2012-10-08 37 -80

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Mon 8 Oct 2012 in 37,-80:
37.0565762, -80.4743572

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A large, grassy farm field surrounded by rolling hills. Located on the eastern side of Fairview Church Road, approx 15 minutes from I-81 and 5 minutes from Riner, Virginia.


  • Kigaia visited this geohash with
  • Anu,
  • Heeli, and
  • Menae.


We had already planned an outing to enjoy the fall weather and take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the natural scenery, particularly the vibrant color change happening during this period. When we discovered the day's geohash coordinates was located mere moments away from our planned route we decided to add it to our day's adventures.


Initially we assessed the geohash to be a quick 5 minute detour for us, just a few hundred yards from the route we were planning to take anyway. That turned out to be only partly true.

Indeed, the geohash was located in a field about 300 feet from the detoured road and it sounded simple enough -- swing by the geohash and then head to the parkway. However... when we arrived we realized there was no easy way to get into the field. The edge of the road had a very narrow shoulder that dropped off to the edge of a short cliff about three feet from the road. There was not enough room to park the vehicle and if the sharp, vertical drop-off wasn't enough of a barrier, there was also mesh safety fencing several feet high, leaving no way to climb or hike into the field below, at least not if we wanted all body parts intact.

We decided to try Plan B, a nearby road that offered a different angle of approach. We'd spotted a parallel road on the GPS that seemed to be located just over a small hill on the other side of the field. However, it turned out to be a residential area with fenced, private lots that backed up to a heavily wooded area. A no-go. We reversed direction and surveyed the field from the original road again.

That's when Anu spotted a gravel road running through the field in the distance. We missed it on the first two passes because it was barely visible from our vantage point, hidden somewhat by bushes and the hilly terrain. We drove down the main road until we found an entrance to the gravel road -- yay! Oh, wait, it was barred by a large, locked gate. Hmmm, what to do...

Across the road stood a large house overlooking the field. Maybe they owned the property? We drove up to politely ask permission to access the gravel road, trying to figure out how to explain our adventure without sounding like crazy people.

A very nice little old lady answered the door and she sure was chatty! She told us excitedly about her son visiting from out west and about her neighbor Joe, but she didn't know anything about the field or the gated gravel road. A friendly tabby cat appeared on the porch and began winding itself around our legs as we stood talking. We stooped down to give her some scratches, at which point the lady started talking to the cat so we used the opportunity to excuse ourselves. On the way back to the car Heeli said, "Hey, we just got a Hashcat achievement!"

We headed down to the driveway, intending to park at the bottom and walk the shoulder of the road looking for access point into the field. But as we were leaving a white SUV pulled into the driveway. The tags said Wyoming, so we assumed it was her son from out west. He gave us a curious but protective stare-down when we passed by. After that we were hesitant to leave the car parked at the bottom of the driveway, in case he'd think we were casing the house or up to no good in some way and call the police.

Time for Plan D. The problem -- we had no Plan D... or was it Plan E at this point? We'd lost track. And we'd already been driving around the same small patch of roads for 30 minutes. There was talk of giving up and going home.

But a-ha! We finally found a safe spot to pull off the road about a quarter of a mile away from the geohash. The parking spot offered more even access to the field as well. Anu and Heeli volunteered to go find the geohash point while Menae and I waited with the car in case we need to move it, since we weren't sure if we were parked on public property or someone's private lot. They set off with the GPS and a camera, trudging through wet, thick grass and bramble bushes.

I should mention that although we'd hoped for sunny weather and a pretty autumn day, we got the opposite -- cold and wet. There was a blast of arctic air sweeping down from Canada at the same time a stream of moisture was arriving from the Gulf. Needless to say, it was quite chilly and it drizzled the entire time we were hunting the geohash.

So they set off over a hill, heading in the direction of the field. They were gone for what seemed like a long time. When they returned Anu said his nose was freezing and Heeli's shoes were soaked from walking in the wet grass. Anu said he walked in circles for several minutes trying to pinpoint the exact location but got frustrated because the GPS would never confirm that he was closer than 2 feet -- I guess he wanted to identify the precise square inch of earth?

The other issue was our camera -- it was malfunctioning and would not autofocus. He said, "I took 42 pictures of blurry nothingness. So I gave up and took one good picture of the GPS with my cell phone."

I asked if during all that circle-walking and picture-taking did he manage to take a photo of the two of them standing at the geohash? Nope, he said after the frustration of fiddling around in the rain with the equipment they were ready to get back to the warm, dry car so they stowed the electronics and hauled themselves back to the parking spot in a hurry.

And that concludes our first geohashing adventure.



Kigaia and Family earned the Virgin Graticule Achievement
by being the first to reach any hashpoint in the (37, -80) graticule, here, on 2012-10-08.
Kigaia Family earned the Drowned Rat Geohash Honourable Mention
by reaching the (37, -80) geohash on 2012-10-08 despite being partially wet from trudging through thick, wet fields on a rainy day.
  • Land geohash