View Full Version : 1973 ATC Trail guide

SGT Rock
09-19-2002, 08:45
Last year my Grandfater gave me his 1973 ATC guide book to North Carolina and Georgia, 4th Edition. It's in a heavy black cover with fold out, hand drawn maps (not topo) and has screw bindings so you can take it apart for just the maps and pages you need. The wwhole thing weighs 12.5 ounces.

Last night I had a good time comparing my memory of that section, the 1973 guidebook (hard to think I was dayhiking that section almost 30 years ago) and the 2001 11th edition I used last year. I like the way the current guide books make a seperate paragraph for each mileage entry, the 1973 guide would have a long paragraph with mileage and information for each section burried in it.

Interesting to me was the fact that a lot more road walks were described in the 1973 edition (from Wesser to Wesser bald is described as almost all road walk) and some trail landmarks for that section were things like walking between a garage and house or next to a private cabin. In 2001 there aren't any road walks or private buildings beside the trail where they are described in the older guide. There are also a lot more convinient re-supply points now, places like NOC, Rainbow Springs, Walasi-Yi, and hostels were either not there, or the guide did not cover them.

The Shelter system seems to be a lot better, but some things that supprised me were the age of the cold Spring Shelter which I knew was old, but it is listed as being built by the CCC corps in the 1973 guide. I was also suppriesed to learn that the Tray mountain shelter was built in 1971, I assumed it was older.

At times the 1973 guide would get confusing especially around road intersections where they would make a listing of an intersection at 7.03 miles (they realy did it tho the hundredths) then proceed to talk about that road and the mileage to various points for quite a while - sometimes at more than considerable length, then inside the same paragraph jump back to the next point on the trail. Trying to follow what mileage applied to the trail and what was a side trail or road was confusing.

Anyway, it is interesting to see how a section of trail can change over 30 years and it's nice to know the ATC is making guidebooks better. I still think they can improve them. If I were king I would change the ATC section guides by getting rid of all the extra crap like first aid kit packing lists, windchill charts, LNT sermons etc. I would keep historical data at the begining of the book for the section, keep the milage data section, and some of the section specific info. Other parts are totally redundant like the shelters in the section, re-supply in this section, water, etc. since each listing for the milage point already has this data.

09-19-2002, 09:09
I've done similar comparisons with an old New Jersey and Pennsylvania maps I have from the early 70's. It's neat to see how things have changed, as well as how some things have surprisingly stayed the same.