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Re: [John Muir Trail] Which guidebooks and maps

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  • John Ladd
    I prefer the Tom Harrison maps to carry, along with the datapoint listings that you can find in our files area (various formats).
    Message 1 of 24 , 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
    415-648-9279


    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".


  • John Ladd
    PS: To see the attachment (Postholer map sample half-page) at full resolution, be sure to set the View size to Original . View options are in the lower left
    Message 2 of 24 , Jan 20, 2013
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      PS: To see the attachment (Postholer map sample half-page) at full resolution, be sure to set the View size to "Original". View options are in the lower left corner of the Yahoo Groups display of the attachment.

      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
      415-648-9279


      On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 10:12 AM, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
       
      I prefer the Tom Harrison maps to carry...
      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).

    • alanjrich007
      I would recommend the Tom Harrison maps for the trail, and Wenk s book for planning. This is what I used last year, and it worked well. The maps don t weigh
      Message 3 of 24 , Jan 20, 2013
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        I would recommend the Tom Harrison maps for the trail, and Wenk's book
        for planning. This is what I used last year, and it worked well. The
        maps don't weigh that much, for me it's easy to justify. The guide is
        great, but not necessary.

        Alan

        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" 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".
        >
      • scriv.ener
        You can t miss the trail, so it s not like you need GPS and 7.5 maps. The Harrison maps are good, they re what I carried (and never consulted). What I found
        Message 4 of 24 , Jan 20, 2013
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          You can't miss the trail, so it's not like you need GPS and 7.5' maps. The Harrison maps are good, they're what I carried (and never consulted). What I found I wanted was descriptions of what I was seeing, and what was nearby. I also took Starr's original guide, it lists the laterals, but beyond that wasn't very informative. Find a guidebook which lists the vistas, the history, the geology, and the culture so you get the really big picture.

          For instance, last summer I did an oft-off-trail loop out of Kings Canyon which also included some JMT footage (and one gentleman there introduced me to this group). Only when ploughing through all that material I could find did I learn details of the 1938 Golden Staircase re-routing, the old trail up Cartridge Creek, and where that name came from. Sure, a guidebook will say, "Turn left at Palisade Creek," but that's b-o-r-i-n-g albeit technically accurate. Yeah? What if I don't turn left? And who was that guy LaConte through whose canyon I just passed? Did I know that one of Ansel Adams' earliest Sierra vistas was taken just off South Fork of Cartridge Creek (and for a bank, no less, if I recall correctly)? Where did those girl's names come from for the lakes on each side of Muir Hut, which I just passed? A good guidebook should fill you in on that, and more.

          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" wrote:
          >
          > I am unsure what I should buy. ...
          >
          > What have you guys used. ...
          >
        • John
          Now that is some great advice. Forget the guidebook that tells you what s around every corner and holds your hand over every pass, save that for your own
          Message 5 of 24 , Jan 20, 2013
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            Now that is some great advice. Forget the guidebook that tells you what's around every corner and holds your hand over every pass, save that for your own discovery. As for the picture book, get that after you're done ;-) (although it does have a nice history section). But to familiarize yourself with the cultural and natural history before, or as, you go, now that's the JMT! Kudos to you scriv.ener.

            I prefer to carry the bigger maps so I know what's out there and how to get out if need be.

            JD
            Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail


            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "scriv.ener" wrote:
            >
            > You can't miss the trail, so it's not like you need GPS and 7.5' maps. The Harrison maps are good, they're what I carried (and never consulted). What I found I wanted was descriptions of what I was seeing, and what was nearby. I also took Starr's original guide, it lists the laterals, but beyond that wasn't very informative. Find a guidebook which lists the vistas, the history, the geology, and the culture so you get the really big picture.
            >
            > For instance, last summer I did an oft-off-trail loop out of Kings Canyon which also included some JMT footage (and one gentleman there introduced me to this group). Only when ploughing through all that material I could find did I learn details of the 1938 Golden Staircase re-routing, the old trail up Cartridge Creek, and where that name came from. Sure, a guidebook will say, "Turn left at Palisade Creek," but that's b-o-r-i-n-g albeit technically accurate. Yeah? What if I don't turn left? And who was that guy LaConte through whose canyon I just passed? Did I know that one of Ansel Adams' earliest Sierra vistas was taken just off South Fork of Cartridge Creek (and for a bank, no less, if I recall correctly)? Where did those girl's names come from for the lakes on each side of Muir Hut, which I just passed? A good guidebook should fill you in on that, and more.
            >
            > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" wrote:
            > >
            > > I am unsure what I should buy. ...
            > >
            > > What have you guys used. ...
            > >
            >
          • rnagarajan
            I have the Wenk guidebook as well as Alan Castle s book. Both seem like good guides although I haven t actually hiked the trail yet using them. I have the
            Message 6 of 24 , Jan 20, 2013
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              I have the Wenk guidebook as well as Alan Castle's book. Both seem like good guides although I haven't actually hiked the trail yet using them. I have the Harrison map pack which seems to have lots of detail. I plan on bringing the maps on the trip but the books won't be in my pack. I may copy the campground listing from the Wenk book for reference.

              While counting the months until the hike, I highly recommend Walk The Sky for inspiration.


              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" 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".
              >
            • staehpj1
              Thanks, to all who responded. I think I will most likely use the Post Holer map set plus their 1:100 maps from the overview set for the sections where I am
              Message 7 of 24 , Jan 21, 2013
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                Thanks, to all who responded. I think I will most likely use the Post Holer map set plus their 1:100 maps from the overview set for the sections where I am might want/need to hike out.

                I might or might not buy one or more of the guide books, mostly for planning and entertainment before the trip. I might also buy the fly fishing guide, since I plan to take my tenkara rod (I am excited that I now have a fly fishing outfit that weighs between 4 and 6 ounces depending on what options I choose to take). I probably won't carry any of the guide books, but might hand mark some notations from them on the maps.
              • John Ladd
                ... The same information is in our files area in various formats (with permission of the publisher)
                Message 8 of 24 , Jan 21, 2013
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                  On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 8:04 PM, rnagarajan <ravi@...> wrote:
                  I may copy the campground listing from the Wenk book for reference.

                  The same information is in our files area in various formats (with permission of the publisher)

                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/files/Planning%20and%20Transportation/_Wilderness%20Press%20and%20Blackwood%20Press%20Data%20Points/

                  If you are accustomed to working with spreadsheets, you can use the Excel version and choose exactly how you want it sorted and printed. Or use one of the word processing or PDF versions to keep it simple

                  This is a direct link to the Word version, southbound


                  It reduces all the campsite (etc) locations to 2 sheets of papers, printed double-sided.

                  Or see the PDF version


                  John Curran Ladd
                  1616 Castro Street
                  San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                  415-648-9279
                • Don Amundson
                  I carry reduced copies of the Tom Harrison maps. I write daily journal entries on the back of the pages so as long as I m going to carry some pater I might as
                  Message 9 of 24 , Jan 21, 2013
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                    I carry reduced copies of the Tom Harrison maps.  I write daily journal entries on the back of the pages so as long as I'm going to carry some pater I might as well make it serve two purposesDo I need the maps?  Occasionally, when the the age/memory condundrum kicks in and just because I think it advisable to carry some sort of map in case the shit hits the fan and you need an alternative to the plan you worked on a year before your adventure.
                    The Wenk book (written with Kathy Morey--who never seems to get credit) is useful for planning and you might want to copy some pages out of it if your interested in flora, section descriptions, campsite locations etc. but its not necessary. The campsite locations listed are just some of the most obvious and probably the most used sites.  Finding a campsite isn't hard on the JMT.  Just walk off the trail a bit and you'll find one. If you're lucky you'll get some cheap entertainment watching someone with a GPS in hand trying to find a listed campsite while walking through the middle of an unlisted site.

                    Hi Tom/Photofall/MrClean   You'll be happy to hear the size of my Harrison Map copies has increased since 2009!
                     





                     
                    --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" 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".
                    >
                    Erik the Black's Atlas. Plus a couple cutouts from the Harrison maps to get me over New Army Pass if Whitney/Trail Crest is socked in. Photofall/MrClean


                  • staehpj1
                    After looking at them, the 1:100 overview maps aren t all that legible for details, so I may consider an alternate solution for escape routes. That or I may
                    Message 10 of 24 , Jan 21, 2013
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                      After looking at them, the 1:100 overview maps aren't all that legible for details, so I may consider an alternate solution for escape routes. That or I may just skip them. The rest of the postholer maps look good though.

                      The "Compressed Data Points Headed South" (Wenk) look pretty good and are pretty minimal in size. I'll probably use them.

                      Thanks to all for the info.
                    • Ron Cordell
                      The Wenk book is available on Kindle and there is a JMT map iPhone app based on the TH maps. If you are carrying an iPhone then this could be a
                      Message 11 of 24 , Jan 21, 2013
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                        The Wenk book is available on Kindle and there is a JMT map iPhone app based on the TH maps. If you are carrying an iPhone then this could be a no-additional-weight option.
                      • Wilderness
                        Book: I enjoyed referencing the Wenk/Morey book because of the biological knowledge. It s a good read, even if you don t carry sections with you. Maps: For
                        Message 12 of 24 , Jan 21, 2013
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                          Book: I enjoyed referencing the Wenk/Morey book because of the biological knowledge. It's a good read, even if you don't carry sections with you.
                          Maps: For most of the JMT, you might wish to consider Halfmile's Pacific Crest Trail Maps and GPS Information. It's great stuff. You can use the waypoints in your gps, and/or print the maps and mail them in segments to yourself (at resupply). I color copy them on rite-in-the-rain waterproof paper - just make a file of the maps you need and go down to your friendly copy place and have them double-sided color copy the maps onto 8511 paper (link below).

                          http://www.pctmap.net/download/index.html

                          Paper here (small quantities may be available at your local REI):

                          Rite in the Rain WaterProof Paper 8511 All Weather Copier Paper

                          http://www.riteintherain.com/inventoryD.asp?item_no=8511

                          Enjoy the hike! Rob of the WV

                          http://wildernessvagabond.com/john-muir-trail-2010/john-muir-trail-2010.htm

                          https://www.facebook.com/WildernessVagabond

                          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" wrote:
                          >
                          > After looking at them, the 1:100 overview maps aren't all that legible for details, so I may consider an alternate solution for escape routes. That or I may just skip them. The rest of the postholer maps look good though.
                          >
                          > The "Compressed Data Points Headed South" (Wenk) look pretty good and are pretty minimal in size. I'll probably use them.
                          >
                          > Thanks to all for the info.
                          >
                        • Sierracanon
                          I used the Harrison maps and the Wenk/Morey book. Took the maps with me, but not the book. I did make some written notes on the maps from the book, indicating
                          Message 13 of 24 , Jan 21, 2013
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                            I used the Harrison maps and the Wenk/Morey book. Took the maps with me, but not the book. I did make some written notes on the maps from the book, indicating where recommended campsite might be, and that sort of thing. I also took the little Pocket Profile map, which was always good for a quick look.

                            One thing I noticed... the mileages between the book and maps don't always mesh. For instance, the TH maps show the section between the Goddard junction and Muir Pass as 15.3 miles. The chart in the book says 13.8 miles. And the pocket profile says 16.3. That's always bugged me a little.
                          • Larry Beck
                            That s the section where my information fell apart too.. but Erik the Black s John Muir Trail Atlas has it correct. ________________________________ From:
                            Message 14 of 24 , Jan 21, 2013
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                              That's the section where my information fell apart too.. but Erik the Black's John Muir Trail Atlas has it correct.




                              From: Sierracanon <dlink_95670@...>
                              To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Mon, January 21, 2013 3:14:19 PM
                              Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Which guidebooks and maps

                               

                              I used the Harrison maps and the Wenk/Morey book. Took the maps with me, but not the book. I did make some written notes on the maps from the book, indicating where recommended campsite might be, and that sort of thing. I also took the little Pocket Profile map, which was always good for a quick look.

                              One thing I noticed... the mileages between the book and maps don't always mesh. For instance, the TH maps show the section between the Goddard junction and Muir Pass as 15.3 miles. The chart in the book says 13.8 miles. And the pocket profile says 16.3. That's always bugged me a little.

                            • Joe MacLeish
                              Try the Starr s guide for a 4th opinion and there are always the trail signs which are inevitably operating in an almost parallel space time continuum. Joe
                              Message 15 of 24 , Jan 21, 2013
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                                Try the Starr’s guide for a 4th opinion and there are always the trail signs which are inevitably operating in an almost parallel space time continuum.

                                Joe

                                 

                                From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sierracanon
                                Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 3:14 PM
                                To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Which guidebooks and maps

                                 

                                 

                                I used the Harrison maps and the Wenk/Morey book. Took the maps with me, but not the book. I did make some written notes on the maps from the book, indicating where recommended campsite might be, and that sort of thing. I also took the little Pocket Profile map, which was always good for a quick look.

                                One thing I noticed... the mileages between the book and maps don't always mesh. For instance, the TH maps show the section between the Goddard junction and Muir Pass as 15.3 miles. The chart in the book says 13.8 miles. And the pocket profile says 16.3. That's always bugged me a little.

                              • sturgisvanhalen
                                I used Erik the Black s little map book and never even looked at the Harrison maps that I also brought along. Each map page includes a profile of that section
                                Message 16 of 24 , Jan 21, 2013
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                                  I used Erik the Black's little map book and never even looked at the Harrison maps that I also brought along. Each map page includes a profile of that section and I found that most useful for planning my days. It also marks all the reliable places to get water which enables you to lighten your water load when you know what's ahead.
                                • Dale Stuart
                                  While Eric s books are very good, they show a very good detailed narrow field of view along the trail. Because of the narrow field of view, if a side trail
                                  Message 17 of 24 , Jan 21, 2013
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                                    While Eric's books are very good, they show a very good detailed narrow field of view along the trail. Because of the narrow field of view, if a side trail exit is required Eric's maps may not show that. So maybe the TH maps as back up plan would be beneficial.
                                     
                                    Dale

                                    From: sturgisvanhalen <sturgisvanhalen@...>
                                    To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                                    Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 4:07 PM
                                    Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Which guidebooks and maps

                                     
                                    I used Erik the Black's little map book and never even looked at the Harrison maps that I also brought along. Each map page includes a profile of that section and I found that most useful for planning my days. It also marks all the reliable places to get water which enables you to lighten your water load when you know what's ahead.



                                  • Roleigh Martin
                                    I agree with this comment. If you are a group diversify and one brings the one and the other the other. One year rangers steered JMT hikers on a detour due to
                                    Message 18 of 24 , Jan 22, 2013
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                                      I agree with this comment. If you are a group diversify and one brings the one and the other the other. One year rangers steered JMT hikers on a detour due to severe lightning almost killing A work crew. Having both maps we could see the detour route. It made our JMT hike 3 miles longer and quite interesting that year. I posted full details on it in 2010. Can not do it on my IPhone so easily. 

                                      Sent from my iPhone
                                      See my Google Profile for interesting research links:
                                      http://tinyurl.com/3vnolh8

                                      On Jan 21, 2013, at 7:08 PM, Dale Stuart <onetwolaugh@...> wrote:

                                       

                                      While Eric's books are very good, they show a very good detailed narrow field of view along the trail. Because of the narrow field of view, if a side trail exit is required Eric's maps may not show that. So maybe the TH maps as back up plan would be beneficial.
                                       
                                      Dale

                                      From: sturgisvanhalen <sturgisvanhalen@...>
                                      To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                                      Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 4:07 PM
                                      Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Which guidebooks and maps

                                       
                                      I used Erik the Black's little map book and never even looked at the Harrison maps that I also brought along. Each map page includes a profile of that section and I found that most useful for planning my days. It also marks all the reliable places to get water which enables you to lighten your water load when you know what's ahead.



                                    • rnagarajan
                                      I have used the Tom Harrison Mammoth High Country map which shows more detail on side trails in the Mammoth area. The TH Mono Divide map shows the region to
                                      Message 19 of 24 , Jan 22, 2013
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                                        I have used the Tom Harrison Mammoth High Country map which shows more detail on side trails in the Mammoth area. The TH Mono Divide map shows the region to the south and I believe there are additional maps for the Kings Canyon and Whitney high country areas. I'm thinking of buying these maps for reference use/bail out planning.

                                        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Dale Stuart wrote:
                                        >
                                        > While Eric's books are very good, they show a very good detailed narrow field of view along the trail. Because of the narrow field of view, if a side trail exit is required Eric's maps may not show that. So maybe the TH maps as back up plan would be beneficial.
                                        >  
                                        > Dale
                                        >
                                        >
                                      • Dave Pex
                                        My take on the various guidebooks/maps Harrison Maps- good collection, I carry the sections I m passing through til resupply at VVR, where I swap out sections.
                                        Message 20 of 24 , Jan 22, 2013
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                                          My take on the various guidebooks/maps

                                          Harrison Maps- good collection, I carry the sections I'm passing through til resupply at VVR, where I swap out sections.

                                          Wenk- I cut out the NOBO/SOBO section (I've done both, so now virtually the entire book is loose-leaf! Carry the sections I'm passing through til resupply, and swap out there.

                                          Yes, there are digital versions, but electronics can fail, always good to have hardcopy backup (and a real compass!)

                                          I found Alan Castle's book an interesting read, more a extended hiking log than a trail guide.

                                          Starr's book is interesting from a historic perspective, provides minimal information on virtually every trail in the Sierras (he hiked a lot for someone who died in his mid-20s!)

                                          Erik the Black's John Muir Trail Atlas is nice, but unnecessary. Also, the maps cover just the strip of the JMT, with no context for your surroundings.

                                          Halfmile's PCT maps, JMT sections: I carry these digitally to give me some context beyond Harrison. Not necessary, nice to have.

                                          Great book on geology: Mount Whitney to Yosemite: the Geology of the John Muir Trail by James Wise. Comprehensive guide to the geology, read before/after trip, too heavy to carry with you!

                                          And of course, Walk the Sky is simply the best pictorial on the JMT available, great for prior to the trail, and even better afterwards for reliving the hike! John printed me a panoramic shot looking north of Selden Pass to Marie Lake. Last year I camped on the pennisula in the middle of the lake, so now when I look at the photo, I can see where I camped. Very cool!

                                          Dave

                                          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" wrote:
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > Thanks, to all who responded. I think I will most likely use the Post Holer map set plus their 1:100 maps from the overview set for the sections where I am might want/need to hike out.
                                          >
                                          > I might or might not buy one or more of the guide books, mostly for planning and entertainment before the trip. I might also buy the fly fishing guide, since I plan to take my tenkara rod (I am excited that I now have a fly fishing outfit that weighs between 4 and 6 ounces depending on what options I choose to take). I probably won't carry any of the guide books, but might hand mark some notations from them on the maps.
                                          >
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