Monthly Archives: June 2012

New Maps

It’s an exciting day here at Cairn Cartographics. We’re proud to announce that our two new maps are printed, just in time for summer.

Printing the North Half of the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex map is the culmination of a project that has taken us close to three years. You wouldn’t be the first one if you told us that was an awfully big project to tackle as our first map. I won’t say there haven’t been moments when I’ve wondered if maybe we should have started with something smaller but over a thousand miles of walking and a fair amount of blood sweat and tears later I couldn’t be more proud.

I’m so excited about this new map of the Rattlesnake. Like a lot of people here I’m a transplant to Missoula and this map is pretty much the reason I’ve chosen to call this home. We are so lucky with our access to recreation- there are awesome trails in every direction that you can access right from town, there’s the Rattlesnake Wilderness which always surprises me with how rugged it is, there’s the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers. The crazy thing is, until now there wasn’t a map with the wilderness, national recreation areas, and city open-space all on one page. This is the map I’ve wanted to own since I moved here and I hope it will inspire people to take advantage of this beautiful place we live and explore some new trails. See you out there-


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!