Mapper's Notes

The three areas being used for the events on Saturday, Sunday and Monday have been mapped over a long period of time, in stages, with the earliest mapping dating back to 1998 or so (the original Twin Boulders map, which is the western portion of the existing Twin Boulders map), and the most recent mapping comprising two additions to Remarkable Flats in 2015.  With the last major event on any of these areas taking place in 2008, much of the mapped area will be new to most participants, and some of it has never been used or seen before.

Light revisions were made to all maps in spring 2016, with the main aim being to incorporate trail changes, some changes due to beaver activity or lack of same, the presence of some seasonal water features, and some smaller miscellaneous improvements.

All the maps are in granite terrain, and while there are areas of rather bland, completely open grasslands, all of the maps include areas of very complex rock detail, including bare rock, scattered small rock, and boulders and cliffs of all sizes.  In the most detailed areas, and especially on some of the smaller, most detailed knolls, it has been necessary to heavily generalize the detail to show the most significant features while retaining an acceptable amount of legibility — or at least that was the aim! 

Almost no boulders under 1m have been mapped, and cliffs generally need about 2m of near vertical face to make the map.  The exceptions are generally very isolated boulders that are especially eye-catching.

Nearly all dot knolls are pieces of rock protruding through the surface of the ground and these rock dot knolls all have been mapped with the bare rock symbol (which may be hard to see on the map depending on how far the gray extends beyond the brown dot).  From various angles, dot knolls and boulders may strongly resemble each other.  The rough guideline I use is:  if you can easily run up onto the piece of rock in question, it’s a dot knoll.  Some dot knolls mapped are quite low, and well under 1m.

The forest on all three areas is mostly ponderosa pine, with areas of aspen groves.  The aspen groves are generally compact with very clear edges, have almost without exception been mapped as light green, and are often highly visible features that are quite good to navigate by.

The ponderosa pine forest tends to be quite open in nature without continuous canopy except in denser stands found mostly on north facing slopes.  This means these pine-forested areas will often have a very mottled white and yellow mixture of colors on the map, and the difference between full white, open forest and areas of more scattered trees with varying amounts of rough open or open ground can be quite subtle.  The pines have been hit hard by pine bark beetles in recent years and, in some smaller areas, numbers of dead trees have started to come down.  The maps have not been updated to reflect any of this beetle kill, so areas of standing or fallen trees will still be reflected by white on the map.  Some smaller areas (think house-sized) may be somewhat difficult to traverse because of fallen trees, but are generally easily avoided by looking ahead in the terrain.

Very few distinct trees have been mapped as such, but all the maps include large amounts of individually mapped trees mapped as small white circles (copses) in areas of yellow.  This mapping style (rather than using large amounts of green "x" symbols) makes for a much cleaner map with easier to read contours — which often get obscured by green "x’s".  These single tree copses are often very useful navigational features.

Beavers are quite active in all the major drainages, with the resulting beaver ponds/marshes in constant degrees of flux.  Where it matters to route choice, the maps have been updated to reflect all (I hope!) existing ponds and more difficult to cross deep-water marshes.  These major drainages tend to be occupied by marshes of varying width rather than by a narrow stream, and the marshes often feature large and rather intricate amounts of willow bushes which are either "fight" or medium-green in nature, and which are besides somewhat "clumpy" with numerous tiny passages that are not immediately apparent.  These areas of willow marsh have generally *not* been mapped in great detail and the main aim was to show the general nature of a particular stretch of marsh.  I think only the two longest courses cross any major drainages and my advice to runners would be to keep your eyes open as you descend towards a big marsh area and try to pick out easier locations to cross and to avoid the uglier spots.  You really won't want to do much map reading there — you will just want to get across and be on your way.

One rather small trail runs through nearly the entire length of Twin Boulders and for a good chunk of Diamond Bay.  At this time of year it's not easily distinguished from a cattle trail, but has been mapped because it is part of the Laramie Enduro Mountain Bike Race course.  As bike traffic increases (people out training on the course), the trail begins to widen and become more apparent, but right now in low, moist spots there are small sections of trail which will be nearly invisible.  I’ve included the trail mostly as a cultural feature of note, and as such, deserving to be on the maps.

Only the longest courses will get into the newly added southeast corner of Remarkable Flats, but for those of you who get there, I hope you will enjoy it.  It's a very special piece of granite terrain.

Mapping is hard to do well, very time consuming, but very easy to criticize.  That said, I always appreciate hearing comments from racers, both pro and con, about my maps once they've been out on them. 

— Mikell Platt

This Page Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 June 2016 12:03