Is the CDT a good route for good scenery etc.? Or would we be missing the good stuff?
>> Given your length requirements and the relative ease of the logistics you propose, I can't think of a better option.
Can we anticipate daily mileages comparable to the JMT?
>> Yes, if not a bit higher. The altitude is lower and the trails are on the whole a bit less rugged up high.
Will getting a permit for this route be well-nigh impossible? Are there strategies anyone can suggest, for picking camps or a schedule that will optimize our chances?
>> It will be a tough ask, as you're proposing a trip during the busiest week of the year. The best thing you could do to up your chances is go a bit later; late August through early September. Otherwise, being a bit flexible with dates and just asking for a route and letting the NPS pick camps will increase your odds. In the end it comes down to where you are in the shuffle.
Does anyone have suggestions for better plans?
>> A second option to help your permit odds would involved leaving a car in East, take the train to West, hike the 2 miles to Apgar, take the shuttle to the Loop or Logan, and start your trip there. You could hike over Swiftcurrent, take the Highline north and go over Stoney Indian, etc before swinging back south. The Bob would provide many options for a good loop with no permit hassle, but even at its best the mountain scenery is not of the same caliber.