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[ft-l] maps and guidebook

In a message dated 8/16/2001 11:22:49 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
butterfreefl@yahoo.com writes:

> I'm a
>  little stymied right now since all of the information
>  I need is being updated, and thus unavailable.

Let me take a contrary position to the advice that's been offered thus far.  
I suggest getting all your maps and guidebooks now.  Yes, they are out of 
date, but . . .

I've been a member of FTA since 1995 and the maps have ALWAYS been out of 
date since I've been a member.  And you know what?  People have thruhiked 
between 1995 and now.  They hiked with out of date maps, but got current 
trail info from the local section leaders.  Or they just stumbled about, and 
did the best they could.  And you know, if you like adventure, maybe that's 
the best part!

I have been hiking what's known as "The Big 360" for a year now, and I can 
tell you first hand that the Trail has changed both ahead of and behind us 
very regularly.  Here's the point:  The organization has yet to have in place 
a dynamic system of informing hikers of these changes in a timely fashion, 
along with reports of trail conditions, restrictions and closures during 
hunting season, etc.  In my humble opinion, the organization is trying to get 
to that point, but let's not kid anyone and suggest to Sara, or any other 
thruhiker for this year that they will have access to up to date trail info 
from ANY published sources for their planning purposes.  We simply aren't 
there yet.  The date any new maps and trail guides are published, they will 
already be months behind in trail relocations simply because of the lag time 
in the publishing process.

Specifically, to the point of your planned hike in November, you WILL run 
into sections of the Trail that are closed due to hunting season.  You will 
need to plan an alternate route around these closures using road walks.  You 
have an interesting logistical challenge, and I suggest you get working on 
the solutions right now.  By getting into the details sooner rather than 
later, you will have more time to seek out answers from the people who know 
the local trails.  The Delorme Florida Atlas is a wonderful tool for planning 
logistics and alternate road walks.

A further caution is that many of the locals aren't in tune with thruhiker 
requirements or mentality, so it might be best to get a second opinion from a 
thruhiker on any of the problems a local section leader addresses.  And if 
someone tells you something can't be done, don't you believe it.  Let nothing 
stand in the way of your hike.

Happy trails,

Solar Bear