Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yogi's CDT Handbook

I first learned about Yogi from my AT friend, Detour.

I did a little trail support for Detour when he set out for the PCT in 2005. Sadly, my best package to Detour missed him and was returned to me weeks later. It was a full of Snickers! Sorry, Detour! However, all of the packages of Detour's maps and pages of his Yogi guide successfully reached him.

Between shipments, I read through some of the maps and Yogi pages, and when the time came for Team Creason to prepare for the PCT, well... we screwed up. Perhaps it was complacence. I had little doubt that we would reach Canada.

Due to lack of organization (proper planning?), Reason ordered our Yogi guide and had it sent to Campo, CA, at the start of the PCT. "Are you sure you want it to go to Campo," asked Yogi.

At that point, we didn't have a choice. At Campo, we opened Yogi's package, put the Yogi Town Guide in our packs and mailed the Yogi PCT planner home. I didn't really read it until reaching the Dinsmore's River Haven in Skykomish, WA - where I also stayed up late into the night reading Yogi's CDT planner!

The interesting thing about Yogi's CDT guide is that even she states in her introduction that it is really just an account of various opinions and what did and didn't work for successful CDT hikers. And it is.

Our Yogi CDT guide arrived in January. I read it right away, and then I had a lot of questions.

I ordered the Wolf CDTS guides, the DeLorme atlases, and requested the Ley map CD. But our first big decision was which way to go and when to start.

What did we decide? Well, we decided to wait and see. This was very hard for me. I like to plan and organize. But I decided that this would be the key to our CDT hike. Not only will our hike be more successful if we chose to go north or south based on the most favorable snow conditions, but every other decision on the trail will be better approached by considering conditions as they present themselves rather than as we have planned.

On the Appalachian Trail, it is pretty difficult to get lost. You just follow the very consistent and prolific white blazes. On the Pacific Crest Trail, it is a little easier to get lost. The PCT features very few blazes and markers and is in fact buried under snow in many places. When you can't find the PCT, you just make it up.

The Continental Divide Trail is rarely blazed. It isn't even complete. There are two northern termini and three southern termini to choose between. There is a high route through the San Juans in Colorado, and there is a lower-elevation cut-off if the San Juans are too snowy or the weather is too threatening. Even the physical Divide splits in two in Wyoming and forms the Great Divide Basin. Do you go east, west, or straight through the basin?

We haven't decided. We'll let you know later.

The Yogi CDT Town Guide is a different story. It will be invaluable for resupplying with food and gear. The information that Yogi has compiled replaces the year of phone calls, letters and research that Karen Berger describes as her CDT preparation in her well-researched book Where the Waters Divide.

I have supplemented the Yogi Town Guide with recommendations and suggestions offered on the cdt-l. At one point, the conversation on the cdt-l changed from GPS way points to the best brewpubs on the CDT! I duly filled the margins.

I asked Reason, while we were brushing our teeth the other night, if he had read the Yogi guide. I'm a little worried that I've misunderstood or overlooked something.

"No, sweetie. I've done all the planning I need to do: I married you!"

No comments: