Best article seen by experts on hiking books in the canadian Rockies:
As a contributor to that article, let me say thank you!
I have a 1978 version of Patton & Robinson's book. This may be a dumb question, but would the trails have changed much since then? Would much of the trail info still be useful?
Wow, what a great resource! Mark, Country_Wife, Banff, and all the others who contributed to that page - thank you so much!
Greg, I'm still using a 1990 version of the Patton & Robinson guide. I don't want to update because I've put so many notes in the margins of the pages of my favourite trails, and I don't want to lose all that info! I own a bunch of other guidebooks too, but that one is definitely my hiking "bible".
There have been some changes with some trails - occasionally trails get re-routed slightly to higher ground to avoid wet areas, or to even out the grade etc., but I wouldn't worry too much about it - things don't change *that* much. Sometimes backcountry campgrounds get moved slightly too. Last summer, I hiked a few trails at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake after not hiking there since 1981 (I spent the summers of '79, '80 and '81 in Lake Louise, so knew those trails well), and while I did notice a few places where the trail had been re-routed slightly, most of the changes were along the lines of the trails being widened, better drainage, brush trimmed back to open up visibility etc.
Another of the changes that you might notice... in the older editions of the guide, there are notations about some trails (like the Tangle Creek end of Wilcox Pass, for instance) that say something like "continuing on after the pass, the trail becomes indistinct...". Well, that may have been the case back then, but now, after years of increasing hiker traffic, it's a well-beaten track (several tracks, actually). Speaking of the Wilcox Pass trail, a new addition (last year, I believe) is a boardwalk and stairs section to get around a steep, rooty area that was getting badly eroded.... of course, because this is so new, none of the editions of Patton and Robinson's guide would have this info yet.
The original editions of the guide were written before GPS technology, and the distances were measured manually. So there may have been corrections made in subsequent editions where errors may have been made, and in more recent editions, I'm sure distances were measured by GPS.
I often wonder how old some of the trails are... when I'm at Wilcox Pass, for instance, which was the historical route past the Athabasca Glacier, I always wonder "Am I walking in the actual footsteps of Walter Wilcox and other early visitors?" (not to mention the aboriginal peoples who travelled through the area for eons before European and American explorers "discovered" and explored it; or, like last week, when I was hiking on the trail to Maligne Pass... some sections of the trail are a horse trail about eighteen inches deep (and ten inches wide, ugh!), and it makes me wonder.... is this the exact same trail that Mary Shaeffer's horse used??
As always, it's a good idea to check with the Parks Canada trail office about current conditions and wildlife sightings before heading out on the trail.
krp329 - Thanks so much for the detailed response!
We're really looking forward to our September trip. The book was "new" on our last trip, so it's been some time since we returned to the area. Can't wait.
I'd by yourself a new book - think of it as a great souvenir and something to sit beside the toilet and get you inspired for a return visit!! For a visitor, some of the Altitude books are a great souvenir with beautiful photos, interesting facts about flora and fauna as well as some great ideas for hikes. And yes, great article! Thank-you.
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