If you want to know where you are going on the trail, get yourself a map. Digital or paper map? Both, for sure!
The Avon Trail Guide Edition 8.0 proved to be an invaluable tool that helped my wife Cindy and I complete an End-to-End Avon Trail hike this spring. Sure, the ONDAGO Avon Trail App runs on your phone. Yes, the app shows you where you are on the trail. But, when it comes to the nitty, gritty details of hike planning, where to begin, where to end and what you will see on your hike, the coloured, individual paper maps that make up the Trail Guide are the Real Deal. I used both, but started and ended each walk with the paper guide.
The Trail Guide  divides the 121 km trail into six separate, 8 1/2 x 14-inch glossy coloured maps. They are pre-folded and fit in a handy plastic cover. I may be old school, but I think the paper maps have unique functions that complement the digital  app. As well, the Avon Trail Guide  contains a Stratford Side Trail map.
Why is a paper Trail guide  needed if you have the ONDAGO Avon Trail App on your phone? First, the guide maps are large and in colour. Like other hiking maps, contour lines show elevation, and the road names identifiable. Red ink demarks the trail and clearly defined Km markers circled in red. Each of the maps list Parking locations, and importantly, where you definitely should not park ( No Parking marker locations). On the backside of each map is a detailed description of what you will see when hiking each km marker section, what direction and how the path turns, climbing over a stile to enter a field, or traversing some steep hills before reaching a small creek, for example. I relive the pleasures of my walk by reading through these descriptions. Digital latitude and longitude GPS coordinates for each km section are listed. Type these numbers, precisely as punctuated, into your Google Maps direction field, and Google Maps will zoom to the location of the trail access point.
You can purchase an Avon Trail Guide Edition 8.0 on the Avon Trail website at Store for $20. Avon Trail members can buy for the member price of $15, Other locations to purchase are  St. Mary’s Tourist Office, at Stratford Tourist Office or Fanfare Books in Stratford. In Kitchener/Waterloo, at Adventure Guide Inc.(The Boardwalk).

Tom Kimber, Newsletter Editor