[Cdt-l] Maps & Guidebooks

Doug-Sue doug-sue71 at comcast.net
Fri Mar 12 07:25:31 CST 2010

Perhaps I am mapguide dyslexic, but I have a very hard time reversing guidebooks that are written for a sobo hike to a nobo hike.  For me it is just a lot of work trying to seeing things in the opposite direction.  

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Brian Dickson 
  Sent: Friday, March 12, 2010 8:18 AM
  Subject: Re: [Cdt-l] Maps & Guidebooks

  I agree with Jonathan and I am definately a visual person and love maps. 

  However I found in New Mexico that Jim Wolf's guides provided excellent additional navigation information to the maps. Sometimes you need all the info you can get when there is a series of faint jeep tracks going in different directions. I think most would agree that New Mexico has probably the greatest potential for getting lost on the trail and one area where Jonathans maps are slightly weak is that they don't always indicate a change in trail from say dirt road to faint trail. The Wolf guides might just stop you getting lost in these cases. I used both in NM constantly and we were lost very few times.

  As Jonathan writes though, you also should keep refering to them as you hike- keep them handy and know where you are at any given time. Navigation is good fun too!

  So for these reasons I would recommend buying and reading the Jim Wolf guides for New Mexico at least. They are also a great read with heaps of interesting background information.



  From: Jonathan Ley <jonathan at phlumf.com>
  To: CDT MailingList Sent: Fri, 12 March, 2010 4:27:03
  Subject: [Cdt-l] Maps & Guidebooks

  I think it really depends on how you learn about and navigate the world. Not sure if anyone here has studied different learning/communicating styles, but I think this has a lot of relevance:

  Many people are primarily visual, in which case the maps alone might work. Others are more auditory or kinesthetic learners, who might work better with a textual description of where the trail goes. 

  Think about this… When someone asks directions from you, do you draw them a map? Or tell them where to turn?  

  When you are driving around in the city, do you feel more comfortable looking at maps? Or reading directions? 

  If you catch a bus, do you need to know exactly which streets the bus is going down in order to figure out where you’re going? Or do you just rely on the names of the stops? 

  Personally, I’m a much more visually-oriented person. For instance, when I print out directions from google-maps of where I’m trying to go, I only print the map, and could care less about the turn-by-turn directions. Others are just the opposite. 

  When I was on the PCT, I never read the trail descriptions. I just used the little guidebook maps. I would meet some other hikers and if they asked about some point on the trail, I’d point to the map. They’d reference some mile-point, or description that was in the guidebook. I could never figure out why they’d make it so hard on themselves to navigate that way. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that it just matched their learning style better. Or, maybe I'm just a crackpot ;-)

  So, either or both approaches are good for different people – we all have to hike our own hike. One thing though… out on a trail like the CDT, you do really need a map, as if you get off-route, directions won’t help much. However, if you’re not primarily a visual thinker, reading and using a map is likely to be harder for you. It’s something you’ll probably need to practice a lot to get right. There are a lot of books out there about navigation… I always recommend “Staying Found” by June Fleming, as I found it very well put together, and readable:
  Also the mantra here is to “stay found” – i.e. the key to not getting lost is to always know where you are. Always. With every step (i.e. no putting your head down for hours and getting lost in some iPod music then hours later trying to figure out where you went wrong).  Not quite as easy as it sounds... 


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