Out with the Maps

Take a last look!
Take a last look!

One of my file drawers is jam-packed with maps, the consequence of indiscriminate collecting. Wherever I’ve gone, the map came home with me. Time to make some hard choices. Who really needs that grid of Grenoble? How about Helsinki? Damned if I know what to do about Denver!

Some files are quite thick. This represents desire. I have visions of two or three years in Costa Rica, of summering in a travel trailer in northwestern Wyoming, of returning to Iceland and riding my bicycle around the remote eastern half of the island, thereby completing the circle tour that I began in 1992.

Even those files have begun to bloat. Why, for example, do I need a Bureau of Land Management map showing fishing opportunities in southwestern Wyoming? This clever document informs the reader that channel catfish can be caught at Woodruff Narrows Reservoir, north of Evanston. Splake may be taken in the Viva Naughton Reservoir. This is my first acquaintance with splake. (Web search: the crossing of a male brookie with a female lake trout.) Just reading about it now makes me:

1) Desire to keep the map in my files

2) Strongly desire to rush forthwith to Kemmerer, the nearest town, and wade into Viva Naughton, in which body of water I might rassle and tussle with the plumpest splake the Rock Springs District has heretofore seen. Having fought it till I’m plum splakered out, I’ll want to repair to a roadhouse or brewpub for a draught of ale, if not a hearty splash of barleywine.

Then there’s the BLM’s Farson map. It’s usually possible to look at any map and come up with a whole list of fascinating names, but only Teakettle Butte stands out here. Otherwise, it’s just clichés like Packsaddle Canyon (North and South), Buckhorn Canyon, and Elkhorn Junction. Even Squaw Teat is a variation of a variation. As for Rollins Bottom, I would dread the prospect of having any part of my anatomy assigned on the scale of 1:100,000.

Finding Tabernacle Butte, I sense the presence—even in such a sparsely populated country—of one Mormon too many.

Without regrets, this map is trashward bound.

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