2010-10-28 48 8
In a fenced meadow orchard (with electric fence!) far above Dettingen, a village at the border of the Black Forest incorporated to Horb.
Planning not to go somewhere else
A few days ago, I had noticed that the Stuttgart graticule has had at least one expedition each month for 18 months running (I should have double checked that because later I noticed it was wrong, though). Today's Stuttgart hash was reachable and there aren't many other chances to try one until end of October. However, it was quite a distance, and rather boring, mostly because I had already been there before. Actually, the Geohashing Day 2009 hash had been only a few hundred metres away. So, laziness, lack of motivation, and other interests took over, and I decided not to go.
Around hash o'clock, I suddenly noticed that this day was also my second hashiversary. Could I really NOT go on an expedition on such a day, even with good weather, and all that basically only because I missed it was the hashiversary and was too lazy to go anywhere? In panic, I checked the bus timetable for the Stuttgart hash... and found that a few minutes earlier it would have been perfectly possible to go there. Now... it wasn't any more. I had just missed the last bus which would take me there and back the same day. Problem actually was that those rural bus schedules lack any kind of evening traffic. It wasn't difficult to still get there at the time being, but impossible to get back home after 18:35. Too early.
I was really getting mad at myself, and without seriously believing any of this would be doable even with a very wide definition of "not too unreasonable", took a look at hashes in surrounding graticules. And found one. This one. I checked bus and train timetables, estimated fares and distances, and finally, many hours later than reasonable, went off.
Going here instead
When I raced off from home, it was already 16:30, about two hours until it would get dark, and more than 40 km to cover one way. I went for the station of Rottenburg instead of Tübingen because the train would be much cheaper from there, and took the bike with me on the train from there to Horb. This was as far as the train would take me, since the station of Dettingen had been closed long ago. Arriving at Horb around 17:40, I expected another ~6 km to get to the hash, which should be quite fast by bike. Stopped at a drugstore right near the station, bought spare batteries for the bike lights (a quick check on the train surfaced that I had forgotten those), and went off along the Neckar cycle trail to Dettingen.
Arriving at Dettingen I noticed that I had forgotten to include something important in my considerations: It wasn't very far from here to the hash. Horizontally. But there was a significant vertical distance which slows a cyclist down quite more. I decided to take the short route along the winding small road up, which I climbed up at a neckbreaking speed of about 5 km/h. Finally I reached the top, and it wasn't even fully dark yet. When the GPS pointed off the road with 90°, I took a small agricultural track and soon found it went into a wrong direction. Luckily, I had brought an aerial picture, and found I should have taken an earlier turn. Went back, lost a few elevation metres, and soon was on a better track to reach the point.
250m from the hash - there was a fence. An electric fence even, and in operation. No trespassing, then? This would not be the first no trespassing hash in a meadow, and probably not the last one either.
I had just parked the bike and wanted to start circling the meadow to make sure it's really fully fenced, when a car approached. I thought about what to reply if someone would ask me where I want to go or what I'm doing here at that time. A man, with a bicycle, on an agricultural track going nowhere besides a meadow, a few fields, and some farm buildings, just when it gets dark - not suspicious at all, is it? Quite normal, isn't it?
However, the car didn't reach the point I was, because it stopped 50 m away. One of the two people in there opened the gate to the meadow where the hash was supposed to be in. I decided to go and talk to them. A short explanation of geohashing later I got permission and instructions how to leave the meadow afterwards without getting hurt by the electric fence. Ambassador hash! I proceeded, took my proof photos, and went back to the bike.
Meanwhile it was pitch dark. I replaced all batteries, and, not having a map with me, guessed that it would be a shorter to go back to Horb if not using the southern bridge to the Neckar valley trail but trying to find a way at the northern end of the village. I was so much wrong with that - for one, it wasn't actually shorter, also I ended up on federal highway B14, which isn't quite a quiet rural road, and had no bike lane. It wasn't before Ihlingen that I was able to cross the Neckar anyway, and continue on the bike trail along the railway.
When I arrived back at Horb, the next train to Rottenburg (or Tübingen) wouldn't go before more than an hour later. This is about the worst it can get on a weekday. I shortly considered to go home all the way by bike but then decided to get some food instead, and go home by bike from Rottenburg like on the way out.
This hash would have been easier to do during the day. But would it have been just as much fun as well?
| Ekorren earned the Ambassador achievement
| Ekorren earned the 2nd Hashiversary achievement