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26630Re: [John Muir Trail] Which guidebooks and maps

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  • John Ladd
    Jan 20, 2013
    I prefer the Tom Harrison maps to carry, along with the datapoint listings that you can find in our files area (various formats). 

    These two would be all you would really need on the trail. You can get by with less, but you'd have to be very weight-obsessed to find the cost of the minimal weight of these items exceed the benefits of the information they provide.  An altimeter will make the datapoints more useful (datapoints give you the altitude and mileage of each significant pass, trail junction, stream crossing, campsite, etc).

    I love the Elizabeth Wenk book, but I think it's a luxury item, and I wouldn't carry it. It's good for pre-trip planning purposes. I supposed that if I was carrying electronics, I'd see if I could load her book onto something I was already bringing.

    Erik the Black's Atlas is an interesting format, but I find the printing of his maps is muddy compared to the Tom Harrison maps and the maps are hard to read when you need detail. (For example, the printing of contour lines make it hard to find elevations.) Also, they have minimal coverage beyond the trail itself, so they may not be useful for sidetrips or for bail-out routes.

    Rather than the TH maps, you could consider the free downloadable Postholer maps if you have access to a good printer. You won't get quite the printing clarity of the Tom Harrison map set, and the carried weight is heavier (47 pages rather than 7), but the you get much finer detail (1 mile = 3+ inches vs. 1 mile = ~1 inch) and format is useful as  mileage/elevation waypoints are marked every half-mile (see attached copy of a random half-page from the set).

    I think you have to register at Postholer to access the maps, but registration is free

    John Curran Ladd
    1616 Castro Street
    San Francisco, CA  94114-3707

    On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 7:41 AM, staehpj1 <Pete.Staehling@...> wrote:

    I am unsure what I should buy. Often I go kind of minimal in this regard if the trail is well marked. I see the Elizabeth Wenk book (John Muir Trail: The essential guide to hiking America's most famous trail) and the Tom Harrison maps (John Muir Trail Map-Pack: Shaded Relief Topo Maps) on Amazon.

    What have you guys used. I am curious what is "necessary" and what is "nice to have".

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