Mapmaking for The Slow Trail Home

I’ve been busy mapmaking.

When I first decided to use the Pecos Trail (aka, the Goodnight-Loving Trail) for my book, I had no clue how few detailed maps there were of the route. After spending several years (including one very long road trip) piecing the route together, I’ve put that research into map form, so when the next book comes out in a couple weeks, my readers will have a visual to follow along with.

While I’ve found myself somewhat hamstrung by the fact that my only tools are a scanner and MS Paint, I think I’m doing a decent job. Thank goodness for my Bamboo pen.

Anyhow, I thought I’d share a sample of what I’ve managed to put together. (the dpi is very low only for posting here–the original image is ginormous). And as a (very small) bonus, I included part of the scene that this map supports.

From The Slow Trail Home, Chapter 8: Just Like the Old Days

“Okay, so this is roughly the Pecos. We started way down here, just north of Horsehead Crossing. That’s where the Katie is.”

“Where would Fort Stockton be in relation to that?” she interrupted. “I need a better frame of reference.”

Unfortunately, Jon knew exactly where the fort was in relation to the ranch, having wasted entirely too many hours making the trip between the two. He made a dot a few inches down from his squiggly river line. “About here.” Shifting upstream he made another, smaller line and then an X. “That should be about where that draw Sand brought you down comes into the Pecos, and there’s Adobe Walls, where we were camped that night. Here’s Pecos City and the rail line.” Slowly he sketched out their trip so far. “Pope’s Crossing is about there; that’s where we had that first stampede. Here’s the Delaware. This is where we swam the Black River. That there’s Loving’s Bend, and then this would be Patterson’s Crossing, which is where we re-crossed the Pecos, after I—” He broke off.  …

The Faelight had left her palm and was now hovering over his impromptu map. She had out a small, battered notebook and was copying the map into it even as they spoke. Pointing with her pencil stub to just above the bend in the river, she asked, “So would this be Seven Rivers? That was the name of the town you visited on your birthday, was it not?”

“Yeah.”

“By the way, happy belated birthday.”

“Um . . . thanks.” … He gave himself a mental shake and pulled himself back to the map. “Anyway, we’re camped tonight near Bosque Grande.”  …

Maps were something that had always fascinated him. That last winter they’d been together, he and Kat had tried to map out the post and surrounding areas. After watching them for a while—Jon drawing, Kat pointing out where things weren’t the right size or were in the wrong place, and both arguing over who was correct—Captain Black had taken the time to show the two children some of the basics of cartography and of drawing to scale. So Jon’s map, while rough drawn in dirt, was still relatively accurate. “And then there’s a whole lot of nothing until we get to Fort Sumner.”

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