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Bob Marshall Country: a new map!

At it’s heart the art of cartography is thousands of small decisions- about where to place labels, which features to label, which font and what size to use, or how to symbolize different types of geographic and cultural features. There are standards of course but there is so much room for expression within the standard.

When you make several of the same type of map the number of those decisions is drastically reduced and the process becomes less artistic and more formulaic. I still love the challenge of fitting all the information in the given space in the best way possible, but after a few years of doing that we were itching to get back to the creative side of cartography.

We have talked about (and received requests for) a map with the whole Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex since 2011 when we printed our first map. This spring the concept for that map finally started to take shape. We knew we wanted it to be totally functional so you could use it to daydream about new trips or reminisce about trips passed. We also wanted it to be an art piece- something that would look good in a frame on someone’s wall.

On the map you will find all the trails, cabins, trailheads, and ranger stations plus all the peaks, streams, rivers and geographic features that are on our other maps all overlaid on an updated terrain shading.

Bob Marshall Country Map Sample

Bob Marshall Country Map Sample
We are really pleased with how the map turned out and we had a lot of fun making it!

It also turns out when you put the entire Bob Marshall on one rectangular sheet of paper you end up with the entire Mission Range and Rattlesnake Wilderness on the page as well!

Bob Marshall Country Map
The whole map!
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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!