In the map room

Posted by Ken Campbell February 6, 2009 0 Comment 639 views
When I plan a trip to a place I’ve never been before, I get every last bit of information out of the maps and charts I have for that area. I’ll get out the dividers and break down the route into discrete segments: At approximately 1.3 miles past the point, there should be a small beach behind several large rock formations. There is a spring in the hill on the south side, about 200 feet from the sandbar. It’s thorough. It may even be a tad obsessive.
But it’s fun, and it’s strangely fulfilling. To really get intimate with a place before you even see it… to me, this makes the entire experience even more impressive. There are some who say that overpreparation is akin to a crime – that the wilderness should be encountered on its own terms, without preconceptions. I can respect that point of view but I do not share it. I will allow them their beliefs, and they will allow me mine.

The funny thing about maps and charts, and this is a fact: once you’ve been to the places on the map, the magic is gone. There is a familiarity with the ground that comes with the journey, and while a map still serves as a valuable reference tool after your return, it no longer holds the mystery it once had. You no longer have to imagine what the road is like between Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido… you’ve been there. If you really want to get the most out of your maps and charts, use them now.

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