Mapping Notes

Both "A" event days take place on maps surveyed and drafted by Mikell Platt, and will be printed at a scale of 1:10,000 with 5 meter contours. The Day 1 map might be referred to as the "Plains of Despair" map, but in this incarnation the map is actually an amalgamation of the Plains of Despair, Forrest Meadows, and Crow Marsh maps, which have been jammed together to form one giant, nearly seamless seeming map (but don't look too closely in one of the drainages separating the old Forrest Meadows and Plains of Despair maps.) The Day 2 map is Pelican Bay, plain and simple.

The Plains of Despair map was the second map I made in the Laramie area and represents the oldest map extant in the area. One mapping convention I used frequently on this map was the distinct tree symbol. It was not too long after that map was published that I all but abandoned the use of this symbol, as I gradually thought more and more about how often it was the case that distinct trees in the eye of a mapper hardly ever translated as distinct someone racing on the map. So I changed how I did those things. Distinct trees still get mapped, only now they get mapped as small circles of "white" forest. So they're there if you need them, and if you don't want or need to use them, they're not eye catching on the map and don't add to overall map clutter. Besides the above, something else can be noted about the distinct trees on the old Plains of Despair map: time has taken its toll, and some of these trees have vanished, whether blasted apart by lightning, shot down by over eager gun enthusiasts, or killed by the rice sized pine bark beetle.

Pelican Bay is of a more recent vintage, and while it was surveyed in stages over several years, I think it would be hard to tell any differences at all in the terrain.

Light green on both maps almost always denotes aspen groves. When the leaves are out, this use of light green works really well as the aspen both look visually "green" and they do offer slower running. A very small percentage of aspen forest may be mapped as white woods when it gets too ridiculously open to pass for even light green.

Rough open and rough semi open is generally showing areas of sage and/or bitter brush. The sage tends to be a little deeper where it appears at Pelican Bay.

The ponderosa pine forest in the Laramie Range tends to be sparse and glady in nature. Some glades and openings within a forested area may appear to be relatively sharp and prominent, and these will usually be mapped. But there is a lot that is simply unmappable, and thus what shows as forest is often a heavily generalized feature. Of special note is the devastation wrought by the pine bark beetle over the past 3 years (and still ongoing.) You will see large amounts of dead trees throughout the maps. The maps have not been revised to reflect the dead and dying trees, thus what is portrayed as white forest reflects both the living and the dead.

While all of the terrain on both maps falls under the heading of Granite Terrain, the amount and type of rock varies hugely. There are large areas where practically no rock appears at all. Then there are other areas where there is so much rock there is hardly any space left for the air to flow through. In the rockiest areas, details have sometimes been very heavily generalized with the use of boulder triangles along with, sometimes, the gray "bare rock" symbol, with only a few of the largest and most prominent rock features shown.

Due to the rocky nature of the terrain, what is mapped as a boulder versus a dot knoll (which are almost always have rocky aspects) can be confusing if you're not used to the mapping style, and even if you are used to the mapping style, what appears as one feature can look more like the other type when viewed from a different angle. The rough rule of thumb, however, is that if a rock feature looks like it is attached and part of the bedrock, it is mapped as a dot knoll (with gray for bare rock if needed, or some dots showing rocky ground if that works better), and if it looks like it could be lifted away like a marble, then it's mapped as a boulder. Boulders less than 1 m are not mapped; rock faces need to be at least 1.5 m and nearly vertical to be mapped as cliffs.

Beaver activity map have changed some smaller areas in drainages at Plains of Despair, and new activity is always possible. It's remarkable how quickly even one pair of beavers can alter a previously unoccupied drainage.

There are some more recent side trails made by campers in a western section of the Plains of Despair map, which don't show on the map. It's pretty obvious on the ground that they are of a more recent vintage, and, in any event, I am guessing that no courses but Blue--if even Blue does--would go anywhere near that area, as it's simply too far out from where we will be starting/finishing for the day. It doesn't take much traffic following the same route to create a brand new trail, and this is even more true in dry years. Thus it is possible for new trails to appear in the terrain at almost any time.

This Page Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 May 2012 17:31