Patrick Stephens’ adventures have taken him world wide. He at the moment lives in Prague, making maps for shoppers world wide. He additionally paperwork long-distance bike journeys with movies and weblog posts.
However all through his travels, he’s remained devoted to a aspect mission mapping the place the place he took his earliest exploits, his hometown of Jim Thorpe.
“Jim Thorpe is that this lovely little place that’s tucked into this picturesque valley,” he mentioned. “I need folks to understand what that’s, and I hope the map permits them to understand that higher.”
After placing tons of of hours into the mission over a interval of years, late final yr he launched the Jim Thorpe Journey Map to the general public.
The waterproof paper map lays out dozens of trails on public lands from the Blue Mountain to Wilkes-Barre. It was designed to be used by hikers, cyclists, anglers, hunters, ATV riders and boaters. It even consists of the named rapids alongside the Lehigh River.
Paper maps is probably not used a lot by drivers anymore. However for outside lovers, they nonetheless supply benefits over a cellphone. They don’t depend upon batteries or cell towers. They’re giant format and straightforward to learn. And in the event that they get moist, the price is $15 as a substitute of $500.
“When you’re in your 20s, you may say ‘a paper map, who makes use of that anymore?’ However after you take a look at it, you notice you should use it alongside together with your cellphone, and discover that it’s helpful,” Stephens mentioned.
When Stephens was in school, he noticed knowledgeable map of a state forest in Central Pennsylvania, and he thought Jim Thorpe’s trails deserved the identical consideration. Whereas the city is a regional vacation spot for outside lovers, its many trails have by no means been compiled in a single place.
“There are a plethora of trails that hook up with the D&L. It’s like a mini wilderness, and it’s unimaginable as a result of it’s so near New York, Philly and the Lehigh Valley,” he mentioned.
Stephens can nonetheless retrace the paths round Mount Pisgah together with his eyes closed. As a youngster, he would escape for hours on his mountain bike, following hand-drawn maps from a time within the ’80s and ’90s when Jim Thorpe was a vacation spot for mountain bikers.
On his school breaks, he would file notes and GPS tracks that may finally type the premise for his personal map.
“It’s enjoyable to comply with these outdated maps and rediscover them,” he mentioned.
After school he took a job on the D&L, which included driving the 165-mile path end-to-end to file GPS tracks, and designing its path map brochures – expertise that may additionally assist in creating the map.
One wouldn’t fault Stephens for giving up his mission when he moved to Europe to chase love. When making a map, it helps to be positioned within the space you’re mapping. However utilizing his reminiscence and high-quality satellite tv for pc pictures, he remained dedicated to ending it. He additionally discovered time to bike from Prague to Poland, over 500 miles, and doc it in a video weblog.
He known as upon a former coworker on the D&L, Brian Greene, to check the paths and provides suggestions on the design of the map. Greene joined with out hesitation.
“Right here’s this individual, a neighborhood child who finally ends up changing into a world-class cartographer,” Greene mentioned. “He’s been desirous about this his complete life, and dealing on it on and off for 5 years.”
Like Stephens, Greene considers the paths round Jim Thorpe a hidden gem. And from his personal travels, he was acquainted with the kind of map Stephens needed to make.
“There was no map for this space, and this is among the premier outside recreation locations on the East Coast. We mentioned, ‘we must always do that, and if we don’t do that, no person’s gonna do it,’?” Greene mentioned.
Stephens had an opportunity to return himself final summer season to do some closing verification for the map earlier than it was revealed. His journey was delayed by COVID-related journey restrictions, however that simply drove him to experience much more when he was at house.
“I mentioned, I’m gonna experience my bike daily, and canopy as a lot floor as doable,” he mentioned.
When it got here time to market the map, Stephens turned to native retailers, understanding they shared his appreciation for the world. The retailers embody Lehighton Outside Heart, Pocono Biking, Carbon County Environmental Training Heart, Easton Outside Firm and Sellers Books + Artwork.
Sellers Books + Artwork proprietor Randall Sellers shares Stephens’ ardour for maps. He mentioned the map is attracting consideration from locals and vacationers at his retailer on Jim Thorpe’s Broadway.
“He actually is aware of the terrain just like the again of his hand, just like the outdated saying. He’s made an exquisite map and I hope all people will get an opportunity to check out it,” he mentioned.
Stephens’ web site, www.offthemaps.com, consists of his weblog, on-line ordering, and a full listing of outlets carrying the map.
Patrick Stephens takes multi-day, lengthy distance bike rides within the Czech Republic. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Patrick Stephens photographed his collaborator Brian Greene as they examined out trails close to the Lehigh Gorge. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Patrick Stephens designed the Jim Thorpe Journey Map to be the definitive map of trails close to his hometown. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
The Jim Thorpe Journey Map is printed on waterproof paper.
The Jim Thorpe Journey map paperwork trails for all sorts of customers surrounding the city.