[Cdt-l] Well marked? Hah!

Rick Ostheimer rick.ostheimer at sbcglobal.net
Mon Nov 29 16:04:26 CST 2010


I hiked from Crazy Cook to Steamboat Springs in '10 and plan on picking 
up the hike nobo this summer at the end of June.  The CDT is NOT well 
marked.  On BLM lands in NM, there were posts about every quarter mile 
some of which had blown down or been knocked down by cows.  You could 
barely see from one to the other and frequently would have to go beyond 
the post you were at before you spotted the next one.  Occasionally 
there were blazes cut into pines in the wooded sections.  In many places 
it is cross country.  Sometimes there was a herd path, but frequently 
there wasn't much of one.   Since it was a high snow year, in S Colorado 
the trail was frequently hidden under the snow.  That said, the portion 
of the trail that coincides with the Colorado Trail is usually better 
marked----except, where turns off one dirt road onto another aren't 
followed by a sign to let you know you've turned onto the right path.  
Hah!  I had two of those the same day, but at least the afternoon 
thunderstorm was over the trail dirt road rather than the longer road 
that I was following.

I was rushed in my final prep work and when I loaded OOO's GPS track, 
the Delorme software kindly dropped a lot of points so it would all 
fit.  It did warn me, but I didn't realize how much that would degrade 
the value of the GPS.  (I've fixed that indiscretion for this year.)  I 
misplaced the trail frequently due to not checking my map frequently.  
After learning the hard way, when I finally made a point of orienting 
myself on the maps relative to the topography I could see around me 
frequently, the "misplacing" of the trail diminished.  I learned to 
double check on the maps at every trail and/or road intersection, as 
every time I failed to do so, it seemed I'd be heading the wrong way.  
One really has to pay attention to navigation.  I carried an MP3 player, 
but only felt secure in listening to it on long road-walk sections like 
the trek into and out of Pie Town.  Also, I found that the Wolf Guides 
were very difficult to translate from sobo (as they're written) to nobo 
(as I was travelling).

I guess what I'm saying is, if you and your lady plan for some alone 
time, you need to both be comfortable with navigating with map and 
compass, and have your own sets of maps.  I second the 4 eyes are better 
than 2 comment.  The brief times when I was hiking with others tended to 
be times I didn't get misplaced, because one or the other of us 
questioned a wrong turn quickly and we put our heads together to 
interpret the maps.

In spite of these navigation difficulties, the CDT was the wildest, most 
beautiful of the three long distance trails I've been on to date.


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