Monthly Archives: January 2014

Another Note about the Missions map

I can’t write an announcement about the Missions map without talking about our dear friend Kyra Jean Wiliams. Last spring when we first pulled the whole map together Kyra was probably the only person more excited about it than me. She was living in Saint Ignatius at the base of the Mission Range and spent much of her free time exploring the mountains out her back door. She called or stopped by almost every weekend to check on the progress of the map or to look at our draft to plan her weekend outing. As some of you may know Kyra passed away in a car accident last August. This map is dedicated to her and to the spirit of adventure and the willingness to forge her own path that she embodied.

Kyra and I went to college together in Maine and we both ended up in Missoula after we graduated. Kyra was one of those people I always wanted to see more of. She was so vibrant and such a kind and colorful spirit. So grounded and so at peace with who she was and what she knew to be important in life. Unlike most of my female friends we didn’t spend a lot of time talking about relationship drama or life in a broad metaphorical terms. We talked about business plans and ways to create fulfilling careers doing what we loved in a way that we could avoid burning out. We talked about our Bates peers who were living in bigger cities following more traditional paths and how we felt drawn to this mountain town where you can touch the wilderness with one hand and gourmet coffee with the other. We both fell in love with Missoula because the culture here encourages a certain kind of dreaming- about how life doesn’t have to be either a successful career climbing the ladder or full of adventure; it’s possible to have both at the same time. It was always such a comfort to talk with someone who came from the same background and could appreciate differences between Missoula and Bates from the same perspective as me. I miss her dearly and I continue to be inspired by her passion for living life to the fullest.


Kyra in her little home at the base of the Missions photo credit: Grant Haynes

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.