Monday, June 13, 2016

Mapping Our Adventure

Our first go-to-tool when we're planning a trip is a map.  A new adventure's enjoyment and inspiration begins with a map spread out on the table in front of us.  We stare at it, plotting our course, and reveling in the options.  Just like Brad is doing below…

Looking at a globe or Google Earth can take one on a magnificant adventure as well.  So it's with shear joy that I vicariously share Brad and Yessi's summer mapping adventures.  This year, as well as last, they are mapping in the Wallowa Mountains in Eastern Oregon.  But they've also mapped in the Olympics and Cascades in Washington and Big Sur in California.

It's a summer working vacation for them.   They hike for Green Trails Maps, confirming trail accuracy by noting amenities like restrooms, water availability and camping sites, as well as  tracking trail problems.  Floods, wildfires, wind-fall or even too little trail maintenance can alter a trail's course or make it no longer viable.  

Green Trails has this to say on their website:
"Get ready for some epic backpacking!  Our GPS crews are on the trails getting the very latest data and trail conditions for our new map of one of the seven wonders of Oregon."

Yessi & Brad, Green Trails Maps GPS crew

This past spring when we were in Idaho traveling on 209 North we were forced to turn around on a road closed by wind-fall.  As we backtracked Yessi and Brad's trail verification work came to mind.  Clearly the 2015 Idaho map we had recently purchased from Delorme Atlas and Gazatteer had not been checked for accuracy.  A fact that could have been quickly accomplished with a single phone call.  And given the road had been out of commission for a number of years, it was an inexcusable mistake.  This is, after all, why we turn to maps for route finding and why Green Trails Maps is so dedicated to checking their maps for accuracy.

Speaking of maps, a friend just brought to my attention a site called   The usual mapping apps define the best route as the shortest or fastest but this site puts those criteria aside and goes for scenic.  Windows, BlackBerry, i-phones and Androids are all able to use this free service.  Just enter a zip code or city and state and up pop scenic roads.   This is the data I got  for Whidbey Island.   You can also find hundreds of hiking trails.  The site looks promising and no doubt will become part of our planning repertoire. 

There is also a free travel app to make your travels more educational called History Here.  I have not tried it yet but intend to do so soon.   It is offered by the History Channel, alerting you via your i-phone or Android, about nearby places of interest.   Or a couple of not-for-free apps to try are Roadside America, featuring off-beat tourist attractions or Roadside Presidents, providing birthplaces, grave locations and other related data or points of interest about U.S. presidents.

And a map for seeing where we've been is fun too.  This map is on the back cabinet doors in Thistle.  The red dots mark where we've traveled in the U.S. the past couple of years.


"Anytime I feel lost, I pull out a map and stare.  I stare until I have reminded myself that life is a giant adventure, so much to do, to see."

~Angelina Jolie

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