2009-01-02 49 -122
The hashpoint appears to be in a vacant lot in eastern Surrey, just past the Valley View cemetery. I'd figured I'd better go, so I could achieve the snowman geohash.
The geohash was close to transit and while the weather is clear there is still a lot of snow on the roads, obstructing the shoulders, so it would have been more treacherous than usual to bike. I took the #33 bus to Skytrain, Skytrain to the end of the line at King George station and the #345 bus from Skytrain to 152nd Street and 70th Avenue. The nearest intersection to the hash was 70A Avenue and 151st street, so it was a short walk up the hill.
The closest approach to the geohash on public property was 8 m away at the railing of a private yard, behind a range of postal boxes. I started to build my snowman there. The plan had been to build a snowman almost as tall as me, so I could pose with my arm around its 'shoulder' and it holding the GPS, but the snow proved inadequate. Not that there wasn't plenty of it, but it wasn't the right kind. For the benefit of geohashers in non-snow producing nations, let me explain. The ordinary way to make a snowman is to make a small snowball, around the size of a grapefruit, and then roll it across the snow. As it rolls, more snow sticks to it. You pack it down with your hands and roll the snowball left and right, trying to cover it evenly, until it's as big as you want it, then you pack it down some more and smooth out the lumps and holes. You may have seen this snowball by accretion in cartoons. Heck, the phenomenon is embedded in the English language when we say something "snowballs" -- i.e. once it gets going it accumulates more and more participation.
Well my snow wasn't snowballing. It's a little bit old, and it has been rained on a bit, so it is very coarse crystals, not soft and powdery. When I made a snowball and rolled, the snowball got smaller, getting worn down by the icy snow. I tried breaking through the inch or so of crust to get to softer snow underneath, but it wasn't very sticky, either. I had to settle for piling up snow in one place and packing it into shape with my hands. I used a couple of the chunks of icy snow to shape the snowman, too.
While I was building the snowman, a resident came out of the house to clean a broom and I asked her if it would be okay if I went into her back yard for a minute to take a photograph. She had no problem with that, so I made my way around the fence to the backyard and reached the actual geohash coordinates. Naturally my camera chose that moment to display the message "change battery pack" and shut down. Fortunately I had taken GPS photos near the snowman, and I'm happy with that documentation.