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Locating the forgotten places with old maps?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:33 pm
by Casca
They know me as "The Maps Lady" because about five years ago, along with my husband who is an old retired Professor we began our business. Although my husband had the knowledge and the means, we were both completely ignorant of the digital industry. Mostly by error and practical hands-on experience we introduced our Global known website. Today our historical map prints are recognized by many academic institutions, including the renowned Johns Hopkins University. People of all walks of life buy our sharp, quality maps.

Both My husband & I get out in the Santa Monica mountains, although its only when the weather is miserable in Indiana. Being a bike rider for years in England and America, he finally bought a hand built machine from a friend in Italy. Because he is a health nut, he rides his bike everywhere he can--living most of the summer months in Indiana he has a healthy outlook of riding his bike on country roads. Being a Professor of Earth Sciences he has been interested in mapping since he was a boy. Even his Grandfather before him collected maps, through the Great War and beyond and left him a magnificent collection. Today everything is high-tech and he complains humorously about the old masters, who spent hours with pen and paper drafting crude maps.

One of the great assets for this type of adventure can be the United States Geological Survey maps. Known Nationwide as Topo maps this can be very detailed survey maps that have been available since their 19th century inception, to the current series. This government "Topo" maps are so accurate, that the early additions would identify even the smallest of human habitat. A common dot was not a blemish on the paper, but would indicate a pioneers shack or cabin. I used these maps for years to find long-forgotten human activity, which would explain small mounds of broken glass of other debris. A good, healthy walk using these cartographic surveys can locate old Indian trails, which can no longer be distinguished on a modern map.

The outdoors can be your friend as well as your enemy, so we always take extra water which is just as important as a good map. Contemporary maps rarely show the old trails and hidden watering holes, used for centuries by the native Indians. Early surveys contained a great deal of information, including original landmarks, Indian camps and much more.

While wandering he has located small isolated lakes and streams, full of fish. Acknowledging that the United States has been completely surveyed, with older maps he has discovered forgotten mountain valleys full of wildlife. Wild Turkeys, deer, stag and other creatures that had likely hasn't seen a human being before. Some of these places are way-out of any habitable track, that even a four-wheel drive could ever find a way in. In California, he discovered in the mountains an old mining camp, hidden away from human eyes. Well off the beaten path and no safe access, because a previous earthquake had collapsed the road sometime in the early 1900's. The place was seething with wildlife, including bear, geese, quail, Bobcat--even wild hogs.

The place he had found was not recognized on a contemporary map, but the early survey labeled the hidden settlement as "Beveridge" It still remains in its solitude, but with the small lake the creatures are never disturbed. Careful though, take your shotgun or a good rifle with you, because the place has some pretty large diamond backs.

By following these almost completely eroded paths that was taken by the tribes you can be almost certain to find drinking water, places of shelter and hunting regions. In all respects it is a matter of their survival, so they knew of small secret places that contained all these elements. This was not just a refuge in the desert, the forests or hidden valleys, but high in the mountain ranges.

You can find these rare and unique secret corners of America, when you study the old maps. I have personally found three such areas, because the native Indians knew of these secluded places where they fished and hunted. Modern maps remain almost infertile to this valuable information, whereas the old surveyors had a knack in producing wonderfully detailed material.

All around us are these almost secret places, full of wild animals hiding away in these small sanctuaries.