Mapping your Country Round

He loved maps, and in his hall there hung a large one of the Country Round with all his favorite walks marked on it in red ink. - The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Mapping a favorite walk in your area is a great exercise for building powers of observation.  Furthermore, it's almost bound to strengthen the love you bear your home country.  I made some maps recently by hand for some friends of their home towns and the local roads, rivers, lakes, and paths nearby.  I wasn't even from that area, but drawing out the little woods and streams made me love this land more.  To map, I used paper, pencil, magic marker, and mostly Google.maps.  But there were some other helpful sites:  www.terraserver.com is fine, but I wish I could get these topographical maps at Trail.com! And a post over at the Forest Rat reminded me of the USGS free topographical maps.  You also ought to walk these areas, of course. This makes a good gift, too, but maybe next year!

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