2014-09-07 41 -78
Allegheny National Forest, south of Bradford
Saw a great opportunity to get the Virgin Graticule achievement and get +1 to the Minesweeper achievement. The hash is just off Rt 219 which also runs close to where I live. The map shows a topographical depression where the hash is, but I'm hoping that its just a large ditch or two ridges with a mini valley.
Our adventure to the Virgin Graticule began a little before 14:00 and we had a long drive down the 219 to Pennsylvania. It was mostly uneventful but we did pass the Zippo Museum just past Bradford. While admission is free, I don't think they would appreciate Simon romping around in the museum, so we continued on our way.
We arrived in the Allegheny National Forest and began to watch for our turn which turned out to be the only paved road heading deeper into the Forest lands. The hash was just off this road about 200 feet away and we found the proper
logging road oil-rig access road* to park by. After an hour and a half in the car, Simon was very excited to go exploring as we closed in on the hash. Now that we were there, that depression in the land started to look more and more like a swamp but this being a Virgin Grat. I was still willing to get there no matter what. As we continued on the road, there was a small ridge forming and looking over it I could definitely see standing water. We closed to about 140 feet when it was time to head into the woods and down the ridge to the hash. As we got closer to the hash, it was clear that this was a swamp and the hash was in it. Further, while it was nice to look at with all the wild-flowers, there was also that rotten swampy smell in the air. I decided to walk to the edge and get as close as I could and make a decision on the next move. It was at this point I was going to seriously consider how bad I wanted to make it because wading through that fragrant swamp was going to have consequences.
So I work my way to the water and right there are 3 metal pipes coming out of the hillside and heading into the water about 5 feet in. I initially thought to climb on these and at least get that much closer but then I saw this old, rotting, fallen tree right next to the pipes. Not really paying attention to how close I was getting, I was just happy to get further out into the swamp without getting wet and stinky. I balanced on the log and worked my way out to the end and had to yell at Simon a few times since he was bounding around me and almost knocking me in. At the end of the log, I looked at the GPS and to my utter amazement, it read 5 feet, and I whipped up my camera to get the proof before it jumped higher. Instead of getting further away, the reading started to go down and for a very brief moment(right after I got the 1.25 Feet away picture) it read 0.0! I couldn't believe it. The hash fell 15 feet into a swamp in a Virgin Graticule and this tree fell a long time ago just so I could make it without getting pretty gross! I was feeling great and then on my way back to safety and land, Simon leaps next to me, brushing my leg and pushing me just a bit off balance. AAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I'm going in!
Rather than do everything I can to stay on the log and possibly go head-long into the water, I surrender to gravity and step off the log. It looked like the water was over my boot but I got back on the log as quickly as possible and wondered why I didn't yet feel water on my toes. Safely back on firm ground, I lifted my pants to see the water-line only go to my laces and I was grateful for gore-tex. Virgin Graticule conquered, we explored some of the overgrown
logging access roads and then headed back to the car.
*Turns out these roads are to access the oil rigs throughout this oil rich region. Not being from around this area, I was unfamiliar.
| This user earned the Land geohash achievement
|Pedalpusher earned the Virgin Graticule Achievement|
|Oil City, PA||St. Mary's, PA||Williamsport, PA|