[cdt-l] New Thru-hiker questions (Jim's answers)

Ginny & Jim Owen spiritbear2k at hotmail.com
Wed Dec 20 21:48:49 CST 2006

Karen wrote:
>Mags mentioned the new trail that has just been
>constructed near Silver City.....will that be on the
>CDTA maps?

No - I'm assuming that the "CDTA" maps you're referring to are the ones in 
the Westcliffe guidebooks.  The New Mexico Westcliffe guidebook is no longer 
valid in many places, so the maps are also no longer valid.  Nor will they 
be until the guidebooks are re-issued.

Now, the trail from the border to Rt 90 was designated by the BLM in August 
2005, but not marked until the week before we walked it in April 2006.  The 
southern terminus is at the Crazy Cook Monument, which I think the 
Westcliffe guidebook tried to redesignate as Tierra Commun (although memory 
isn't clear on that point) .  But the locals and the Border Patrol know it 
as Crazy Cook Monument, so I'll stick with that.  Anyway, the Monument is 
accessible by passenger car - 4X4 is not necessary.  From there the route is 
marked by 8"x8" white metal signs mounted on green metal posts.  Which means 
they might actually last more than a year - maybe - if the cows don't take 
down the posts by scratching on them.  In April, the signs led all the way 
to Old Hachita (which is not the same as the town of Hachita) and then we 
followed pink ribbons through the desert to NM Rt 9.  From Rt 9 there were 
no markings - or trail - until NM Rt 90.  We had rough maps from the BLM and 
CDTA and had a lot of fun wandering through the desert and finding water 
sources.  But I'll give you a clue - the "official" trail goes through 
Lordsburg.  We'll try to get better information out about that soon.

In April 2006, we met a trail crew building some "new Trail near Silver 
City" which consisted of 5 miles of trail that parallelled NM Rt 90 through 
the Gila NF and then joined the official route at a campground just before 
the trail heads over Burro and Jacks Peaks.  The current route then returns 
to NM Rt 90 at the Tyrone Mine for a 12 mile roadwalk into Silver City.  The 
Gila Forest folks told us that they are working on designing a new route 
that will avoid that paved highway walk.  Unfortunately it will probably 
avoid Silver City as well.  Most people just roadwalk NM90 rather than do 
the climbs over the peaks.  Their loss - the trail over the peaks was great. 
  Much better than a paved roadwalk.

>In consideration of all the input I've received, I'm
>planning to carry:
>- CDTA maps
>- Ley's maps
>- DeLorme topo overviews (obtained via their atlases)
>- Garmin's topos (on my GPS unit; no extra weight)
>- Trails Illustrated maps (I also already own all of
>these for CO, Yellowstone and Glacier)
>- Maybe the BLMs for NM (concerned its too much
>weight-wise; how do you order these?)
>- Yogi's handbook
>- CDTA guidebook pages
>Hmmm.  This sounds like a lot to me, but I still feel
>like I'm missing something.

Too much.

>From "my" point of view - we've already eliminated the "CDTA" maps.

Jonathon's maps are good - but print a couple of them on 8.5x11 first and 
find out if you can read the detail on them (I couldn't - but that's me).  
If you can't, then print them on 11x17 - it improves the quality immensely.  
It also increases the weight.  Tradeoffs.

Garmin topos - why do you need the GPS?  It's extra - and unnecessary - 

TI maps are good even if heavy - we carried, but didn't use Jonathon's maps 
through CO because the TI maps gave us everything we needed.

BLM maps for NM and WY - some time ago there was a discussion on cdt-l re: 
trespassing on private land.  In both states you can (and some hikers have 
been) arrested for trespass.  Kinda cuts into your thruhike.  The cure for 
that is to carry (and use) the BLM maps.  They'll tell you where the private 
and public lands are located.  And that information CAN help you navigate as 
well as keep you out of trouble.

Yogis handbook - don't have a clue - never seen one.  For this year's hike 
we didn't even use the town information on our own website.  It wasn't 
necessary - we learned long ago to be independent enough to do our own 
research and to ask for what we want/need from locals.

As Ginny said - the only "CDTA" (read - Westcliffe") guidebook worth buying 
is the CO book - and we'd still rather use Jim Wolf's books.

Hmmm - "where" to get the maps.  Sources are listed on our website at 
http://spiriteaglehome.com/cdt06%20maps.html.   But we also just found a new 
source that's not listed there (although we haven't actually tried it yet).  
Try http://www.mapoutfitter.com/

>What about carrying Colorado Trail maps or CT town
>guide, etc.?  When I hiked the CT, I knew exactly the
>spots where the CDT overlapped, but now I can't recall
>whether its enough of an overlap to warrant bringing
>along pieces of my guidebook.

If memory serves, it's about 250 mile overlap.  You won't need the CT 
information.  But keep in mind that the CT in CO takes precedence over the 
CDT.  In other words, the CT is well marked, and you won't get 'lost' as 
long as you know where the two separate.  Brings to mind what a CT thruhiker 
at Searles Pass said - "only an idiot would need a GPS to do the CT".  I 
agreed with him.

>Bald Eagle reminded me that I own Lynn Wheldon's "How
>to Hike the CDT" video -- I must've bought it several
>years ago and forgotten.  It doesn't help your memory
>when everything you own has been in storage for three

Tell Bald Eagle that Bald Eagle says "hi".

Lynn Whelden's video is ~7 hours long.  Take the resupply stuff with a LARGE 
bucket of salt.  Some of it was obsolete before we finished our 1999 thru.  
But most of the other stuff is still good.

>If there are any other prospective CDT thru-hikers (or
>section hikers!) in N. Alabama, Middle Tennessee or W.
>Georgia, please contact me off list and maybe we can
>get together to share planning, ideas and watch the
>videos together.

If you get to the SORuck, we'll be there.  With  slide show.

Walk softly,

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