Saturday, July 5, 2008

Finally Back At It!

I've been at work all June, and required to report for duty at 7:30 Mountain Time, the same hour as the hash data comes out. Therefore no hashing for me, because by the time I would get internet access at the end of the day, it was time to go to bed to do it all again the next day. Toss in food poisoning making me miss the SFU hash and it was a hashfree month.

Never mind, here it is today, a Saturday and despite slightly diminished CON and STR stats as a result of the food poisoning, I was ready to go find the nearest hashpoint that wasn't underwater.

Initially I had a dragalong companion, with the wrinkle that he was sort of to be dragging me, as I was going to ride on the back of his motorbike. We just had a forty-five minute errand to do first and then were going to hit the hash on the way back. All ready to leave at 2:30, this was going to be sweet. "Just a second," he says, just as I get my helmet on, "I have to check the address." Turns out it's an hour and ten minutes away, and closes at five. No time to go there and back before four and no time to go after four. I'm on my own.

I thought I could get to the hash in an hour and a half if I pushed it. I rushed around to change clothes, helmets, shoes, etcetera and transfer my stuff from motorbike to bicycle. I got out the door at 2:45, knowing everything had to go right for me to cross town and two bridges to find the hash.

Everything didn't. There's a tricky bit in between the Queensborough Bridge and the Alex Fraser where they post helpful signs reading merely "Bike Route" and you don't know if they are the bike route to Richmond, Delta or New West. I spent about twenty minutes casting about for the right road, making worse progress than a pedestrian with a cane, until I finally got on the right sidewalk for the Alex Fraser Bridge. I knew four o' clock was passing as I crossed the bridge, but I persevered.

Exiting the bridge I knew that I was going to be forced onto another anonymous bike route, this one unpaved through the forest, beside a river, but I had a plan to get out of the woods, so I switched on the GPS at that point. Unfortunately the forest canopy prevented acquiring satellites, and the unit kept deciding to switch off because it wasn't finding any.

I forded the stream at the first opportunity and came out in a subdivision that had sky, only to discover I had gone too far south. Heading north hooked me up with another wooded bike path that matched the vector I needed, so I followed that. I ended up with the same no satellite problem, plus mud and tree litter clogged fenders, and had to escape by hauling the bike up a steep wooded trail, bringing me out a mere kilometre from the hashpoint. A few lefts and rights later I was triumphantly at the destination. There was even a piece of board on the ground that I imagined had once said xkcd in chalk letters before the rain washed it away. It was an elementary school playground, the peculiar pavement markings visible in the Google Maps image now so faded that I wouldn't have spotted them if I weren't looking for them to verify my position. The green vertical things appear to be part of some sort of ball game, I guess a variation on basketball. There was a soccer tournament or a sports day or something going on in the fields on the other side of the building.

Sadly, it was 16:45 and anyone else who had made it to this easy destination was long gone. I deliberately haven't looked to see if anyone else went yet, so I don't know whether to be happy that it didn't matter I was late, or to be happy that at least someone got there on time.

I wish I had more photographs, but I had to hurry on the way there, and was exhausted on the way back, so I documented only the hashpoint itself.

At least I officially achieved the bike hash.

Monday, June 16, 2008


In my home graticule it's in the middle of a ski run at Cypress. How cool is that? I'm in 40 -111 today though, and it's off in a National Forest I can't walk to.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Two Graticules

I worked all day today, but tried for a couple of graticules. I was flying in cloud and it was almost time to turn, so I checked on nearby hashpoints. It didn't really matter where I turned north, as long as I was past the weather. So I turned a little earlier than the original plan. I turned as soon as the 32 -93 hashpoint lined up with my destination.

The plan was to nail the IMC achievement, and I was in IMC minutes before the hash, as illustrated below.

Unfortunately I broke out into scattered cloud right before the hashpoint, so I didn't photograph the arrival. Aerial hashing in VMC is so three days ago!

At the end of the day it was still light, and I checked to discover that the nearest hashpoint, in the unclaimed 40 -112 graticule, was 2.5 nm from my hotel. It looked like there were even trails going to it, I grabbed my GPS and went looking. Almost a mile was on paved roads, then across a field, and then I was stopped by what on the map had been called a "drain." A wide, deep, flowing canal was the end of my quest, 0.96 nm from the target.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Aerial Speedhashing

I'm out of my graticule today. What do you think? Did I achieve the hashpoint?

Here's a picture of the hashpoint out the window ...

The airplane goes way too fast to capture the exact spot on film, but I took pictures as I was arriving ...

I don't have a co-pilot who can take my picture, so this reflected self-portrait will have to do as proof of the smiling face ...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Possible but Not Fun Today

Today's points are in the far north of their graticules, putting Vancouver in Garibaldi Provincial Park and Surrey in untracked mountains north of Tipella, at the far end of Harrison Lake. Today's rain and single digit temperatures are just not conducive to that kind of because it's there adventure. Even Bellingham manages to be on a mountain ridge today, 2400' above Racehorse Creek.

Maybe tomorrow it will be in my living room and we can have a party.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cassidy and the Raindance Kid

It looks like Vancouver's point today falls on the island, accessible by BC Ferries and in a semi-residential area, on a property on Filipana Road and Capnac Place. It's possible that the community in question is a reserve. Weather is forecast to continue cold and rainy.

Surrey's point appears to be on someone's front porch at 156th Street near 20th Avenue, practically at a bus stop.

I haven't decided whether to go after either yet.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

It's in the water today. The Surrey one is doable, but I'm going to go watch the Triathlon World Cup instead.