get serious about NM info (probably
my next target segment).

How do I get your books?  Are they up to date?  Do they have contour maps?
Do they let us know when we are nearing private property?  Do you help the
reader understand the LNT implications of their hike choices in the various
ecosystems along the CDT?  Did you work with the managing agencies when you
documented the various routes?  Would your books supplement or replace the
Jones book? Will I still need to purchase additional maps if I buy your

BTW, while I am asking all these questions, I will have to admit that I am
so ignorant about CDT lore that I don't know the difference between the
CDTS and the CDTA...could you fill me in?

Thanks for the CDT help!

 - Charlie II  AT (MEGA'93)
              PCT (Mex@Can'95)
          Chipping away at the CDT

Message from the Continental Divide Trail Mailing List

To:            Andrew Yip <AndrewY@micrografx.com>, at-l <at-l@backcountry.net>, "brian.kiesel@convergys.com" <brian.kiesel@convergys.com>, Brick Robbins <brick@fastpack.com>, cdt-l <cdt-l@backcountry.net>, Darcy Bergman <darcy@wave.net>, "David_Clark@candle.com" <David_Clark@candle.com>, Fay Weir <weir@sfu.ca>, Henry Shires <HShires@aol.com>, Jerry McMillan <jerry_mcmillan@pairgain.com>, Jim <HkrTrash@aol.com>, Joanne Lennox <goforth@cio.net>, Larry McDuff <lpmcduff@juno.com>, Lucian Hicks <lucian@sierranv.net>, "Margo J. Chisholm" <margo@tothesummit.com>, mark dixon <mdixon@bigsky.net>, Mary Roch <mags@mosquitonet.com>, Nathan Martin <NCMartin@lbl.gov>, Peter Haskell <pchaskell@hotmail.com>, Sandra Medearis <smedearis@hotmail.com>, Slyinmd <Slyinmd@aol.com>, Steve Baygents <steve@qcel.com>, Timothy J Fearn <timfearn@juno.com>