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Colorado Springs Local Business: Pocket Pals Trail Maps

Is Randi Lost

Does this chicken look lost? I think she does, even though this picture was taken in her own yard.  Any chicken with straw on her back looks lost.  If she wasn’t so flustered, she’d notice how cute & silly she looks.

She’s probably lost because she didn’t get a good map, but I know somebody who can fix that.

I met with Julie Raber of Pocket Pals Trail Maps recently.  Honestly, when I think of people who make maps I imagine a man in medieval garb, probably on a ship with some sort of whimsical ghost-like creature blowing on it to make it move.  Julie isn’t like that at all.

She’s actually a twenty-first century person wearing hiking shoes.  Julie and her husband moved to Colorado Springs 15 years ago and were really excited to explore the trails around here.  They are avid hikers to this day and had even met each other in a hiking group!  They picked up some maps and started hiking.

“We would get to a four way intersection, look at the map, look at the book, and we’d say, ‘I have no idea which way to go.'”, she says of their initial forays into our local wilderness.  “It was kind of like a guessing game.”

Most of us would buy yet another map or maybe just wander around aimlessly and hope we didn’t get hopelessly lost.  Not Julie.  It just so happens that she has a master’s degree in Geographic Information Systems and can do something called Geospatial Analysis.  If anyone is qualified to make a better map, it’s her!

Colorado Springs Local Business Pocket Pals Trail Maps 4And that’s exactly what she did!

“I love maps and I love hiking,” she explained.

For five years she and her husband had collected GPS data for fun, which meant that by the time Julie decided to make hiking maps they already had enough data for her to create a “base map” of the area.  When they hike, they collect more data and put it on the maps.  Then Julie adds notes about the trail from their experience.  It will say things like “don’t go left here” because they had gone left and it didn’t work out well.

You could say that the maps are sort of like having an experienced friend along on your hike, except that the friend is made of heavy paper that fits in your pocket, is easy to refold and won’t be ruined if you run it through the washing machine.

Colorado Springs Local Business Pocket Pals Trail Maps 3You can visit Pocket Pals website to see all the available trail maps or look at a sample.  You can also visit one of the several local retailers listed on the site who carry Pocket Pals to pick up one of these locally made maps.

This makes sense to me.  Who would make a better map of the Pikes Peak region’s trails than a person who lives and works here?

Colorado Springs Local Business Pocket Pals Trail Maps 2As for our chicken friend who is lost in the backyard, I suppose she’ll have to make her own map unless she can convince Julie to make one for her.  I don’t know where she’d keep it, though.  Chickens don’t have pockets.

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Hungry Chicken Homestead's article about Pocket Pals Trail Maps

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