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The South Half of the Selway Bitterroot

Every spring since 2011 it has been our goal to have a map finished and printed and on its way to customers by April. Our track record hasn’t been very good though- we’ve printed in June, July and last year in September. This year we really buckled down and we went to press the last week in March and it feels so good to be writing this new map announcement before the high country trails have even started to dry out and folks are still planning summer adventures.

The South Half of the Selway Bitterroot surprised us with how remote it feels and how varied the terrain is. From the highest peaks in the Bitterroot Range to sandy beaches on the Selway River there is a little of everything. As the crow flies a lot of the terrain looks like it isn’t too far from the nearest road- but when that road is the Magruder corridor road, or even Highway 12 a nearby by road doesn’t necessarily mean close proximity to civilization. Highway 12 might be one of the few federal highways in the lower 48 where you can drive over 100 miles without cell service!

Below are some pictures of our favorite places from this map. You can order it now from our website or pick one up at your favorite outdoor retailer in western Montana.

 

Watchtower Creek was one of our favorite hikes of the whole summer- awesome scenery, TONS of huckleberries and a good trail

The Montana/Idaho divide trail follows the state line north and south of Nez Perce pass through some beautiful meadows and ridges

Piper relaxing after a swim at Glen Lake- a great hike for kids with spectacular views

Green Mountain Lookout has views into the Selway Bitterroot and Frank Church in all directions

Some meadows just off the Magruder Road near Poet Creek. This is a section of the old Nez Perce Indian Trail

The view toward the Bitterroots from Spot Mountain Lookout. It’s five thousand feet in about six miles from the road to Paradise up to this lookout and you can see wilderness in every direction from the top.

There are countless steep ridges above the Selway River, this is the view from the ridge above Paradise Guard station near the put-in for the wilderness float section of the Selway River

Piper and Jamie on the ridge above Paradise

Copper Butte near Indian Hill high above the Selway River. Grassy ridges for days

Near Buck Peak- we spent five days backpacking in this area and didn’t see a single other person

Fall camping at Buck Lake- we tend to avoid camping on lakes during the summer because of Mosquitos but in late September they are beautiful!

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New Map of the Mission Range!

The idea to make a map of the Missions started in the spring of 2012. We were wrapping up the final details on our maps of the North half of the Bob Marshall and the Rattlesnake. We were in the beginning stages of shopping for our first house. We had two big family vacations and a week-long river trip planned for the summer. We knew we wanted to tackle another big wilderness map but after two years of going full steam we needed to slow down a little. We decided on the Missions for several reasons:  its proximity to Missoula, we could do almost all the hiking as day hikes and, after driving past the Missions several times a week for the two previous summers we wanted to stop and explore!

The hiking part of the Missions map went fairly smoothly- although we may not have said that at the time. We had some frustrating mornings trying to find trailheads and a few adventures trying to discern if we were on a “real” trail or not. But for the most part we hiked to a lot of beautiful lakes, found some choice car camping spots and we were able to be in town enough to buy a house and move into it.

Putting the map together was a different story. Like many small businesses in their first years of business we have experienced some growing pains in the last year. As the volume of work grows and we try to balance outside jobs with keeping our existing maps up to date something was bound to slip through the cracks. The Missions map, as many of you know, has been “almost done” since last April. The final touches on a map always take much longer than we think they will and so here we are in January finally making the announcement that the map is ready!

Publication timeline aside, we are so excited to get this map out into the world. The Mission Range is a spectacular place. It has a little of everything- from craggy peaks and alpine lakes to dark cedar forest to beautiful doug fir parks and some of the best huckleberry patches we have ever seen. And it’s all packed into one super-accessible skinny little range. Whether you are looking for a multi-day ski tour, a Sunday stroll to a lake with the kids or a big day of bagging peaks there’s something for everyone. As always itis available at retailers around western Montana and on our website.

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Cairn Carto on Montana PBS tonight!

I joked last night that having a map that we made on TV is pretty dorky- it would be cool if one of us were actually on TV, or even our dog (we don’t have a dog, but if we did, that would probably be cooler than a map…)

But, we’re still excited that some maps we made will be featured in a Montana PBS special about Smoke Elser, an outfitter in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. I mean, it’s pretty exciting that the “Bob” is on TV to begin with, it’s just bonus that they used our maps! We made an overview map of western Montana and a close-up of the Danaher area. For those of you who have seen our map of the South Half of the “Bob,” the Danaher map will look familiar, we just made a couple changes to the map we published. It will air several times. Look for it Tonight at 7pm, Thursday 11/24 at 3pm, Tuesday 11/29 at 7:45pm, Thursday 12/29 at 7pm and Saturday 12/31 at  4:30pm

Now we just need to track down someone with a TV so we can watch it!

you can read more about the special here: http://www.montanapbs.org/3MilesAnHour/