2012-03-04 53 -119

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Sun 4 Mar 2012 in 53,-119:
53.0667660, -119.7207607

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About 1,000 feet (as the crow flies hahahah) SW of the Dunster-Croydon Road directly across from the Croydon Ferry Road and the Croydon Cemetery.


  • dunstergirl. And a bevy of neighbours who watched out for me there and back.


Drive there, snowshoe into the bush, find the spot, say yeehaw and snowshoe back out again.


Well, this was my first. Thought it was incredibly fortunate that a hashpoint was SO CLOSE to where I live and actually accessible. Yesterday was in Hinton for other reasons, and bought a GPS (always wanted one, now had excuse, also birthday coming up, hahah). Tried to learn how to use it last night. ALSO knew I needed snowshoes for this venture, so, braved the shed, found my GRANDMOTHER's probably 80+ year old snowshoes still hanging on the wall, brought them in, cut off the ancient leather bindings and put on the "new" bindings I bought a decade or two ago. Made a list for the morning.

Today I woke up about 5 am (roosters for sure). Thought hmm what day is it? oh yes Sunday. Nothing to do and nowhere to go? Yes, back to sleep, o wait, SHIT, I had this PLAN. Nothing for it but to get up. Its by then been snowing for 24 hours and still is. I think REALLY do I want to DO this, but actually I do. Piddle around for the next few hours, breakfast for me and the kid, try to think of everything I might need for the journey (which is ONLY a drive across the river and out the back road and oh yeah, a few hundred feet of snowshoeing, piece of cake, right?).

Finally around 10 am there is nothing for it but to go. Bid the kid farewell (she has her own plans) and head out. First stop is the Dunster General Store which is not open yet (Sunday) BUT I happen to be a part-owner so I have a key and need some provisions. Hard on my heels is a neighbour needing things for breakfast so, since whenever we are there the store is open, he shops, I find my provisions, we chat, and by the time I am ready to leave our staff person who runs the store Sundays is on her way in to open up. I briefly explain my mission, she looks a bit shocked and tells me to check in when I get back, and I am on my way.

Head out the back road. Which was plowed at some point in the past 24 hours but still had some accumulation. Haven't been out that way lately. A couple km down the road I get too close to the edge (overplowed everywhere) and that is it, I am in the DITCH. Shit. Get out, walk down the road a ways further to a neighbour who fortunately is home, just her and her daughter, the "boys" off at some trappers meeting. The daughter (who is just months younger than mine, they were friends for a time and might be again) is sure she could pull me out with the tractor but has never been allowed, and isn't now. We trudge back up the road to see if they could actually push me out (I think no, they agree, but I look at the car manual and we at least find the pin you have to screw in for someone to yank you out, and get it in place). Trudge back to the house, make a few phone calls, have coffee, chat, and wait. A while later the "boys" (a bunch of them) show up and between tractors and trucks I am out of the ditch in minutes. Of course I have to EXPLAIN to all what I am doing, and now EVERYONE in Dunster knows I am off on some foolish adventure, and of course I have to check in when I return or they will come looking. Fair enough, it helped to know that. One even inspected my snowshoes and decided they were good to go, but said it would be a hard trek. Then they discussed exactly what I might be walking through (completely wrong but whatever, it was fun to listen). And the best piece of advice was "drive down the middle of the road unless someone is coming toward you."

At this point I could have written a good fail story and gone home, but I was ALMOST there and it was only noon, and I REALLY wanted to do this. So I kept on. Drove down the middle of the road. Reached the intersection I needed to depart from, pulled over just far enough for someone to get by but not enough to get in the ditch again, donned my gear, strapped on the snowshoes, and headed SW, uphill. Two ravines by the railroad tracks almost killed me but I persevered. Then it was just endless uphill, snow, downed trees, etc. etc. til I hit a trail to the neighbour's waterline and that was some easy going for a while. Almost gave up when I thought I was almost there and there was a massive ravine to the west and I thought if I have to go there I won't as I'll never get back out. Fell how many times I can't count but I brought ski poles, good for helping get on your feet again. And I continued up and over and came, eventually, within a hundredth of a degree or so of the spot and decided that is enough walking back and forth in effing snowshoes.

Took pictures. Sat for a bit. Realized (as I had each break along the way) that it is as much about the random shit that happens going there and coming back, and even the moments lying on my back in the snow in the trees just appreciating that as it is about actually finding the spot. Random joy.

And then I turned around and headed back. Thought the nice snowmobile track for the waterline (though covered still visible) might be easier than the direct route down that I had taken up, but it went on FOREVER and dumped me out at the next railroad crossing and I had to walk like a km or more back to my car. But at least without snowshoes, I just carried them. Still snowing. Shed wet gear and fired up car and was just happy to have done it. Was VERY CAREFUL turning around to avoid the ditch.

On the drive home met the neighbours who had pulled me out of ditch/ran store/worried and they were glad to see me, apparently he had snowshoes in the truck in case he had to find me. My kid had called so I stopped AGAIN at the store (closed again but I had zipped my pockets so still had a key), got fuel and food and called home to reassure her I was fine.

Then I went home. To a teenage daughter embarrassed that I would even DO that and her boyfriend who thought it kind of cool and discussed the merits of different kinds of snowshoes with me. And then I cooked supper and wrote this.

It was FUN and RANDOM and I'm glad I did it.


THIS was a bigger challenge than getting close to the hashpoint. I have the raw data if anyone really cares. This map courtesy of GPS Visualizer and a whole DAY spent trying to get rid of extraneous crap Garmin added to the file and the rest of the time the thing was turned on. As good as it gets.

And it seems I DID manage a circle around the hashpoint and got closer than I thought. You have to zoom in to actually see that.

map on google



dunstergirl earned the Virgin Graticule Achievement
by being the first to reach any hashpoint in the (53, -119) graticule, here, on 2012-03-04.
December2011 155.jpg

dunstergirl earned the Land geohash achievement
by reaching the (53, -119) geohash on 2012-03-04.