PDA

View Full Version : Wingfoot Guide vs. The Companion



bluesboy
02-10-2005, 00:21
I'm gonna be beginning a thru-hike within the next month. I will be carrying the maps but I havent decided whether i will be taking Wingfoot's Guide or the Thru-Hikers Companion. Any suggestions as to which might prove more useful. Thanks.

SGT Rock
02-10-2005, 00:54
Personally I like the WF guide better.

Nightwalker
02-10-2005, 01:14
I'm gonna be beginning a thru-hike within the next month. I will be carrying the maps but I havent decided whether i will be taking Wingfoot's Guide or the Thru-Hikers Companion. Any suggestions as to which might prove more useful. Thanks.
You'll get a huge variety of answers on that one. The only truly sensible advice would be to buy them both and decide for yourself.

:)
Frank/Nightwalker

neo
02-10-2005, 02:01
i prefer wingfoots book the 2003,2004,2005 thru-hikers hand book is also
a combo data book,i will be carrying the 2005 copy on my section hike between
dalton mass and hanover nh this year.:sun neo

TJ aka Teej
02-10-2005, 09:42
I'm gonna be beginning a thru-hike within the next month. I will be carrying the maps but I havent decided whether i will be taking Wingfoot's Guide or the Thru-Hikers Companion. Any suggestions as to which might prove more useful. Thanks.
The Companion is compiled through the volunteer efforts of nearly three dozen ALDHA members, and countless hikers and ATC staff members. These volunteers include many 2000 milers, and most field editors live near the trail sections and service providers they write about. If you want first hand and up to date information, you should use the Companion. All profits from the Companion go to the ATC to help preserve and protect the Appalachian Trail. Trail mileages are published in a small pocket-sized book called the Databook, this year is the 27th edition. The cost of the Companion (to use for planning) and Databook (to use on the trail) together is 14.30 for ATC members. You can order both books thru the ATC's website at www.appalachiantrail.org (http://www.appalachiantrail.org)

Wingy's book for the most part contains information gathered by him via surfing the web and by phone calls. Profits from the sale of his book go to what he calls "The Center for AT Studies" which is in fact just him and his computer. He has recently cloned the format of the ATC Databook into his guide. On his website he claims that he is "widely recognized as the leading expert on AT Thru-hiking," among other questionable things.

Lone Wolf
02-10-2005, 09:46
Buy the Companion. It's the right and moral thing to do. If you care about the future of the AT.

hungryhowie
02-10-2005, 10:08
I feel like I'm at a southern baptist conference on buying the corect translation of the bible.

Every time this question rears its (ugly) head, the same people cut and paste the same replies about buying the companion and the databook because its the right thing to do because of all of the wonderful things it does and because of all the horrible things WF does with his profits. I know, I know, selling small children over the internet in the guise of a center for appalachian trail studies isn't exactly ethical, but he's probably not doing that.

If you were a one man band, I bet you'd do most of your hunting and gathering online and via phone calls as well. How do you think the ALDHA people do it? I imagine a bunch of their info comes from personal phone calls. How do you think reporters for the NY or LA times do it? The vast majority of news interviews are conducted over the phone. That doesn't mean it's less correct or less valid.

And despite what you write about "Wingy" cloning the information from the databook into the Handbook, what he did was legal and the fact that he merged two guides into one is a definate advantage over the other guides. I also think that the size of the Thru-hiker's Handbook is easier to carry than that of the taller Companion.

Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against ALDHA or the ATC. I carried the databook and companion on my thru-hike, but mainly because WF didn't publish a guide in 2000 (at least, not before I left on my hike). And if ALDHA put out a mirror guide of the Thru-hiker's Handbook, I'd really have to sit down and look through them before choosing which one to carry.

-howie

vtpete
02-10-2005, 10:08
I like the format of WF book and would recomment using it.

TankHiker
02-10-2005, 10:31
All personal feelings of Wingfoot aside, I find his book much more helpful than the Companion.

-TANK

SGT Rock
02-10-2005, 10:33
I agree with Howie. I love the ALDHA and the ATC, but the Companion is a chore to read through unless you have used it a lot and are used to the format. WF's guide is laid out in a logical manner that is easy to follow and it still works even if he hasn't personally been on the trail lately -consider him more of an editor.

Personally I would prefer the ALDHA just change up the format a little and stop trying to make just a companion to the databook and make a new guide, some thing called the "Long Distance Hikers Guide to the Appalachian Trail" and put the towns, shelters, services, etc in the order you will see them and include the trail data in-between. If they want to, make it in a format that is easily unbound so you can snatch the pages between say Harper's Ferry and Springer if you just want to hike those sections. They could still do what they do now and send the proceeds to the ATC. As or supporting the ATC and the ALDHA, well my membership and contributions are still going there.

weary
02-10-2005, 10:34
I feel like I'm at a southern baptist conference on buying the corect translation of the bible.

Every time this question rears its (ugly) head, the same people cut and paste the same replies about buying the companion and the databook because its the right thing to do because of all of the wonderful things it does and because of all the horrible things WF does with his profits. I know, I know, selling small children over the internet in the guise of a center for appalachian trail studies isn't exactly ethical, but he's probably not doing that.

If you were a one man band, I bet you'd do most of your hunting and gathering online and via phone calls as well. How do you think the ALDHA people do it? I imagine a bunch of their info comes from personal phone calls. How do you think reporters for the NY or LA times do it? The vast majority of news interviews are conducted over the phone. That doesn't mean it's less correct or less valid.

And despite what you write about "Wingy" cloning the information from the databook into the Handbook, what he did was legal and the fact that he merged two guides into one is a definate advantage over the other guides. I also think that the size of the Thru-hiker's Handbook is easier to carry than that of the taller Companion.

Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against ALDHA or the ATC. I carried the databook and companion on my thru-hike, but mainly because WF didn't publish a guide in 2000 (at least, not before I left on my hike). And if ALDHA put out a mirror guide of the Thru-hiker's Handbook, I'd really have to sit down and look through them before choosing which one to carry.

-howie
There is no doubt about which is the best guide, mostly because ATC has allowed Wingfoot to include most of the important information from ATC's data book. The Thru-Hiker's Handbook is a supurb guide to the trail. And one book is always better than two.

Regardless of what you think of Wingfoot's politics or how he runs his web forum Dan Bruce spends his life working on what he thinks is the best for the trail. Quite often he is right. The trail therefore is better because of his efforts.

Weary

max patch
02-10-2005, 10:36
Keep in mind that the info in WF's Handbook is collected and edited by a multi-time thru hiker. Many of each years crop of thruhikers also send updates to WF after they complete their hike.

The info in the Companion is gathered by many volunteers, many of whom -- like TJ -- have never done a thru-hike and have no intention of ever doing one. This is important as section hikers don't really know what services thru-hikers need. Rainbow Springs came within a heartbeat of being delisted a few years ago because of this.

Either book will work. The Handbook is a better choice, however.

flyfisher
02-10-2005, 10:39
My preference, especially for section hiking, is the series of Mapdanas that Antigravity Gear puts out. Tinman supports the ATC, and has paid to import the ATC Data Book information onto the Mapdana. It also has much of the important Companion information, including telephone numbers of hostels and medical facilities.

The great advantage of the Mapdana is that it works when it is soaking wet. I remember a number of times, as the sun was going down in a shelter, watching another hiker trying to gently open the wet pages of one of the paper data sources, and later dealing with the pages having become stuck to one another.

I hiked from Springer to Gatlinburg last spring using only the Mapdana. On one occasion, I missed the detail Wingy puts in his guide on the location or safety of water sources. That was at Stecoah Gap, where I could not find the water to save me. For that reason, I now read his guide before leaving on a long trip and either copy the water essentials into my journal or make a copy of the needed pages.

I wrote up my experience with the first 500 miles of the Mapdana here:
http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Books/Trail%20Guides/AT%20Guides/Mapdana%20AT-1/Owner%20Review%20by%20Rick%20Allnutt
and I will be testing the Mapdana for Virginia this spring as a formal test with BackpackGearTest.org.

Please note, if you use the AT-2 (Virginia) Mapdana that there is a second edition of the Mapdana available. The first edition had a significant error on the roadmap portion of the official map.

Antigravity Gear supplies the new version if ordered on line, but a number of outfitters still had the old map as late as Thanksgiving 2004.

MOWGLI
02-10-2005, 10:46
This is important as section hikers don't really know what services thru-hikers need.

Max, could you please clarify this comment. Isn't a thru-hike just a series of section hikes?

SGT Rock
02-10-2005, 10:55
My preference, especially for section hiking, is the series of Mapdanas that Antigravity Gear puts out. Tinman supports the ATC, and has paid to import the ATC Data Book information onto the Mapdana. It also has much of the important Companion information, including telephone numbers of hostels and medical facilities.

The great advantage of the Mapdana is that it works when it is soaking wet. I remember a number of times, as the sun was going down in a shelter, watching another hiker trying to gently open the wet pages of one of the paper data sources, and later dealing with the pages having become stuck to one another.
.

OK, I'll agree with this. My mapdanna has replaced my regular bandanna and it has all the data the DataBook contains. It works wet, makes a head cover, a towel, a pot holder, and probably a million other uses I am not thinking of. The Mapdanna set costs more than the DataBook though, and I like to keep my DataBook at the house with the sections I have hit highlighted for keeping up with sections completed and sections to hit.

Footslogger
02-10-2005, 11:01
Prior to my thru-hike I purchased the ATC Databook, Guidebooks and maps, the ALDHA Companion and the Thru-Hikers Handbook. After looking through all of that media I decided to carry the Hanbook (WF) (in sections) and supplimented with the ATC Maps.

That was my choice and it's what I would do if I was planning another thru-hike. A new hiker might want to purchase or borrow the entire assortment of available support materials and choose for themselves.

'Slogger
AT 2003

A-Train
02-10-2005, 12:06
No need to worry about morals and "the future of the trail". Book sales is hardly gonna make or break the future of the trail. Wingfoot's book is better IMO. If you don't want to support him, don't buy his book, but I think its easiest to buy his book and then send money to the ATC or do trail maintenance.

Lone Wolf
02-10-2005, 12:08
I just threw that BS in. :D

The Old Fhart
02-10-2005, 12:11
Lone Wolf, you must have wicked strong arms from stirring the pot all the time. :D

Lone Wolf
02-10-2005, 12:23
Ayuh. Wicked big! Truth be known, both books are overkill. There's no discovery on the AT anymore. Every square inch of it has been written about, filmed, blazed, etc. And Jack is coming out with a third one?

MOWGLI
02-10-2005, 12:33
I'm gonna hike the trail, and photograph under every rock along the way. That'll make for an interesting CD. I'm gonna call it No Stone Unturned along the AT.

How long do you think it'll take me to chronicle Pennsylvania?

Footslogger
02-10-2005, 12:59
I'm gonna hike the trail, and photograph under every rock along the way. That'll make for an interesting CD. I'm gonna call it No Stone Unturned along the AT.

How long do you think it'll take me to chronicle Pennsylvania?==============================
...the rest of your life, that is if you're going with the "No Stone Unturned" approach.

'Slogger
AT 2003

Footslogger
02-10-2005, 13:00
I'm gonna hike the trail, and photograph under every rock along the way. That'll make for an interesting CD. I'm gonna call it No Stone Unturned along the AT.

How long do you think it'll take me to chronicle Pennsylvania?============================
...then again, if it's true that "a picture is worth a thousand words" you may be able to get away with a less than lifelong project.

'Slogger
AT 2003

SGT Rock
02-10-2005, 13:38
So will Jack write a guide, a fictional book like Bryson, a memoir, lets hear it Jack...

I want to order an advanced copy.

Footslogger
02-10-2005, 13:42
So will Jack write a guide, a fictional book like Bryson, a memoir, lets hear it Jack...

I want to order an advanced copy.===============================
Do I sense a book signing in the offing ??

'Slogger

BooBoo
02-10-2005, 13:59
Hey LW. Jack has a AT Book out? Didn't know about that. That's what I get for be out of the loop and stuck out here in Kans-ass. See ya Trail Days

Lone Wolf
02-10-2005, 14:01
No. He doesn't have a book out. Yet. I heard a rumor there may be one in the future. But you know how those AT rumors are. :) I heard he's climbing Everest soon.

BooBoo
02-10-2005, 14:02
IF Jack does something like Bill "I'macandyass" Bryson I'm betting it'll be a H*lluva lot funnier than anything Bryson could write.

Lone Wolf
02-10-2005, 14:09
The only thing Jack will be climbing anytime soon will be the stairs to the second floor of The Doyle although I hear he makes daily ascents/descents of the 5 Olde Nugget. :D

Lugnut
02-10-2005, 14:12
Can't wait to see him on Oprah plugging his book. Suppose he'll dress up for that? :rolleyes:

weary
02-10-2005, 14:34
Ayuh. Wicked big! Truth be known, both books are overkill. There's no discovery on the AT anymore. Every square inch of it has been written about, filmed, blazed, etc. And Jack is coming out with a third one?
REgardless of how much they study, plan or carry, I think most new thru hikers still find things to marvel at. The weather, the hikers, the flowers, the views, change hour by hour and day by day. Train yourself to look and observe and the trail remains fresh, regardless of how much WF or the Companion manages to squeeze into their books.

I doubt if even jack can totally negate the surprises that most still find on their walks between Springer and Katahdin.

Weary

tlbj6142
02-10-2005, 14:36
There is no doubt about which is the best guide, mostly because ATC has allowed Wingfoot to include most of the important information from ATC's data book. The Thru-Hiker's Handbook is a supurb guide to the trail. And one book is always better than two.Has he finally integrated trail/shelter info with town info, or is it still in two separate sections of the book, requiring you to flip back and forth?

Also, doesn't his book lack N->S mileage?

hungryhowie
02-10-2005, 14:42
Has he finally integrated trail/shelter info with town info, or is it still in two separate sections of the book, requiring you to flip back and forth?

Also, doesn't his book lack N->S mileage?

To my knowledge, it was integrated in earlier years, but is no longer. I prefered it integrated. There are two separate editions each year, one dedicated for Northbounders, and one dedicated for Southbounders.

-howie

MOWGLI
02-10-2005, 14:44
There are two separate editions each year, one dedicated for Northbounders, and one dedicated for Southbounders.

-howie

I think he stopped doing that, but I may be mistaken.

tlbj6142
02-10-2005, 14:47
Tinman supports the ATC, and has paid to import the ATC Data Book information onto the Mapdana. It also has much of the important Companion information, including telephone numbers of hostels and medical facilities. I was looking at my brother's copy last weekend (don't remember which section) it seemed like it was woefully lacking when it came to water sources. Maybe the section was dry, but in the databook the sources seem to be just about every other entry.

Youngblood
02-10-2005, 14:49
... There are two separate editions each year, one dedicated for Northbounders, and one dedicated for Southbounders.

-howie
Howie, I saw where he did that one year (2001 or 2002), but I don't think he has done it that way since. The 2003 book is basically for nobo's but has the sobo's mileage on the opposite side of the line at each entry.

Youngblood

tlbj6142
02-10-2005, 14:50
To my knowledge, it was integrated in earlier years, but is no longer. I prefered it integrated.I saw a '95 version in which it was in separate sections and found it almost impossible to read. And, I think, I was told that last year's version is the same, but the the book is much smaller than it was in '95 which is nice.

For a book purpose built for a thru-hiker, I'm not sure why the information is separate. Allows you to remove pages as you go. And section the book easier for maildrops/boucebox.

weary
02-10-2005, 15:07
To my knowledge, it was integrated in earlier years, but is no longer. I prefered it integrated. There are two separate editions each year, one dedicated for Northbounders, and one dedicated for Southbounders. -howie
I think the south bound edition experiment has been abandoned. In my 03 edition, the left hand column has the miles from Katahdin; the right column, the miles from Springer. In between are roads, shelters, water sources and distances to towns. These take up 90 pages. The remainder of the book is town information, details of approach trails, and other useful information. The whole thing weighs 7 ounces.

gravityman
02-10-2005, 15:16
OK, I'll agree with this. My mapdanna has replaced my regular bandanna and it has all the data the DataBook contains. It works wet, makes a head cover, a towel, a pot holder, and probably a million other uses I am not thinking of. The Mapdanna set costs more than the DataBook though, and I like to keep my DataBook at the house with the sections I have hit highlighted for keeping up with sections completed and sections to hit.

Wow, I am very surprised at people recommending using the mapdanna as a replacement for the data book. It does NOT have all the data from the data book. And that data book does not have all the data that WF's guide has. After comparing the three, WF's data book section is FAR superior. He has more water and more info, but has everything the data book has.

However, he doesn't have shelter descriptions as he had in 2001, which I really liked (he had the data and town info intergrated that year). The companion does. So you know if hiking the extra 3 miles to the shelter will be worth it.

For town info, it is great to have both. One example, WF doesn't have the Hiker Hostel at woody gap in his book at all. The companion does. We were looking for a doc back in 2001, and WF didn't have one in Hot Springs so we pushed to Erwin. Turns out there was a doc in Hot Springs listed in the companion. That's when we started carrying both...

Gravity

Moose2001
02-10-2005, 15:27
I've never understood why ALDHA doesn't integrate the information from the Data Book and the Companion. Make it more user friendly. If they would do so, they could easily out strip Wingy's sales. If all things were equal, I'd much rather give my money to ALDHA or the ATC than Wingy.

Jack Tarlin
02-10-2005, 17:28
I was going to stay outta this one altogether, but since my name came up:

The project I'm working on is NOT a new guide to the Trail, i.e. town services, etc. There's no need for a third such work as there are two fine ones on the market already.

What I'm working on is a comprehensive planning and preparation guide that would among other things, free me up from posting the same thing here sixty-two times, such as comments on scheduling, pacing, gear, the need for maps, etc. Instead of answering the same questions each year, it seems to make more sense to answer all of these questions ONCE, in book form.

There's never been a good single volume dealing with planning and preparing an A.T. thru hike, so I'd like to give it a shot. There is, of course, a ton of information on the Internet. The problem is that it's dispersed over 20 different locations, and much of the Information is conflicting. Worse, much of it is given by folks who've never thru-hiked and in all likelihood, never will. And much has been given by folks who've done little long-distance backpacking in recent years and are therefore out of touch with the realities of the contemporary trail.

As for which books people should use now, I'm not sure it much matters.

The single greatest factor in the Handbooks's favor is that it also combines its information with that of the Data Book, and this is invaluable when it comes to being aware of mileage distances, location of campsites, water, shelters, road crossings, etc. (Of course, you will have this knowledge if you use the Companion in conjunction with the Data Book).

I also understand that there are people who are upset that the Handbook, by essentially re-printing the Data Book, is sort of co-opting the work of volunteers. The folks who tirelessly put the Data Book together probably did not intend their work to be re-printed and sold in another guide; I'm still not sure why the ATC permitted this to happen, but what's done is done.

While I'm an ALDHA and ATC member, and while I think both groups deserve to be supported in any way possible, at the end of the day, the Handbook is probably the better book, despite the fact that its author hasn't thru-hiked in many years. The level of editing and fact-checking there, for each annual addition, usually equals or betters the Companion. (I should stress that the PRINCIPAL editors of the Companion have done superb work in recent years; the problem is that the book has many "regional" editors who don't all live up to their tasks----in many cases, when one looks at the maps, it's apparent that the regional editors haven't done a very good job at adding new information, or discarding material that is no longer accurate).

And this is a pity, because there is much in the Companion that isn't in the Handbook. In the best of all possible worlds, I'd advise folks to use BOTH books, but I know this isn't going to be the case.

At present, for any number of reasons, the Handbook is more useful, especially for its information concerning places ON the Trail, as opposed to town information. Also, having the mileage and Data Book information easily at hand in one volume is also very useful.

That being said, I hope folks check out ALDHA (www.waldha.org) and consider joining the organization. They do a great deal of good. And EVERY A.T. hiker should absolutley join and support the ATC (www.atconf.org). I can think of no better way to support the Appalachian Trail. In recent years, both of these organizations made a good bit of money from revenues of the Companion and Data Book. The editors and publishers of these works, have, in my opinion, dropped the ball by not improving the Companion, and dropped it further, by giving the contents of the Data Book away so it could effectively be published in another venue. They've lost money in the process, which is merely one more reason to consider joining or contributing to these organizations, especially the ATC.

Until the Companion does a better job with its town and map information, adds more useful information on the Trail itself, and provides the "Data Book" hard information that folks really need (mileage, water locations, shelters, etc.) I can't see how anyone could honestly say that the Companion is the better work. I look forward to this situation changing in the future, but if I were starting on the Trail tomorrow, I'd most likely carry the Handbook.

Jack Tarlin
02-10-2005, 17:28
The Appalachian Long-Distance Hiker's Association correct website address is :

www.aldha.org

tlbj6142
02-10-2005, 17:43
Any ideas why you can find water sources listed in various state's trail guides that are not listed in the Data book? Seems like the both should be in sync.

For example, on a recent section hike in ME, there were several (3-5) additional water sources listed along the map's narative (the back side of the topo) that were not listed in the databook (in a ~40mi stretch of trail). In each case the water sources (at least while I was there in early Sept) appeared to have quite a bit of flow. And I doubt there has been that much trail re-routing between the printing of the 2004 databook and the 2004 ME guides.

Just wondering.

SGT Rock
02-10-2005, 17:53
I've wondered the same thing. You also find the difference between the ATCs own section guides and their data book. There is a lot of good water and points of interest things in the section guides that wouldn't take up much space that would be nice to have in the databook.

A-Train
02-10-2005, 18:59
Although I do think the Handbook is superior to the Companion (as I've said a million times here) I must admit that Wingfoot or his "editor" do a poor job of checking numbers before printing. There were numerous times in the Handbook when after studying the elevations, it would appear there was a 1400 ft climb in the span of .2 of a mile or something obviously wrong. Most often though, these figures were so grossly wrong, that they were obvious to dismiss. Then again, that makes the author very uncredible and unreliable IMO. I just contradicted myself :)

SGT Rock
02-10-2005, 19:06
Sure, with one editor that is most likely the author of most of the stuff himself it would be easy to overlook some of his own mistakes.

Mountain Dew
02-10-2005, 19:06
I remeber on many different occassions hikers with Wingfoot's book asking me to borrow my Companion. Several of these users pointed out to me that many of Wingfoot's numbers were off a little

flyfisher
02-10-2005, 19:29
I like to keep my DataBook at the house with the sections I have hit highlighted for keeping up with sections completed and sections to hit.

I agree there. I keep a copy of the data book next to my computer for reference. It is as handy as a dictionary.

WalkinHome
02-10-2005, 19:34
Hi All,

Page x of the 2005 Data Book states: "The Data Book is intended to be useful in broad-scale planning of a trip of any length on the Trail, from home or while on the footpath itself.

The Data Book does not, however, include sufficient detail for careful, complete planning of a trip."

Any corrections can be sent to: sales@appalachiantrail.org

A couple of you have just made the case for carrying the maps. Thank you.

Class of 2005 and all others - Be Safe

Nightwalker
02-10-2005, 20:00
Buy the Companion. It's the right and moral thing to do. If you care about the future of the AT.
You're my hero, LW. :D

After having said "Buy both and decide for yourself," let me tell you what I did last year, and probably will this year as well. I buy a databook and a companion. I leave the companion at home with SqueakyWife. I print an Online Companion and take it with me one state at a time. Last year, that involved GA and NC. :P

I met a lot of folks that really liked Wingy's book. I think you ought to use whichever one suits you. HYOH would be a really good rule to foller, ya know?

Frank/Nightwalker

Nightwalker
02-10-2005, 20:11
Regardless of how much they study, plan or carry, I think most new thru hikers still find things to marvel at. The weather, the hikers, the flowers, the views, change hour by hour and day by day. Train yourself to look and observe and the trail remains fresh, regardless of how much WF or the Companion manages to squeeze into their books.

I doubt if even jack can totally negate the surprises that most still find on their walks between Springer and Katahdin.

Weary
Danged if you don't mess up things by being right way too often, Bob!

I'm gonna try to take some Lone Wolf advice this time, even if it takes me forever to get outta the south. I'm gonna take every interesting blue-blazed trail that I come to. If I want to.

I really regretted not going 12 miles out of my way last year to go to Brasstown Bald. I'd rather have to do a flip-flop because of taking too long than regret missing something. So... I'm just gonna hike like I'm out there to enjoy myself, not like it's some holy quest or something. Besides, with my head I may start having migraines again anyway and have to get off. I'm just gonna have fun.

Frank/Nightwalker

foodbag
02-10-2005, 20:52
I used Wingfoot's guide in 1999. It got the job done.

Lone Wolf
02-10-2005, 20:54
That's the spirit Frank! :D

bluesboy
02-10-2005, 20:58
Thank you everyone for the advice. I'm sorry that my question led to a political discussion about Wingfoot. That really wasnt my intention. Oh, how do we insure that we can recieve personal messages? I'm new to this website and someone sent me a PM but my computer wouldnt let me see it. It has a mind of its own. See you on the trail . Peace

SGT Rock
02-10-2005, 21:33
You are probably using a pop-up blocker. Try holding the control key down when it asks to open the message in a new window. Otherwise you have already missed that option. For now look at the top Nav Bar and you will see on the far right a block that looks something like this:

Welcome, SGT Rock.
You last visited: Today at 19:38
Private Messages: 0 Unread, Total 80.

The "Private Messages" part should be a link, this will lead you to your message inbox.

wacocelt
02-10-2005, 22:20
Private Messages: 0 Unread, Total 80.

You're over your '70 messages allowed' limit Top, you'de better get that taken care of or soembody is gonna be 'beatin thier face' for awhile...

SGT Rock
02-10-2005, 22:44
Naw, I'm Admin, I get 100.

wacocelt
02-10-2005, 22:46
Dangit! I haven't made a first Seargent do push ups since 1992. Well, I didn't actually MAKE him, just caught him breaking one of his own rules. He thought it was pretty funny...
Funny enough to smoke me senseless every time he saw me for the next few months. Good times!

SGT Rock
02-11-2005, 00:36
I've been there. Gotta be able to have some humility with the job

Nightwalker
02-11-2005, 01:05
Thank you everyone for the advice. I'm sorry that my question led to a political discussion about Wingfoot. That really wasnt my intention. Oh, how do we insure that we can recieve personal messages? I'm new to this website and someone sent me a PM but my computer wouldnt let me see it. It has a mind of its own. See you on the trail . Peace
Hey, don't sweat it. It's an old, weird war, and we really are growing out of it.

You asked a good question, got a lot of answers, and can now make up your own mind. That's how it's supposed to work!

Strangewalker, uh, Nightwalker
(It's late. I better go to bed!)

MadAussieInLondon
02-11-2005, 07:05
some things we noticed last year comparing wfs book to the comp+data,

wf's town maps were very poor in comparison to the companion town maps.
wf had some places where the mileage numbers where way out compared to the data book.

there were some discrepencies in both where listing privies + water sources at shelters. sometimes one book would say one had a privy vs the other book saying nay, same for water sources. it was not often this happend but there were a few times we came across this.

oldfivetango
02-12-2005, 06:40
All personal feelings of Wingfoot aside, I find his book much more helpful than the Companion.

-TANK Yup,
Despite the differences in our core beliefs the WF translation will be
in my pack because-
1.It is concise and extremely well planned and written
2.It is the most info for size & weight i've found
3.Size matters
Cheers to all,
Oldfivetango:bse

LWOP
02-13-2005, 22:22
I used WF's book in '02 and on my thru-hike last year. When it arrived I cut it with a box cutter and matched the sections with the maps that my wife would mail me along the way. I found it to be very accurate and would not consider a thru-hike without one.
Lwop

Jack Tarlin
02-14-2005, 20:35
I'm supposed to be finishing up my Re-Supply article, but I'm holding off for a few days til I get a look at my 2005 Companion, which the ATC informed me should arrive tomorrow. I'll get going on the article right after and it WILL be here by the end of the week.

I did receive my Handbook from Wingfoot; to his credit, it arrived in 2 days, which sort of justified the rather hefty shipping and handling costs he's asking.

In any case, I'm pretty impressed with the 2005 edition; other than a few omissions and minor errors on the maps, there doesn't seem to be anything majorly wrong with it, at least not after a cursory reading.

In regards to his Hanover info and map, here are a few quick problems. (I'll probably do a detailed "Hanover 2005 Update" before I leave here next month).

1. It's useful that he's listed all the frat houses on the map, but they're almost certainly going to be closed to hikers this spring, unless it's on a a very informal day-by-day basis, i.e. you run into a house member who asks you and you ONLY if you wanna crash for the night. I'd be VERY surprised if any of the Dartmouth dorms are taking in hikers on a regular basis this year.

2. WF conveniently has the old supermarket on his map, and while he tells us that's it's closed, he neglects to mention that the site is now occupied by an enormous discount drugstore. This is THE place to buy first aid items, personal care things, get a scrip filled, etc. The present pharmacy on Main
St. will most likely be closed by hiker season.

3. Stinson's (across the street from EBA's) has a great tobacco section and
around a hundred kinds of beer. Very good fresh sanwiches at lunchtime, too.

4. WF skips some good places to eat: Ramunto's is the best place by far for pizza (it's across the street from the new big drugstore; would've been nice if he'd put it on his map); Dirt Cowboy Cafe on the corner by 5-Olde has incredible baked goods and the best coffee on the whole Trail...they brew each cup individually so you're not drinking something half a day old. The new bookstore is open into the evenings now, and has a cafe, so you can get a cup of coffee or snack after other places have closed; there's a terrific new burrito restaurant called The Wrap right next to Town Hall that serves very tasty, reasonably priced sandwiches. The best Indian Restaurant is India Queen, near the P.O. Best breakfast deal is EBA's Sunday Brunch; otherwise, I wouldn't eat there. There's a new restaurant/music club called The Canoe Club which is very nice, great food, but somewhat pricey (tho for some reason, they do have $2.00 PBR's on tap!). If you go there, try and clean up a bit first, tho hikers are alledgedly welcome....one of the managers thru-hiked in 2000.

Hardware store is still the only place for fuel, tho I'm trying to talk Omer and Bob's into carrying Coleman and Denatured Alcohol. (They're the small sporting goods store on Allen St., a few doors down from EBA's. This is a great place to get small accessories such as hats, polypro gloves, etc., before hitting the Whites; they also sell footwear. Definitely worth a visit if you haven't the time or inclination to go to the big Outfitters (LL Bean and EMS) in West Lebanon).

The best and most hiker-friendy restaurant is still 5 Olde Nugget Alley, which is conveniently located about fifteen seconds walk from the Trail when you arrive in town. You're welcome in the front barrooom even if you're right off the Trail. My friend James who manages the back dining room has implored me to ask people to de-stenchify if they're gonna eat out back, so consider yourself asked. In the bar, tho, anything goes, pretty much. Tuesday night has cheap beer and nuclear chicken wings.

Wingfoot also says nothing about camping options near town, so you might wanna check out my re-supply/lodging article in a few days; I'll provide some details on where you can safely tent a few minutes from downtown without getting hassled.

All for now, more on Hanover later.

TJ aka Teej
02-14-2005, 20:57
Thanks Jack. The only "big" error between Bethel and Baxter in Wingfoot's '04 edition that I saw was that he said Pat and Keith Shaw had retired, which was quite a surprise to both of them. Keith's passing is noted in the '05 Companion, probably not mentioned by WF (no fault of his since his book went to bed early). Services at Shaw's will be cut back a bit this season, probably no suppers. When I told Earl Shaffer that I helped with the Companion, he said trail guides weren't worth spit, that at best all they can be is a record of what a trail was like months or years ago. He was right, of course.

Underhill
02-15-2005, 18:36
If you want the most useful guide (IMHO), get WF's. If you want to support the A.T., get The Companion, or better yet, buy the ATC maps. I bought the ATCs maps but used WF's book and found that I usually had the info I needed at hand alot faster than those relying on the companion & data book.

Jack Tarlin
02-15-2005, 20:38
My 2005 Companion just arrived. Here are a few quick comments re. Hanover:

First off, it doesn't look like the Companion New Hamnpshire editor bothered to set foot in Hanover this past year.

There are several glaring errors on the Hanover pages:

* On the map, The "P&C" market is shown on Main St. It has been closed for quite some time now, and is now a large discount drugstore. They mention the drugstore in the text, but fail to tell you where it's located.

*The map shows a "tavern" across the street from the Post Office. In fact, Peter Christian's tavern has been closed for several yearsnow ; the site is presently occupied by "The Wrap", an excellent burrito restaurant

*Map and text both mention "Mojo's Bistro" which has also been closed for quite some time. The spot is now occupied by the Canoe Club Restaurant.

*The text mentions that Everything But Anchovies, a popular restaurant, serves breakfast and lunch. In fact, it serves food until two in the morning, either to eat in or take-out.

*The Public Library is one block further down East South St. than the map indicates

*The map indicates that Five-Olde, a very hiker-friendly restaurant, is on West Wheelock St. It is actually on Olde Nugget Alley, just parallel to W. Wheelock St.

These errors may seem minor, but what is annoying is that some of them are carryovers from last year, and in the case of the businesses that closed their doors many months if not years ago, this seems to be solid evidence that this section has not been particularly well updated or fact-checked.

The Companion prides itself on its editorial staff, most of whom have allegedly thru-hiked in recent years. While this is no doubt true for some of the editors, and is certainly true of the very knowledgable senior editor, the fact remains that the book's fact-checking and revising is not consistent, and in fact, is frequently inferior to the Thru-Hikers Handbook.

Lone Wolf
02-15-2005, 20:43
You live there. Volunteer to do the updates.

Jack Tarlin
02-15-2005, 20:58
It might interest you to know, Wolf, that I volunteered to do exactly that for three years in a row.

This entailed using one of my very rare full days off in the winter and visiting every single business listed in the Companion, talking to local business owners and manager, to dormitory managers, to College officials, town officials, etc. Among the things I looked into were hours of operation, prices, etc. I'd ask these folks if they were happy with their listings, whether they wanted something added, changed, etc. I also sent along a list of noteworthy things that I thought should be included in the Hanover section that had been omitted from previous editions of the Companion.

I did this for several years, and it was a lot of work. End result: Virtually NONE of my contributions or suggestions ever made it into print, and several of the errors in map or text that I repeatedly pointed out remained published for years after I'd reported the mistakes.

When I suggested that it didn't look like the New Hampshire editor bothered to ever isit Hanover before writing about it, and when I offerred to write the Hanover section each year, I was told that this was already taken care of, and they didn't want to "step on anyone's toes" by giving some of the New Hampshire work to anyone else.

I wasn't looking for credit, thanks, or recognition. I was merely sick and tired of finding half a dozen mistakes in the Hanover section every year.

So to answer your question, Wolf, I volunteered my services to the Companion on several occasions over the years, and they evidently weren't interested in anyone's help. So I got tired of it. I don't have a lot of days off in the fall and winter and I'll be damned if I give one of them up for no good purpose.

I look forward to the day when I can tell people, with no reservations, that the Thru-Hiker's Companion is the best work of its sort presently available.

That day has not yet arrived, and it won't until they get better about their editing, fact-checking, and annual updating of published information.

Lone Wolf
02-15-2005, 21:12
Okay that's cool. Didn't realize you had offered. I offered a coupla times to do the Damascus section but got no response till this year at PAruck. I'll be updating Damascus for the 06 Campanion. Makes no sense to not use hikers that actually live in trail towns for the Companion.

Jack Tarlin
02-15-2005, 21:56
Speaking of which, Wolf, it'd be a great service to this year's hikers if you took a few minutes and told us about new things in Damascus this year; for example, what are your impressions of the new supermarket? What about the new restaurant in the old Sidetrack cafe site? Any new B&B's, hostels, lodging houses? Any new businesses or additions/improvements to older ones? Anything significant that isn't in the Companion or Handbook?

You're in a unique position to give knowledgable, absolutely current info on Damascus, and I think it'd help a lot of folks if you can give us the latest town news.

Likewise, anyone else who lives in or near a trail town might want to pass on similarly useful information. This would be a great supplement to both the Companion and the Handbook and would be very useful to the 2005 Hikers.

SGT Rock
02-15-2005, 21:58
Visit Maryville! not as a tourist trap like Gatlinburg. A great gear store and plenty of shops. Of course it takes a little longer to get to Maryville than Gatlinburg.

smokymtnsteve
02-15-2005, 22:19
I understand that there is going to be a new blue blaze re-route thru maryville

Lone Wolf
02-15-2005, 22:20
Not much new in Damascus. The new Food City is GREAT! Most of the lodging listed is the same except The Maples is no longer a B&B and The Old Mill, by the post office, offers hiker rates for their beautiful rooms during the week. The Mill also has good food. The former Sidetrack Cafe soon to be the Baja Cafe will be open the first week of March hopefully. I talked to the owners a few days ago and it's what they're shooting for. Serving Mexican fare. The Do Duck Inn serves B/L/D, ice cream and is located in The Ole Barn, which is a bike shuttle/rental place across from Dot's. It's right on the Creeper Trail as you head out of town NOBO.
There is a Trail Days meeting this Thursday night, 17 Feb., which I will attend and report back here with any good/bad info.

SGT Rock
02-15-2005, 22:24
I understand that there is going to be a new blue blaze re-route thru maryville
I was going to blue blaze a route off the AT, but I couldn't imagine anyone taking a 20 mile blue blaze down to Becky's for a 2 pound hamburger.

smokymtnsteve
02-15-2005, 22:29
I heard that U were going to "greet" hikers jist liek WF used to do at his home in Hot Springs...didn't he used to jist stick his head out the door and wave?

SGT Rock
02-15-2005, 22:39
Heck man, I have a job and a woman. Some hippy looking hiker might come by the house looking for me while I'm out and get an ass full of rocksalt from the wife and my 12 gauge :D

Nightwalker
02-15-2005, 22:39
Visit Maryville! not as a tourist trap like Gatlinburg. A great gear store and plenty of shops. Of course it takes a little longer to get to Maryville than Gatlinburg.
I was about to ask where it was until I looked under your name...

:D

orangebug
02-15-2005, 22:51
Visit Maryville! not as a tourist trap like Gatlinburg. A great gear store and plenty of shops. Of course it takes a little longer to get to Maryville than Gatlinburg.I used to visit Maryville frequently as I had a nearly 100 year old relative living there. The last time I visited, the excellent outfitter had closed (not far from the road out to Asbury Manor).

Where and what is the good outfitter?

SGT Rock
02-15-2005, 22:54
Right on 321, you can't miss it. Little River Outfitters has a bunch of Kayaks out front and a bike shop on the side. The guys working there are pretty cool, they have a good selection of real gear (not just fashion gear) and even carry the Hennessy Hammock :D. The guys there really hike.

Tenacious Tanasi
02-16-2005, 00:23
I used to visit Maryville frequently as I had a nearly 100 year old relative living there. The last time I visited, the excellent outfitter had closed (not far from the road out to Asbury Manor).

Where and what is the good outfitter?

Sgt Rock's right...it's right on 321. If you're comin' up Hwy 411, turn right on 321 and then you'll pass Maryville College on the right. As you go on around you'll pass Blount Memorial Hospital on the left. The Little River Trading Co. is not too far past the hospital and will be on the right. Like Sgt said, just watch for the canoes.

I went up there a couple of weeks ago for a presentation of Wildcat's (wasn't his name Bill Emmerson, Sgt?) thruhike, and took a couple of minutes to look around before having to head home. They really had quite a selection of what I would call usable hiking gear...not just the high dollar crap.

It's definintely worth a look see if you get up this way.

One thing I would like to see is an outfitter that sold stuff like the Antigravity gear, Packas, and other stuff like some of our folks make. If I ever get to open my hiker hostel then I plan on doing just that...carrying real world items and supplies that folks use on the trail.

The Weasel
02-16-2005, 13:33
Buy all three books and only carry the pages for the sections you are on, leaving the rest of each book in your bounce box.

Forget the maps. They are too large scale to be of any significant use. I used the AT computer topos (1"=2000') and was very popular at shelters when I brought out the pages I'd printed for that section! (Usually had to carry about 20 pages at the start of each section but I'd leave each day's maps in the shelters as I'd pass by).

The Weasel