[cdt-l] Mount Taylor Appeal Denied

Ginny & Jim Owen spiritbear2k at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 3 00:20:29 CDT 2007

Ryan wrote: 
I suppose there is some conflict regarding "need" here.
No conflict at all - we ALL need water.
It was my impression that this community wanted to leave the trail ... as is.
Leaving the trail "as is" is NOT what the Forest Service is doing - rather, they're defining routes based on criteria tha have little or no relation to anything resembling a reasonable trail.  Kinda like designating the Chain of Craters when there were no water sources out there for (how many?? ) miles.  
This is not an insurmountable task for a reasonably experienced hiker, and these waterless mileages are found on the PCT as well. The CDT provides so much opportunity for hikers of all abilities, that I think having some challenges like this will preserve its character. 
Not so.  There is NO 50 mile waterless section on the PCT.  If memory serves, the max waterless miles on the PCT used to be 32 miles and that was a real stretch for most hikers.  But that's been mitigated in recent years by water caches. I went through this argument 7 years ago with someone else - let's not do it again.  
One of the main reasons the CDT is so much harder than the other trails is not the lack of water sources - it's the reliability (or lack thereof) of those water sources.  Designating deliberate 50 mile waterless sections is 1/ damned poor trail design and 2/ denial of trail use to a large part of the trail community.  50 waterless miles is more than MANY hikers can do in a day - and some of them would have trouble doing it in 2 days.  Yes - I know some of those people - and so do you if you think about it.  
In addition, last year there was some concern on the part of the Forest Service about lawsuits being initiated by either hikers or their survivors because of the lack of water sources on the designated route. That's why they approved water caches along the road when they closed the Forest in 2006.  I wonder where that concern got lost. 
There's no requirement that a CDT hiker should have to do 50 mile days in order to hike the trail.  Saying "it's OK to designate 50 mile waterless sections" is implicit approval of the thoughtless and/or ignorant bureaucratic decisions that have plagued the CDT in the past.  
For example - the route that got foisted on the CDT in RMNP. North of Grand Lake there's an officially designated 30 mile, 4000 (?) ft elevation gain loop that returns the hiker to within a mile of where they started.  And requires a permit if you're gonna camp there.  What they don't tell you is that if they get any snow at all, that loop will be closed to many hikers because the loop may not open up until late July.  OTOH - how many CDT thruhikers are likely to do that loop?  Which makes their "designation" utterly useless except for bureaucratic purposes.  We were there (RMNP) this year - thought we'd hike the loop just for fun. But it was closed until sometime AFTER we had started the GDT.  
Enuff - I need some sleep
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