Art of getting lost

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” (Henry David Thoreau)

Map of Conway NH

NH map of North Conway

I’m still not sure I understand myself yet, even with all the times I’ve been lost.  I know that I live for getting off the main routes and discovering a new pond or town common that I haven’t seen before. To me, finding a new white church steeple surrounded by multi-hued sugar maples is the pinnacle of a great day.

New Salem MA church with maples all around

church on town common with maples

When I talk about getting lost, I don’t mean to literally go out and get lost. I expect you to  have a good idea of where you are! (This does not mean a state of confusion like me) :-)

What this means
You should get off the main road (highways) and explore secondary or even dirt roads.

road through fall colored trees

Peacham road through maple trees

BUT! Do so with a good road map and I always suggest the gazetteer’s from Delorme which are my favorites. I also travel with a GPS and you might be tempted to ask isn’t this redundant? Or even necessary? (the map and the GPS)??

Map and a GPS!
Well, the reason I travel with both is quite simple.  I have found a map is great for planning on where to go and what to see. If you find yourself on a dirt road in Maine with no street signs it’s rough to figure out where on the map you are.

So unless you have a background in Orienteering and a serious compass then a map by itself is lousy at telling you, where… you are.

A GPS on the other hand is wonderful for telling you where you are but it’s horrible for planning a New England fall foliage trip.   Do you need both? No and in that case I would do it with the gazetteer map book. (I did it for years this way)  The reason I stand by Gazetteers is they show terrain and most roads and items of interest. Below is a short list of things a gazetteer contains:

Map detail
commonly includes:
  • » Back roads, dirt roads and trails
  • » Elevation contours
  • » Remote lakes and streams
  • » Boat Ramps
  • » Public lands for recreation
  • » Land use / land cover – forests, wetlands, agriculture
  • » Trailheads
  • » Campgrounds
  • » Prime hunting and fishing spots

A covered bridge at Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts with fall colors

A covered bridge at Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts with fall colors

And don’t forget they list all the covered bridges also! Well if you want to see some of my foliage safari routes follow this link and you can review the route in your own gazetteer and if I caught a shot that you want to find then you can locate that image on your own map book.

If you have questions regarding this “Art of getting lost”, then drop a note below and I’ll post a reply as soon as I can.

You can also visit my Fall Foliage Facebook page. I’ll be posting updated pictures there come this fall.

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Jeff “Foliage” Folger

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Comments

Art of getting lost — 2 Comments

  1. We love the Delorme’s too. Have one each for VT, ME and NH. I always like to see what’s over the next hill. They are especially handy for plotting a back road route to someplace, which for us is typically a plant nursery. Sometimes we get lost simply because I didn’t have good directions in the first place. One year found Horsford Nursery in Charlotte VT while looking for Pizza on Earth (check their website, most unusual pizza place).

    We’ve stumbled on Ekhart’s Farm near Hillsborough NH.

    We weren’t lost but finding Sandwich (NH) Creamery can be challenging and don’t be surprised to see a black bear cross the road.

    On our last visit to the Harpswell Maine area, Ron noticed a nature preserve and asked a waitress about it. She said there wasn’t anything there. Exactly! A bit hard to find and a very bumpy road to a small beach area that most tourists probably never see. There was one small group enjoying the sun and water, a few fisherman and us! Great place to enjoy some quiet time looking at the water. People who complain about crowds just don’t know to drive back roads.

    • Harpswell Maine… hmmm. Nope I haven’t been there.. Maybe you have the map book page and where on the page to look? The really sounds like a perfect place to visit.
      This is exactly what I mean when I say getting lost but not getting lost… You know where you are on the map but you are where others don’t go. It means that you are finding something few others will see in their lifetime and only the locals know about it.
      Eccardt’s is a very neat place and I loved the museum he set up there. I didn’t get a chance to go to the farm store but it would have been neat to get some really fresh eggs… before hitting the road…

I'd love to hear what you think!