2013-09-27 42 -88
Alongside the Fox River in Carpentersville, IL
When I checked the area hash points in the morning, I was quite surprised to see that this one was 1: not in Wisconsin, and 2: in a forest preserve, meaning public lands. I debated whether or not to go when I noticed that it was about a mile from Raceway Woods, a forest preserve in Carpentersville that contains the abandoned Meadowdale Raceway. I've been wanting to go there for a few years, but could never justify the trip up from Bolingbrook. I then checked the weather and saw 78° and sunny in the forecast. That settled it, I had to go!
From the aerial photos it looked like the point was in a flood plain, so I packed an extra set of clothes, my camera gear, and my bike into my sister's van and headed out. The drive was uneventful and I arrived at the Raceway Woods parking lot off Route 31 shortly after 13:30. With so much daylight left, I decided that the hash point could wait, and headed to the front straight of the old track on my bike to do a lap. I was completely unprepared for the elevation changes. Down the front stretch I easily coasted to 40mph, navigated the downhill first turn at 35mph, which was terrifying, and couldn't pedal my way up the hill after the "esses". I couldn't ride up the hill onto the back stretch either, so I stopped to rest and take photos on the old racing surface. After a few minutes, I completed my lap (3.2 miles in 20.5 minutes!) and headed back to the van, where I guzzled the remainder of my water and considered taking a short nap before heading for the hash.
After resting up for a bit, I decided that naps were for babies and headed out on foot around 14:45. The plan was to walk down Commerce Parkway, which led into an industrial park, and off the end into the woods. That plan was shot down by a prominent "No Trespassing" sign at the end of the road. I back tracked to Route 31 and walked over to the corn field adjacent to the industrial park. The thinking was that if I walked through the brush along the border of the crops, I wouldn't technically be on industrial property, and wouldn't technically be in the field either. Before I got more than halfway down the length of the field, however, I encountered many thorns and burrs, and with my athletic shorts covered in them, decided that walking the additional mile to the hash was not a good idea. I retreated back to the van to change into the heavy jeans I had brought with.
Now making my third attempt to reach the hash, I had no problem fighting through the brush and thorns to the rear of the field where I encountered shoulder high prairie grasses. I stopped in a small clearing for a photo, then proceeded into the trees. The vegetation changed almost too quickly to photograph. Sometimes it was ankle high weeds, sometimes waist high thorn bushes. I did my best to follow wildlife trails so as to disturb the environment as little as possible. This led me past a hunting blind, and eventually a small creek, that I paralleled until I found a suitable crossing point.
Eventually, I came to a field of tall prairie grasses, and with less than 300 feet to go, I had to abandon the wildlife trails in search of the hash point. I did what I can assume is the standard GPS dance, and found a spot almost exactly on the hash coordinates at 16:20. I took some photos with my hashfox Collin, and began to follow the GPS route back towards the road. I found a fallen tree over which I was able to cross the creek, and followed the ever lowering sun back to the corn field. Despite feeling dehydrated, which I later cured at a gas station on the way home, I made it back to the van having thoroughly enjoyed my first geohashing adventure!
| Mystrsyko earned the Land geohash achievement