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Thread: Guide Confusion

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    Default Guide Confusion

    After some research I think I have a grasp on the main CDT guides. The CDTS "wolf" books are geared towards the best access to resources and the "official" books follow the trail as approved by the gov't.

    Am I close here? I found some used "wolf" guides, but they seem really out of date. (1979 - 1998 for the publish dates) Icouldn't find any publishing info on these guides on the CDTS website. With shipping added, I would only save $4.00 per book.


    Are there any other guides that display the trail's with alternate benifical routes that I should research?


    Thank You,

    John

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    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    The 'official' guides' are way out of date and haven't been updated in 10 years or more. They are also from an org that no longer exists.

    In brief,
    • the Wolf guides have supplements regularly to update the existing guidebooks. The Wolf Guides show the CDTS route (with few alternates).
    • the Bear Creek maps show the designated USFS route in excellent detail but no alt routes
    • The J Ley maps show alt routes and the official route (if not as good detail as the above maps and guidebooks)
    • The there is Yogi's guide aimed more at town and logistic info


    Most people take a mix of all four. The Grand Unification of CDT guides is still being sought. ;-)


    Check out my quick and dirty CDT guide for more info:
    http://www.pmags.com/a-quick-and-dirty-cdt-guide
    Last edited by Mags; 12-05-2012 at 21:38.
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    You should be able to check on the CDTS website for the current update date of all of the "Wolf" guides. Many have more recent supplements sold separately that you can use to bring them more up to date. In the Wolf guides there are references to the "designated" route which is (or previously was) the "official" CDNST route established by the Forest Service, National Parks, or Bureau of Land Management. Frequently Wolf deviates from the "designated route" and describes a "recommended route". Be aware: except for N MT, these are written for a SOBO hiker. I found the guides helpful on the short sobo section I did this summer from Rawlins, WY to Buffalo Pass near Steamboat as well as the Nobo guide for the N MT where I was hiking nobo. I found it difficult to use the guides elsewhere on my nobo chunks. The Wolf guides include a lot of information about the plants and flowers along the trail and some historical background which you may find interesting.

    That said, if you are on a budget, I'd recommend the Ley maps along with the Bearcreek waypoints and OOOs tracks loaded in your GPS. (The Bear Creek waypoints include mile post waypoints each half mile or so. They also have waypoints for water sources, trail intersections with other trails and roads, high points, etc.). There are no notes on the maps, one of the items in Ley's mapsets that is most useful. (In one case I ignored Ley's warning that a water source N of Helena shown on the Bear Creek maps and waypoints dried up in late summer. I wound up making a dry camp that night having somewhat less than 3/4 liters of water left. After that I verified the Bear Creek water sources against the notes on Leys maps.) Also, Ley covers many alternate routes that most or many hikers take (the middle Gila River, e.g.). If your budget stretches further add the Bear Creek maps. They are very clear and quite nice for the vast majority of the time that you'll be following the "official" route.

    Let me also add a plug for Yogi's guide. It was very helpful for planning and on the trail.
    Handlebar
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    On top of all of the above excellent responses (that I agree with completely), I'll say that whatever else you take you will want the Ley maps if only for the alternate routes, plus sometimes the notes he puts on the map pages are helpful --- and easy to read in context. Wolf is more like the W.P. guide books for the PCT --- a lot of text to sort through, so you're a little less likely to grab relevant data on the spot.
    If you use Ley as your only maps, however, do consider whether you can find a low priced option to print these oversized --- on 8-1/2 x 11 sheets the maps take pretty keen eyesight to pick out all of the detail. The Bear Creek maps are easier to read just as maps.
    Gadget
    PCT: 2008 NOBO, AT: 2010 NOBO, CDT: 2011 SOBO, PNT: 2014+2016

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    Thank you all for the info!
    Regards,
    John

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    Yep and that Yogi townguide and planner (two separate books) are excellent. Worth their weight in . . . little debbies.
    "Something hidden. Go and find it. Go, and look behind the Ranges. Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you . . . Go!" (Rudyard Kipling)
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianLe View Post
    Wolf is more like the W.P. guide books for the PCT --- a lot of text to sort through, so you're a little less likely to grab relevant data on the spot.
    If I'm not mistaken there's a data point (description, mileage and elevation) for every change in elevation that's 50' or more, which can mentally translate into a profile.


    Bolded adds clarification

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    Wolf does give a distances and elevations table for every section, and the points in these are relatively close together, but not for every 50' of elevation delta. Often the delta's are relatively low (150', 100', sometimes even 50') but they can be bigger, 1000' or likely even more between points. I think those latter tend to be pretty steep places, however --- climbing out of a canyon, that sort of thing. I'm not sure what basis he used for establishing points.
    Gadget
    PCT: 2008 NOBO, AT: 2010 NOBO, CDT: 2011 SOBO, PNT: 2014+2016

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    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    I just saw that this new databook was posted about a two weeks ago. It is a downloadable PDF with mileage info take from J Ley and Bear Creek.
    Should be useful for most CDT hikers:
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=397500
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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    Anyone ever walk that trail with a satelite receiver for the mapping?
    Greg P.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianLe View Post
    Wolf does give a distances and elevations table for every section, and the points in these are relatively close together, but not for every 50' of elevation delta. Often the delta's are relatively low (150', 100', sometimes even 50') but they can be bigger, 1000' or likely even more between points. I think those latter tend to be pretty steep places, however --- climbing out of a canyon, that sort of thing. I'm not sure what basis he used for establishing points.
    I'm not sure what a delta is. I sold my books to a 2012 hiker but I'm pretty sure it's mentioned in the front matter of text.

    Not that every 50' is mentioned but let's say mile 2185.9 is 5,268'. Mile 2,186 or 2187 could be 5,318 before descent or 6,268 before changing direction with a featured point in-between but there wouldn't be any change of elevation over 50' in-between points.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Clean View Post
    Anyone ever walk that trail with a satelite receiver for the mapping?
    Bearcreek (Jerry Brown) did it with some fancy survey gps gear. The maps they sell are spot on.

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    "I'm not sure what a delta is. I sold my books to a 2012 hiker but I'm pretty sure it's mentioned in the front matter of text.
    Not that every 50' is mentioned but let's say mile 2185.9 is 5,268'. Mile 2,186 or 2187 could be 5,318 before descent or 6,268 before changing direction with a featured point in-between but there wouldn't be any change of elevation over 50' in-between points.
    "
    Delta: geek/math/engineer-speak for "difference".

    It's definitely more than 50'. After I got my Wolf set one of the NM books was updated so I kept the old one home, still have it. Looking at any random section table of distances and elevations in that one quickly sees examples of points with more than 50' elevation between them.
    Gadget
    PCT: 2008 NOBO, AT: 2010 NOBO, CDT: 2011 SOBO, PNT: 2014+2016

  14. #14

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    When it's more than 50', the trend is consistent in that direction. There is no up AND down, just up OR down. So if he lists 7500', then 7800', you go up for three hundred feet, without any big dips. It is hugely different from the PCT guides, where they go by waypoints (i.e. trail junctions or roads) and there may be a lot of up and down between the two that don't get mentioned at all. (Cross road at 3500', cross another road at 3600', but in between you go up to 4200, down to 2700, then back up and down two or three more times.) Jim Wolf will list every change that is more than 50', so you don't get surprised by unexpected knobs or dips.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Walker View Post
    Jim Wolf will list every change that is more than 50', so you don't get surprised by unexpected knobs or dips.
    Thanks Ginny, that's what I was trying to say, not sure why it was so hard to communicate.

    I know it's explained in the text somewhere.

  16. #16

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    I took the long way(no short cuts) and sought out the most scenic alternate routes usually meaning harder longer more higher elev. ridgewalks. I came up with a few alternates of my own too not listed on any maps I knew of. With all the side hiking I also did in the NPs and a few other places I gues I probably did a 3300 mile CDT hike. I used all the sources Mags listed other than the BC maps/way pts. I went with map/compass skills. Ley has MANY alternates and many notes on these alternates on his maps. I also found Wolf's guides helpful pointing out why he chose his route which most often made sense FOR ME. What you need to know is that the CDT needs MANY maps. Yogi does a good job organizing what maps she thinks you need and explains her map neeeding mindset. DEFINITELY check out Mag's CDT info too and his links especially to Spirit Walker's resuppy/town info which you might find useful. I also contacted previous CDTers about specific alternates based on my goals of better scenery, fewer water finding issues, and more tread. You can adapt from all these sources FOR YOUR HIKE.

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