Appalachian Pages is now WhiteBlaze Pages



My apologies to those hikers that wanted “WhiteBlaze Pages” to retain the page formatting and layout that was used in “Appalachian Pages”. I would have continued with the existing presentation layout, but several factors made it necessary to adopt a new format. 


I will describe in detail what was done, so that you have the opportunity to see why I incorporated these changes. 


I could have kept the same layout as I had in my old guidebook, “Appalachian Pages”, but there were many flaws with the old layout format that limited amount of data, description size, and other presentation issues, in the publication. 


The major reason was the amount of data that needed to be presented to make the guidebook a useful hiking tool. A large amount of data would not fit it on all the pages with the profiles, using the old format.  I was forced to pick, and choose what data to include. This meant I had to omit a lot of useful data from the book.


Let me elaborate a little more.


Including data with the profiles, 

(a short lesson in formatting a book for publication):


The profiles on the pages were in 25-mile increments. You would think that it is possible to put 25 miles worth of data in that amount of space. The answer is yes, and no.


Let's do the math: The profiles took up 7 inches of the page. A typical data entry takes up 1/8 inch of space on each page. That allows room for 56 entries. You have to remove ½ inch, on both sides, and top and bottom, for page borders, which would have you losing eight ⅛ inch lines, leaving room for only 48 entries. That would give you room for almost an entry every 1/2 mile on the 25-mile profile. 


You are probably thinking “that sounds like a lot of room” with the 48 entries.


However, you have to consider the mileage increments, the length of each entry, and that you need to line the data entry up with where it belongs on the profile.


If the entries were short one line entries, and in ½-mile increments, that would be fine. However, if the entry requires more information than one line, then it will take up space from the next ½-mile entry. If there is another entry in the next ½ mile, I would have to remove one of the two entries, usually the one that did not seem as important. I hated doing this.


You also have to consider the mileage increment level that you are allowed for entries, and the problem of aligning the entries up in relation to their location on the profile. If the profiles increments are in ½-mile increments, what happens when you have a spot where you need to list entries that are less than ½-mile apart from each other? You cannot include those entries because there is not enough space. In many cases, there is data to put in the book that are 0.1-mile, 0.2-mile, 0.3-mile, or 0.4-mile apart from each other. Do the math and see that there is insufficient space to do this and still be able to align the data entry it with the proper location on the profile.


These are two cases when you have to decide what you think is more important, and omit a lot of other data out of the guidebook that hikers may have found useful.


Let me show you an example of what I am referring to, comparing the old “Appalachian Pages”, and other guidebooks layouts, to my current “WhiteBlaze Pages” guidebook layout that is a superior format to present complete, detailed, and important hiking data.


Here is my current new format listing from mile 0.0 to 2.8:


0.0       Springer Mountain, rock overlook at summit.

0.2       (0.2E) Springer Mountain Shelter

0.3       Junction with Benton MacKaye to the east

1.0       Cross USFS 42, Big Stamp Gap.

1.3       Junction with Benton MacKaye Trail.

1.6       Cross Davis Creek and small tributary.

1.9       Rich Mountain ridge crest. Benton MacKaye trail junction east.

2.6       Cross Stover Creek.

2.8       (0.1E) 2.6 Stover Creek Shelter


Here is the old format listing that would have displayed/fit from mile 0.0 to 2.8:


0.0       Springer Mountain, rock overlook at summit.

0.2       (0.2E) Springer Mountain Shelter

1.0       Cross USFS 42, Big Stamp Gap.

2.6       Cross Stover Creek.

2.8       (0.1E) 2.6 Stover Creek Shelter


As you can see in the lower example, above, four entries had to be omitted from the guidebook using the old format because they would not fit inside a 3.0-mile section when trying to align them and display to their corresponding location on the profile. 


The new format allowed more entries for that 3.0-mile section. My current guidebook layout allows me to list an entry for every 0.1-mile along the entire length of the AT, if necessary. That could never be accomplished using the older format, or in any other guidebooks copying my older format.


This is where my “WhiteBlaze Pages” guidebook stands apart from other Appalachian Trail guide books. There is considerably more hiking data. Nothing has been omitted, and If there is something related to hiking the Appalachian Trail to include every 0.1 mile on the trail, It is in my book. 


My page count may be more with the new format, but the use of thinner, lighter, durable, water-resistant paper has allowed me to publish a guidebook that is lighter that my previous publications.




I also adjusted the position of the profiles so that more data, and informational icons, can be on the profile image. I can fit more useful data on a 2.5 inch  x 5 inch profile, that does not need to take up the entire usable width of a 7-inch page.


Examining my first 30-mile profile shows that 50 items of useful data and informational icons are displayed. Compare my profile format to the other guidebooks using the older layout format that allow only  29 items of data on a profile. You get more useful hiking data using my improved profile.


Town Maps:


Another issue I had with my old format was the displaying of town maps. I could never get them to flow with the data and profiles pages. The reader always had to jump three or four pages ahead to look at a town map. That really got old, and should not have been necessary. The town map should have been placed adjacent to the trail crossing data in the guidebook.


Copying and scanning pages:


Guidebook users could not copy, or scan the pages, because the profiles were formatted as a watermark, and the data overlapped the profile pages. This will not be an issue now when copying pages of the guidebook.


New Layout:


Let me explain the new profile layout and my reasoning for adopting it:


Unlike the old profile format of 45 degrees, the profile listings are set at a 90-degree angle to the ridgeline. This allows the reader to look at the data without having to rotate the page back-and-forth, 45-degrees, to read the profile, and the data on the profile. 


The profiles are presented in 30-mile increments. The data for each mileage point follows, and is aligned in proper order, to the profile. This allowed me to fit all the data and descriptions on the same page, a vast improvement over the older format.



There are numerous reasons why I abandoned the old layout style. The above-mentioned examples should demonstrate the superior display qualities and useful applications of Appalachian Trail data included in the new guide book arrangement.