2012-03-09 34 -89
In a clearing in Byhalia, MS
Looks like it isn't on private property! About a 40 minute drive south from collierville. Mayor and Amanda will maybe drive down in the afternoon and give it a shot.
I left my apartment at around 5:50 and drove south towards the hash point in northern Mississippi. Amanda unfortunately couldn't come with me today. The plan was to park the car on the side of the road and then walk the rest of the way to the hash, which was a little over half a mile away, through a big straight clearing. It looked to be a straight shot, but I had no idea what the terrain would be like other than a lack of trees. I should have left earlier, because when I got there, the daylight was almost gone, and I knew it'd be dark long before I got to the hash.
Immediately after I started walking, I realized this was not going to be super easy like I hoped. Most of the entire swath was covered in thorns and brambles. I had to meander around a bit to find a nice little trail of worn down vegetation and dirt made by a car or four-by-four. Around this time, I started hearing a strange clicking or thumping sound. At first I thought it was a motorcycle engine, or even a helicopter (or perhaps the smoke monster from Lost?). But it seemed too low to the ground to be a chopper, and there weren't any roads for a motorcycle. I thought it was perhaps a brook making a weird babbling sound, but that just didn't seem right. It was kinda creepy, but I just kept going.
Over the first hill I found the first fence. Old, rusty barbed wire-- yikes. I looked around for any signs indicating private property, but found only a post that said something about a petroleum pipeline. Not sure what that meant, but it didn't say "get out" or "no trespassing" or anything like that. So I hopped the fence (is that against the geohashing rules?) and kept going. The clicking sound continued. Still from the same heading, even though I'd moved, but it sounded just as close as before.
Over another hill, down another valley, and another fence. Same deal as before: petroleum pipeline business. There was a gate to this fence, it was extremely rusted and wasn't even locked. It couldn't have been opened wide enough for a vehicle in many years, since the bushes and small trees that had grown up around it wouldn't allow it to open up more than two or three feet. So I squeezed past and kept on going. Still the clicking continued. Again, mysteriously, emanating from the same heading and sounding just as close as before.
From here on, the brambles and thorns were at a minimum, walking was easy, but it was very, very dark. I took a few moments to fully enjoy the lack of light pollution. I could barely make out a significant drop in elevation ahead. Probably a creek. And then-- oh God, what was that? Something was moving in the bushes off to my left (the mystery clicking was still mysteriously clicking away off to my right) as well as a little bit dead ahead of me. I froze in my tracks. Rustle... rustle... rustle-rustle... ... rustle It didn't sound angry, and if it were a person, I figured it probably would have said something, so I shined my flashlight over there to see what it was. Couldn't see anything. I turned it off and waited. More rustling. And then I saw it. Well, sort of. A large, dark mass was moving north along the treeline. In my mind, it was some bizarre combination of a) a wild boar, b) Shadowmere, and c) a dire wolf. I shined my flashlight over there again. Two glowing eyes stared back. But I started to realize this thing was likely not a threat. It's eyes were low to the ground, even though it's body was much bigger. And the way the head moved suggested the neck was quite long. It was a horse! Shadowmere! No, not really. It didn't seem to give me much regard, and kept on its way after I stopped shining my flashlight at him. I figured that's what the rustling ahead was as well, and kept on my way.
Now at this point it did come to mind that maybe I was on somebody's property, but I didn't see any signs indicating such, and I couldn't even see any lights from houses or such, so I kept on going. I was right about the dip being a creek, but it was a really easy cross.
Up on the other side, I was really close to the hash. I wasn't constantly looking at my iPhone for fear of falling in a ditch / getting eaten, so I actually passed the hash at one point. I turned around and came to the edge of the trees, just a few yards away from the hash. A convenient little clearing! I waltzed right onto the hash and-- oh God, what was that? More rustling. Right. In. Front. Of. Me. This time I was not so convinced it was a horse (even though it probably was), so I crouched down with the flashlight in one hand and a (tiny) knife in the other, just in case. Yes, I was probably being stupidly paranoid, but hey, it was dark and I haven't done too much outdoorsing in these parts. I crouched there for a few minutes before deciding this thing wasn't really a threat, braved a few pictures (of nothing but darkness), and then bolted. I took my own picture just on the edge of the trees, and booked it back to the car.
... but not before running into Shadowmere again. This time, he remained completely unseen, so I was still a little paranoid, but I just kept walking. Okay, trotting. Running, I was running back to my car, okay?! It was dark! Shut up.
P.S. The clicking never went away. The entire walk there and back, it sounded like it was coming from the trees to the southwest, at about ground level. The volume and frequency varied a little bit, and once it got so loud i thought it was right next to me. But as I kept walking, i never got nearer to it. If anybody knows what that might have been, please, by all means, tell me.
| MayorOfBoxTown earned the Land geohash achievement
|MayorOfBoxTown earned the Virgin Graticule Achievement|