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What I learned hiking the CDT and in 20 years of backpacking.
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Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
What I learned hiking the CDT and in 20 years of backpacking. on 02/02/2011 19:56:27 MST Print View

Hey ya'll!

I've been writing a lot about my hike on the Continental Divide Trail. I was inspired to write because of comments from users of BackpackingLight, and from an opportunity to submit comments to Yogi's CDT Handbook. Since I spent a few hours on it, I'd love for people to read it! Really, Planning a Thruhike on the CDT has a lot of the "tips, tricks and techniques" that I've developed over decades of backpacking.

The above post on Outside 365 is 5700 words long. Most of it, isn't taken from the post Comparing the PCT and CDT.

I'm likely to edit and evolve these documents. They could definitely use an edit!


Hike on!
Jack "Found" Haskel

Edited by Found on 02/02/2011 20:01:37 MST.

Sid Riddle
(shiree) - F

Locale: Southeastern US
Gracias on 02/02/2011 20:03:13 MST Print View


Thanks for taking the time to do these things. I really liked the comparison write-up and have also enjoyed this one; and gathered lots from both.
The work you guys put in helps future thru-hikers, like myself, a great deal.


Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: What I learned hiking the CDT and in 20 years of backpacking. on 02/02/2011 20:11:19 MST Print View

Sure thing!

Jacob Linton
(gardenhead) - F

Locale: Western NC
Thanks on 02/02/2011 20:26:49 MST Print View

For sure, that's super helpful.
REALLY appreciate it.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: NoCo
Re: What I learned hiking the CDT and in 20 years of backpacking. on 02/02/2011 21:40:58 MST Print View

Very nice work. Some simple advice would be to cut out the prejudicial comments. "gun toting, fear mongering, racist, tea bagger types" doesn't help get the point across and comes across poorly when you should probably be trying to appeal to a broader spectrum.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Re: Re: What I learned hiking the CDT and in 20 years of backpacking. on 02/03/2011 00:31:49 MST Print View

" 'gun toting, fear mongering, racist, tea bagger types' doesn't help get the point across and comes across poorly...."

I concur. That one line really didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the writing. Especially since you acknowledge there may be something to this particular fear mongering just a handful of lines down when referring to a similar warning given to you by Hispanics.

Otherwise, I really enjoy reading your articles and look forward to more writing from you in the future.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: What I learned hiking the CDT and in 20 years of backpacking. on 02/03/2011 06:42:13 MST Print View

interesting read. the "teabagger etc" comments might as well be left included, you put in the sweat and it's your writing. so if that's the way you feel, and you are not representing any sponsorship, what's the big deal if you offend people. once they meet you, those same people will find you offensive regardless of what you wrote. it's just the way they are.
writing wise, while the content is fine, i might look at reworking the overuse of the word ( I ). things read kind of selfish that way, as it's hard to reach out and bring somebody else into your adventure when one consistently centers it upon themselves.
nice work. thanks.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: NoCo
Re: Re: What I learned hiking the CDT and in 20 years of backpacking. on 02/03/2011 07:44:24 MST Print View

See Peter, he asked for advice on editing because he wanted to evolve these documents. He has submitted parts to Yogi for the CDT book. When you are trying to appeal to a broad audience of all potential CDT hikers (and PCT), I would think it is a good idea to not put off any potential readers with language the readers might find offensive.

It isn't about HIS sweat and HIS writing. That is more the kind of thing one would include in his blog. Obviously it should go without saying that Jack can write up whatever he wants, but he asked for advice. I assumed it was to make it a better piece (maybe I was wrong and he just wanted a pat on the back but with so much work into these that didn't seem to be the case). The first thing I noticed was that part where his own feelings (prejudices?) got in the way of his writing.

That one sentence can offend people gun owners and tea party activists. Now I can imagine the type he might have run into, but these groups aren't necessarily related. And not all gun owning, CHL carrying, tea party activists are racist or fear mongering. Not to mention, as Mr. Dyer pointed out, it wasn't necessarily even racist or fear mongering since he got the same kind of warnings from hispanics also.

I'm not a gun toter (do own a couple I hunt with) or any kind of tea party person, but I found the comment a little off-putting myself.

And as to your comment about once they meet Jack and how they would find him offensive as well, well I don't believe that most readers will ever meet him. So that is a moot point.


Even with that it is a very interesting write-up (both this and your comparison piece).

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: NoCo
Re: Re: Re: What I learned hiking the CDT and in 20 years of backpacking. on 02/03/2011 08:02:16 MST Print View

I’m no writing expert.

1. It is really written like a blog entry. I know that is what it is, but if you want to improve it the sentences need to flow better.
2. Not sure on the order as you have it written. Maybe something like this?
a. You might start with mentioning the trail in general more. Mention the different options for hiking the CDT. Start with the various starting places (SOBO or NOBO) and go in that direction lightly mentioning the different options along the way.
b. Transportation. I suggest this second since you don’t know this for sure until you pick your start/destination.
c. Permits.
d. Navigation
e. Social aspect
f. Gear
g. resupply
h. Conditions
i. General comments
No those may not work since stuff overlaps, but some thoughts.

Really if you could just add more about the different options for actually hiking the trail it would be nice.

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
What I learned hiking the CDT and in 20 years of backpacking on 02/03/2011 08:49:15 MST Print View

Thanks for the great article. Keep posting too. I have been considering a north to south CDT trek and it seems more and more likely that I'll plan it for next year.
I've always been a map and compass user but had better start working on GPS. Having lived in Yellowstone for a season and I will concur that the permit system there is a bit of a mess. Having made reservations and been told that areas will be full, I just don't remember seeing that many hikers/campers. People must be reserving spots, changing plans and not cancelling. The area saw over 3 million visitors last year and that alone has to stain every system in the area. Old Faithful is very nice but overloaded with the drive-thru geyser watching crowd.
I'd better quit before I start blathering on and on. Best to hit the books and start making plans and lists.
Thanks again!

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: What I learned hiking the CDT and in 20 years of backpacking on 02/03/2011 09:02:06 MST Print View

Thanks for the comments everyone. The prejudicial comments were removed.

Hike on,

Jacob Linton
(gardenhead) - F

Locale: Western NC
for the record on 02/03/2011 16:33:08 MST Print View

It never crossed my mind that that would be taken offensively.
You were just describing the type of person, and that description probably fit well.
I think you should write whatever you think/feel/want on YOUR blog. Isn't that the whole point?

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
nice :) on 02/03/2011 17:28:39 MST Print View

I enjoyed the read very much- thanks.

If you're thinking about "evolving" your blog- I agree w/ Michael that it needs better organization. There are also several contrary statements that needed clarifying ie I found I didn't need as warm of clothing as I thought, my PCT selection would have sufficed- followed by my MB UL inner wasn't warm enough

I think if you're going to take the time to "evolve" it, it would probably be worth the effort to add more detail- I know as a future CDT person, the more detail the better

as a blog format it's definitely good as is, lot's of little gems in there that future CDT folks would gladly glean :)

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: nice :) on 02/03/2011 19:16:54 MST Print View

Sincere thanks for all of the comments!

I appreciate the feedback and I agree with the changes that everyone is suggesting. I find myself in a strange place. I like creating a resource, but am limited by the time that I can invest. So, right now, so much of it is "rough draft". Too many "I"s, yes. Disorganized, yes. Incomplete, yes. This specific post is a nightmare. It is more appropriate for the format of Yogi's Handbook, and could use some significant changes for my site.

And still, thanks for looking! It's cool to hear that people are interested in hiking the CDT. I hope you all do!


Rob Vandiver

Locale: So Cal
Great read. on 02/04/2011 23:25:18 MST Print View

As a gun toting, God-fearing, anti-racist, tea-party type, I can say I was not offended at all. As a matter of fact, I think it's pretty great that we live in a country where we can all say whatever we want freely. I don't speak for all mouth breathing red-necks, though, just myself.
The other great thing about our activity, is if I ever met you on the trail, Jack, I bet we would get along just fine. I found your vids, write ups, and blogs truly inspirational.
Keep it up!