Buy Maps To See Where You're Going Not Find Out Where You've Been

Buy Maps To See Where You’re Going Not Find Out Where You’ve Been

maps at Ski Haus

topo maps

A Map Is Good Only If You Have It With You

I admit to being really lost, twice. Once was in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon. We had climbed to the top of one of the Sisters, took a compass bearing on the lake we were camped near, and started our descent back through dense forest to our camp. We arrived at the lake only to discover it was the wrong lake. Our camp was no where in sight. That was a long night figuring out what went wrong.

The second time was on my home turf skiing up on Rabbit Ears Pass. I thought I knew a certain area. I thought I new the contours and drainages and how to avoid being sucked down the wrong drainage versus honing into a high meadow to get back to the parking lot. The evening light was getting low and the swirling low clouds of a winter storm moving in set in like claustrophobia. The second my heart leaped up into my throat was the same moment I realized I was lost. I was still disoriented even with the truck in sight. How did I get here? This is not my beautiful truck…

Both of these times turned out ok through a lot of bushwacking, a lot of breaking a deep snowy trail, and a lot of spent adrenaline. We found our way. We became unlost. Both times could have been avoided. And since both times turned out ok they eventually became good memories.

But this brings me to the point of having a good paper map and compass with you in the backcountry. Even if you are on home ground and swear you know the country like the back of your hand crazy things happen in the backcountry. Low light. Storms. Landmarks disappear. Water bottles and tummys become empty. Lost becomes where you are.

Even if you are comfortable with your GPS unit – more power to you – because anytime you rely on electronics, batteries, and L.E.Ds – there will come a time when you wish you had a paper map and a reliable compass in hand pointing North.

Ski Haus sells tons of maps each year. And more than once a person has come in asking for a map to buy so they can figure out where the heck it was they were versus where the heck they intended to be. That’s a little backwards, unless of course, you’re searching for the grand experience of being lost in the forest…

Ski Haus sells the good ol USGS 7.5 quad maps. Nothing beats the detail with these maps. And unless you’re hiking Mount St. Helens the topography on these maps hasn’t changed that much in 80 or so years. Granted, old trails disappear, new trails are developed, and access may change over time but that mountain sure looks the same and that creek is still running where it has always run…

We sell National Geographic topo maps for Colorado, Utah, and the some of the most popular National Parks. We offer maps from Beartooth Publishing which specializes in Montana and Wyoming maps. Latitude 40 Maps, based out of Boulder, CO., offers some great alternative maps for Colorado and Utah. Sky Terrain, also based in Boulder, produces the incredibly popular Mount Zirkel Map for our area along with several other titles that will get you to some very special places.
The Colorado based Hunt and Explore Maps offer up to date maps for Northwestern Colorado, an area that seems to be overlooked by many cartographers. Ski Haus also sells National Forest Maps for Colorado, BLM maps, maps from Adventure Cycling, Singletrack Maps, Delorme Gazetteers, Benchmark Atlases, and maps from Adventure Maps.
If we don’t have a map in stock that you’re looking for we can get it for you.
We can spend hours looking at maps. When you study those contours on a paper map you get a better understanding of the lay of the land. You get the big picture. It is easy to find the in-between places where the stars are the brightest and people are are the fewest. The high lonesome places that help you feel connected to Mother Earth.
And should you find yourself lost, even with a GPS, a map, or a compass, consider that you are in for an adventure… one way or another.

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