Posted on

Sweet Summer

We’ve turned the corner on summer, instead of feeling the luxury of extra time in longer days and open schedules stretching into the future, we’re looking September in the eye. We’re feeling the occasional hint of fall in a cool morning. There’s a reassessment happening, a taking stock of adventures planned and adventures had and a frantic planning to squeeze the remaining river trips, hikes and summer meals into the next few weeks. Maybe we feel this especially strongly in a college town where at times it feels like the whole city operates on a September-June school schedule.

Driving down some forest service roads the other day I was struck by how right now is the pinnacle of summer, that elusive point where foliage is full and green without a single hint of red or yellow. Orchards and gardens everywhere are bursting with the riches of late summer. Evenings are warm and lingering, days are hot and the hazy sky is buzzing with horseflies and mosquitos. As usual I feel like summer snuck through while I was looking the other way which is not necessarily a bad thing. The last few weeks have been full to the brim in a wonderful way- traveling to visit family, swimming in lakes after long hot days exploring a new mountain range, a few lazy afternoons on the river, some delicious summer meals with friends, and of course shipping out order after order of maps to wholesalers around Montana and customers across the country. I couldn’t really ask for more, but I’m still feeling the crunch to eat more corn on the cob and stand on top of some dramatic peaks and generally just soak up as much summer as I can before the days get noticeably shorter and life shifts into its fall schedule.

Posted on

Press Check High

Here’s the thing about making the types of maps we love for places we love: we don’t get a chance to use our own maps very often. We carry them everywhere and sometimes even if we’re driving through an area on the map we pull it out, but even then it feels more like fact-checking than using. Last week we headed out for a little visit to Great Falls to go to the press check for our next two maps(!). Since summer seems to have actually arrived over on the east side of the divide, instead of just teasing like it is over here we decided to make a trip of it.
Friday afternoon, after both maps were through the press and drying for the weekend we had some steam to blow off. Press checks can be stressful! We headed west to the mountains and pulled out our South Half map and looked for a good hike that would give us some views. We settled on the trail up to the old Steamboat Lookout site. It’s one of those rare places in the Bob that has a solid trail all the way up to a high point. It’s a  gorgeous trail that climbs a few thousand feet in a little over six miles right on the front with views out over the plains to east and over the whole Scapegoat Wilderness to the west. And you know what? Our map works pretty well! We spent a long time at the top looking out over the sea of peaks and picking out landmarks. It was a treat to spend some time just hiking, no GPS units, no note taking, just walking down the trail on a gorgeous day.Since I know you’re wondering: the new maps will be available any day. We’re just waiting to hear that they’re folded and ready and we’ll let you all know!