Maps

I have a little fascination with maps.  Mostly topographical maps, but I see something special in every map; the opportunity for an adventure.

This was made very clear to me tonight while glancing at a McKenzie Maps map of the Boundary Waters.  On Tuesday I leave for a short winter camping trip, over a route I’ve travelled several times, and being that it’s pretty well ingrained into memory I wasn’t putting too much thought into the map and what was just off of the route we will be following.  Tons of wilderness.  Lakes and trees and rocks I am not certain anyone has set eyes on in years.  Places I can’t even imagine, spare a bit of topography and rough scale.

I’m driving eight hours north and then skiing a long ways to experience this, but in all reality the opportunity for adventure is right out the front door.

While planning to plan this race DH and I sat down and tried to make sense of the lines on a road map from a MN gazetteer, and once again what I saw was one heck of an adventure.  There’s something intimidating about seeing your 100k challenge in the scale of a few inches.  To know that you can see it all right there on the paper but you have no clue about what might actually be out there.  How long and steep the hills might be (and trust me, they are), how lonely the long straight aways might be, how impressive the views might be, and when you might cramp up, the point at which you’ll doubt whether you’ve got it in you, or when you’re sure this is the coolest thing you’ve ever done.  None of that can be shown to you on the map of our course.  It’s only a jumping off point for your own adventure.

-SH

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