[cdt-l] Northbound or Southbound

Alistair and Gail Des Moulins aandg at telusplanet.net
Thu Jan 4 16:30:33 CST 2007

In 2006, we originally planned to hike northbound starting in mid April. Due to the extremely dry winter 05-06 in New Mexico we opted to go southbound to avoid potential problems with earlier than usual fire closures and water issues. So we started south on June 12th. It rained, snowed or hailed for much of the first 5 days and that is typical for that area in the first half of June. After that the weather was generally fine and sunny.
In Wyoming we had glorious warm weather in the Winds then rain, snow and cold easterly and south easterly winds in the Great Basin (mid September). This was unpleasant but on the plus side our water consumption was a lot lower than it would have been in 90 degrees.
New Mexico was generally warm (during the day) and sunny but the shorter days (10.5 hours daylight by mid November) started getting to me a bit. We'd have to get up in the dark to make reasonable mileage. With a northbound hike you'd finish 2 months earlier and have less of the short days. So my vote might be for NB on that issue.
One gets snow either way. With new snow, it's probably better to be going northbound as there's likely to be less on south facing slopes. But on old snow, it's probably better to be going southbound as the snow will stay firmer for longer in the day on the north facing slopes one would be going up. 
I liked Ginny's comment "Whichever way you go - there are more positives than negatives.".
That really somes up the enjoyment of doing the trail and if you don't think that way maybe it's best to stay home!

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