2013-01-18 49 -123
Right beside the Sea-to-Sky highway just before Porteau Cove.
Robyn to pick up Wade at his work at 17:40, then both to pick up Rhonda at her home at 18:05. Drive to parking area at Porteau Road. Cross highway on overpass, walk to hash point. Take pictures, have fun. Snowshoes should not be required.
Should be about 45 minutes each way, and street view shows a nice grassy area beside the road where the hashpoint is.
This ought to be a pretty easy one, a rarity in the Vancouver graticule!
There was waiting involved. And it was more adventurous than we expected, for a simple roadside hashpoint.
 The Road to Porteau
Robyn was three minutes early to pick up Wade, and consequently waited two minutes and thirty seconds for him emerge from the building to board the vehicle. We then waited for lots of rush hour traffic and made disapproving judgmental comments about the crazy people who ricochet through downtown rush hour traffic without waiting for things like lights or pedestrians.
Rhonda waited about fifteen minutes for Robyn and Wade to arrive, and then we all set off north along the Sea-to-Sky highway towards the geohash. The Sea-to-Sky is part of highway 99, previously documented as one of only three roads that go anywhere in the graticule. Given that information, it's not surprising that this was familiar ground for the three geohashers. Porteau Cove has been the launching point for two kayak geohashes, for example.
Everything went well until Lions Bay, where we stopped for traffic at 18:38. The road ahead curved in and out of the sea cliffs and we could see tail lights stopped all the way around the furthest corner. There was an accident somewhere up ahead and two lanes in both directions shut down for about an hour. The mountainous terrain made it impossible to receive AM radio broadcasts, but we had cellular wireless and discovered that there was a head-on collision further up the road. We had a nice chat in the car while waiting for things to start back up. We moved about 200 metres and then stopped again for another half hour.
 20:00 moving again
It was only seven kilometres to the parking spot we had picked, a designated parking spot for hikers in the area, so safe to park and assemble our equipment for the assault on the geohash itself.
We assembled flashlights, swords, and a flashlight sword (a.k.a. light sabre), GPS units (three, two with working batteries), a dinosaur, cameras, boots, reflective tape, compass, car keys and then locked the car and set off. We crossed the overpass and then followed an exit ramp along the side of the road for two or three hundred metres. Then we realized that "right beside the road" meant through a shallow ditch and up a berm. When we got to the top of the berm we saw that it meant an additional fifteen metres down a steep slope towards the trees. The angle was steep enough that had it been a smooth incline, it would have been too steep to descend in the evening frost, but it was grassy and lumpy so there were lots of things to stand on. We all went down, remarking delightedly at how rarely one gets to go down to the geohash.
 21:15 at geohash
With two GPS units, only one of which was capable of telling us the compass bearing to the point, the GPS dance was intricate and amusing, but eventually the units agreed on a spot. We did things with swords and cameras and grins, but given the unexpectedly long time getting there, we didn't stay long.
It was easier going back up the hill and we were in the car in no time, on the almost empty road home. On a Friday night most people on that road are heading north out of Vancouver to Whistler, not into town. The traffic was still very heavy northbound. The accident must have backed it up all the way to Vancouver. We safely navigated all the curves of the Sea-to-Sky and were back on the Upper Levels portion of highway 99 when a burst of action surged towards the front right corner of the car. The headlights illuminated a large healthy-looking deer. Robyn, driving, swerved slightly away from it, but we still heard and felt a bang as we struck it. We suspect it is no longer quite so healthy.
 21:45 waiting for the police
The car was driving fine, but making a wind noise it wasn't before and we figured we should let somebody know about an injured deer potentially still on a busy highway, so we took the very next exit and noted the exit number as we left the highway. We found a place to park right beside the exit then called the non-emergency number for the local police, looking for whomever one calls to help injured deer, and it connected us to the emergency number. They took the details and said they would send a car. Meanwhile we discovered that the right door of the car wouldn't open, because of damage to the panel in front of it, but overall the car had taken very little damage, giving hope for the continued health of the deer.
The police arrived quickly, a constable named Steve in a car that didn't look much like a police car, but he turned on his flashing lights for a moment as he heard us discussing whether it qualified as one. Steve was friendly and basically just verified that we were all okay, the car was drive-able, and made a note of the location and extent of the damage for statistics purposes.
We all climbed back in the driver's door and got from there to Rhonda's and thence to Wade and Robyn's without further adventure.
| Robyn, Wade, and Rhonda earned the Police Geohash Achievement
I e-mailed the police officer who attended and he says:
- Hi Robyn,
- We were unable to locate the deer that ran into the side of your car on the highway. That hopefully is a good thing. :Fingers are crossed that the deer heals from the bumps and bruises.
Astonishingly the damage was estimated at $3000. I tell you if they waived the deductible, gave me a can of anti-corrosion patch paint and made it so the passenger-side door would open, I'd be willing to call it even.