[cdt-l] New Thru-hiker questions

Brett blisterfree at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 20 15:08:33 CST 2006

The differences between the Association's and Society's 
guidebooks will become more apprarent when you're able to do 
a side-by-side comparison.

The CDTA (Association) guides describe the official route, 
while the CDTS (Society) guides describe the route 
recommended by Jim Wolf. The Society's route is intended to 
offer a practical alternative to hikers who may otherwise 
find portions of the official route to be less than ideal, 
e.g., due to excessive roadwalking, a lack of water, or an 
absence of wilderness aesthetics. The Society advocates a 
silent corridor for the CDT, and serves as something of a 
watchdog agency as the trail continues to be developed.

The CDTA guides are rather like coffee-table books - full of 
beautiful photos and textual flourishes, and printed on 
heavy, National Geographic-type paper. They can be quite 
inspirational, but many hikers find them next to useless in 
the field. Part of the problem, at least with the NM guide 
with which I'm familiar, is that the navigational 
descriptions aren't written with much trail sense; it's 
quite easy to lose track of your whereabouts in the text vis 
a vis the trail corridor. Descriptions also have a tendency 
of being at their vaguest when the route is also at its 
vaguest. The CDTA guides include 1:24,000 maps, though at a 
compressed scale that is somewhat difficult to read.

The CDTS guides are small, thin, no-nonsense editions. 
They're easy to carry and reference, and the text 
descriptions are written in such a way that you can dig into 
the guide when you need it, find the info you need, then put 
it away. Two possible disadvantages to these guides are that 
they don't include field-worthy maps, and in the case of NM 
(at least) the descriptions are written for the southbound 
hiker. For northbounders, reversing the descriptions can be 
a challenge at times. However both of these issues are 
reduced by the fact that Jonathan's maps generally show the 
route described in the CDTS guide.

I can't speak with authority beyond New Mexico, but it's my 
impression that many hikers have completed the entire trail 
using only the CDTS guides and Jonathan's maps. Fewer have 
carried both the CDTS and CDTA guides. And very few have 
carried only the CDTA guides. (Virtually no one hikes w/o 
Jonathan's maps.)

- blisterfree

Simblissity Ultralight :: One-of-a-Kind Designs for the 
Great Outdoors

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karen Somers" <kborski at yahoo.com>
To: "Brett" <blisterfree at yahoo.com>; <cdt-l at backcountry.net>
Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 2:43 PM
Subject: Re: [cdt-l] New Thru-hiker questions

> All great info......but I am a bit confused.
> What is the difference between CDTS and CDTA?
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