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Terry "Cheers!" Norton
Begins: May 1, 2007
Date: Sun, Apr 22nd, 2007
Start: Boulder, Colorado
End: Boulder, Colorado
Daily Distance: 0
Entry Visits: 1,026
Journal Visits: 9,532
Guestbook Views: 219
Guestbook Entrys: 6
Continental Divide Trail Map
Here I go again! Another long hike. The PCT last year was an incredible walk across California, Oregon, and Washington. As with any long journey there were plenty of challenges. The CDT will prove no different.
The Continental Divide Trail stretches from Mexico to Canada along New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. "Trail" is too strong of a word...Let's call it a route or corridor. There is a line on an official Forest Service map which indicates where the trail may one day be, but at present much of the route is not officially sanctioned, at least by the US government. Being lazy and wishing to conform to "standard practice," I will call the route I am following a "trail."
I have been gathering information, guidebooks, and maps for months. A fellow hiker, Yogi, recently published a handbook listing the major resupply points along the CDT. The $ 25 spent on the guidebook saved me days of work.
The on-trail guidebooks are quite another matter. There are the "official" CDTA (Continental Trail Divide Alliance) books which describe the official trail route where it exists, and there are the CDTS (Continental Divide Trail Society) guidebooks that describe the route from a veteran hiker, Jim Wolf. The CDTA guides are typically referred to as "Coffee Table Books," with great photography, but a little light on trail information. The CDTS "Wolf Guides" are austere, compact and detailed on-trail descriptions.
I went with the Wolf guides...and so will most everyone else on the trail this season. Although the books are not always up to date (Some sections require a "supplement" with updates.), they provide the best information.
Maps are another matter. None of the major map publishing companies keep a set of maps updated with the current route information. A former CDT hiker, Jonathan Ley, has achieved well deserved hero status by creating a free set of CDT maps available on CD. Jonathan's work is amazing, and the whole CDT hike would be immensely more difficult if he did not maintain the maps.
To Jonathan's detailed maps, I am adding more maps which cover greater areas so I can find and explore new routes. This won't generally be by choice. These maps are for when I either cannot hike a particular area (closure, etc.) or when I wander off course and need to return to the desired route.
On the Appalachian Trail, "purity" or following every inch of the official route is a religion to many. I was a moderate believer in this philosophy on my first thruhike of the AT. On the second time around I wandered a little more and took in a few vistas and side trips. My walk was always continuous, but I did not worship at the altar of the white blaze.
Friends have prepared me for the reality that I will often not be able to find the "official trail" even when it is known to exist. I will likely break out in song and maddening laughter when I actually find "the CDT" in some places.
Next Update...My hiking plan and route choice...
The Continental Divide Trail is a national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada via New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. This unfinished trail can potentially span up to 3,100 miles. Learn more: www.continentaldividetrail.org