Tuesday 6 August 2019

Planning: I still prefer maps and guidebooks

I'm well into planning my walk in the Colorado Rockies - which basically means finding out where there are resupply points, deciding what gear to take, and gazing at maps wondering about possible summits and variations to interesting sounding places.

I don't do detailed planning. I don't plan on a set mileage each day or where I'll camp each evening. As long as I know how far it is to the next supply point and how much food I need to get there I'm happy. As an average I reckon on 15 miles per day, as that's what it's been on just about every long distance walk for the last forty years, though I did end up doing more than that on the GR5 last autumn and the TGO Challenge this May. That's an average though. I may do 5 miles one day, 25 the next, depending on how I feel.

For me planning is a mix of practicalities and daydreams. I prefer the latter! Just looking at maps and flipping through guidebooks gets me excited about a walk. I love spreading maps out on the floor and tracing routes across them. That's one reason I still prefer physical maps to digitial ones. I also like them on the walk too because I can use them to see what's around me. Yes, you can scroll on a screen but you can't see the overall picture.

I do like digital maps and guides for navigation and information during the walk and I have the Guthook CDT guide and The Continental Divide Trail Coalition Map Set on my phone. I'm sure I'll refer to them frequently but it'll be the printed maps that I spread out on summits and passes to see what's around me. I wouldn't be without them.

1 comment:

  1. I agree Chris, and I'm so glad you think this. When I first felt the weight of my maps for my crossing of the Pyrenees I thought "Crikey!". But I've owned those maps for years, and whilst I'm currently doing my second crossing of the Pyrenees, I love spreading out these maps and seeing notes written on them, guidebooks with notes about peoples contact details etc.. Even how an old guidebook automatically flops open at a section of the walk that obviously required thought at the time! All jog the memory. Technology comes and goes, but there's always space on my bookshelf for old guidebooks. In fact, before I read your post I'd decided to post home my Kindle (guidebook downloaded) as I just prefer my physical book. Books will never become obsolete. As Ray Jardine said "Technology will always let you down". So now in the Pyrenees I've got my maps, guidebook, compass and hopefully enough experience to see me through. I really enjoyed my your post Chris - thank you. And enjoy your Colorado journey.