2011-04-27 40 -74
In the woods near "Second Watchung Mountain", between Donna Court and Timberline Drive, in Bridgewater, Somerset County.
Dude, it's in Bridgewater. It's less than ten miles from my house. I have all kinds of plans this afternoon, but I should be able to get there and back before dark, unless the weather turns nasty.
The weather did get nasty: we got a downpour for about 20 minutes, enough to flash-flood a couple of local streets, But I was taking the highway except for the last mile so that didn't stop me.
I knew from the terrain map that I should expect a serious gradient, and it sure had one. Easily a 30 degree incline, by the time I was 50 feet from the car, I was 20-25 feet up, facing a near-vertical ridge. The ground was slippery with the recent rain, but a fallen branch made for a decent walking stick, and gave me the extra purchase to top the ledge.
I stopped for breath and checked the GPS. I wasn't much closer, but the goal was more to the east, across the face of the hill, which made for much easier climbing.
I went about 200 feet east and found a relatively clear route up (north), still pretty steep but with less brambles. On this leg, I also found an animal skull, about 6 inches long. Too small for a deer, too big for a squirrel. I took photos to show to others later.
I tacked north again, near the top of the hill, and stopped in view of the houses on the next street. Checking the GPS again, I had passed above the geohash; it was now southwest, about 90 feet away. You've heard of the GPS dance? Now picture someone doing it on the side of a 45 degree slope. That was me. The droid app put me within the circular margin for error, so I stopped again, this time for victory pictures.
On the way down, I was much further west than the climb up, and ended up within 20 feet or so of the cleared right-of-way where the powerlines were. I didn't take that path down the rest of the way, though, because I expected it to come to be fenced off. I angled a bit back to the east, and found a wooden platform, no doubt erected for the amusement of neighborhood kids of many years ago. One timber now bears the marker "XKCD 4-27-2011", but my phone's battery had not enough charge to activate the built-in camera.
"Area preserved for recreation" I think geohashing counts @40.6358,-74.6094
Camera not rotated, hill is really this steep @40.6356,-74.6092
Skull of previous explorer. Gulp! @40.6357,-74.6091
Spotted a gazebo, I hope it doesn't attack @40.6359,-74.6077
View out over the treetops @40.6359,-74.6082
Receding hairline progressing nicely, thx4asking @40.6359,-74.6082
Picture of the geohash (about 10 m ahead) @40.6359,-74.6077
Old tree stand, before tagging with "XKCD 4-27-2011" @40.6361,-74.6094
Trusty walking stick, found and left on-site @40.6358,-74.6094