2013-05-08 39 -77
100 ft west of the Appalachian trail, at the border of VA and WV. The nearest town is Shannondale, WV, which looks like a community built into the side of a mountain for vacation homes in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Very steep maze of one lane wide roads blanketing the side of a mountain, with nice second homes for the well off Government contractors in the Washington, DC area.
The hashpoint itself is literally ON the border of Virginia and West Virginia. No matter how far you zoom in, the marker is right on the border.
I saw this location on the 8th and realized it was one I could definitely drag Allison to, due to its proximity to the Appalachian Trail. It's about a 1hr 15m drive from my house. Looked like an interesting area and a decent amount of hiking so I decided to wait for the weekend to do it with Allison. She came to my house at about 3pm on Saturday, May 11th.
I logged into the IRC channel to see if anyone wanted to watch us livestream it. Antior was around and said sure, so we set up a tinychat room and set off.
We were driving Allison's car, and she didn't bring her iPhone, so we were working with my Droid RAZR only. Since we didn't have my car charger, we went into the Tinychat every 20 minutes or so to give an update. When we left it was slightly cloudy in Rockville, and about 3/4 of the way to Frederick, we were in an absolute downpour that required everyone to slow down from 70 MPH to 50. We drove through it and made our way to the spot, taking a few turns and actually traversing a slice of Virginia for a few miles before getting into Shannondale.
Having no idea what the deal was, we thought there would be trail access from the maze of roads, but once we got up in there, it was just house lots. The map showed a small driveway that was actually a driveway to a house. We parked there and knocked on the door. As expected, the owners were not spending this chilly weekend in May at their Blue Ridge vacation home. We set out up an incredibly steep slope toward the hash. From where we parked it was about 1150 feet to the hash, which constitutes the farthest I've had to travel on foot to get to a hashpoint. I noticed that the phone battery was only 10 percent, and I realized that this was a race against the clock. I wanted to take a pic at the hash and upload it, and also broadcast on Tinychat our victory.
So we started climbing through the trees and luckily, the underbrush was sparse. We were doing an extended version of the GPS dance and entered Virginia to reach a point on the trail about 100 feet to the south of the point on the trail nearest the hash, so we went up the trail and I can now officially say I've walked on the Appalachian Trail. It was surprisingly rocky. The trail is on the ridge line so we had essentially climbed a mountain. Yay!
So once I went the hundred feet, it was time to head back toward W. Va and to the hash. I had less than 5% of battery left at this point and was able to take a pic and upload it to this wiki page, and then open up the Tinychat app again. We showed a panorama and tried to show the view down into a valley in Virginia. It was hard to see through the trees but also very beautiful.
We basked in the congratulations of our friends Antior and relet, and relet told us we had also gained over 100m of elevation in our climb (it felt like more to me but he's the cartographer). We shut down the phone and headed back to the car with some trepidation, since we would have no guide on the way back. We stopped and kissed romantically to celebrate, and walked down the mountain. We passed a couple who were walking their dog (well, passed within about 150 feet of them, but close enough to yell a greeting and exchange waves).
We got back to the car and headed back to civilization. On the way home we saw a sign that said "Stream Access" so we followed a narrow, winding road all the way down to the Shenandoah River, where there was a ramp for citizens to put a boat in the water. So in a very short period of time we went from the very top of a mountain all the way to a river at its base. It was cool to experience all that geography.
In any case, many thanks to our friends from Europe who tuned in and joined us on this fun journey.
- Land geohash