2015-03-01 49 19
In a field near a ditch just off Działowskiego street in the Kobierzyn district of Kraków, Poland.
Malgond with kids.
- I don't have a GPS, but there are some reference points nearby, so I'll try to use them. I've made some measurements on Google Maps.
- I plan to earn the Juggernaut achievement. Here's a straight line from the nearest section of paved road close to my home:
We've reached the spot, albeit not in so straight a line - boggy terrain.
Over the ditch
We have started in a street near our home. I have checked the compass and off we went through the field. The group of trees located just south of our 260° track could be clearly seen so I just headed towards what looked like the rightmost one. It turned out that there was still another, smaller tree to the right so we went to the right of it. Thorns and dense patches of high dry cane weren't going to stop us! Finally we've arrived at the ditch crossing our track. I had originally indended to jump over it, but it happened to be much wider then it used to be closer to home, so I went with the backup plan of going a little to the south of our intended track along the ditch and crossing it by the nearby bridge.
Wild boars' amusement park
After crossing the ditch we went a short distance along the dirt road being the extension of Małysiaka street that runs along the church and looked back towards our home to re-establish ourselves on our track using the compass. Then we've turned towards our destination. The terrain was rising a little and obscuring the view with a featureless field of dry grass and low bushes. I have checked the compass again to get the general direction and we have entered an abandoned construction site that lies across the street from the church. Two digressions are due.
- The site had been an empty field once. Several years ago it had been fenced, levelled, bushes uprooted and several legally required signs had been posted saying that a row of homes is going to be built there. Some excavations had started, then nothing happened for a long time. Today, as we happened to see, there's no trace of construction signs, the fence is in a sorry state and excavations are filled. The mysterious lighter-coloured rectangles that can bee seen on Google Maps there (see my plan) are traces of the former excavations.
- Wild boars are somewhat abundant in Poland. Sprawling cities invade into their natural habitats, and the beasts are sometimes seen roaming through suburban areas. There were many rumors of wild boars appearing within our local community, some people reported seeing them, but the scariest rumor has been that the boars are lurking in the field by the church. The last rumor we've proved to be true. A charging boar is dangerous, and even if actual attacks are very rare, poeple are afraid of them; some poeple hearing the rumor even stopped attending evening services at the church.
After not so many steps into the construction site I have spotted some animal droppings. At first I was not sure to which animal they belong (domestic ones have not been seen there for many years), but finding wild boar tracks left no doubt. A little further we've encoutered a truly marvellous place: boars' rooting site that was a former excavation. Human works had broken the heavy thick wild turf ovegrown with millions of tangled roots and when the hole in the ground had been filled with overthrown soil, a soft spot had been created. Wild boars root for food and for fun; this place is a perfect playground for piglets. The whole rectangle of the former excavation has been thoroughly uprooted. There were many tracks and even a likely imprint of a wild boar's nose.
We explored the area for a while and continued on our journey by going through a hole in the fence. We walked a little uphill through the field until we've reached the highest point of our track on a spur of a hill. We've looked back for the last glance of our home and to verify that we were more-or-less on track. Looking forward, we could see the line of trees that marked a point near our destination.
Down into a bog
Walking slightly downhill we've encountered more hawthorn bushes and still more dry cane. Our track led us through several patches of cane and we have walked right through them, me first, treading upon and stomping the dry plants, and the boys following me along the trodden path. Interestingly, the patches often had little glades in the middle of them, where the stems where lying flat on the ground. I cannot explain why it was so, maybe some natural phenomenon that caused the plants to wither or - the more I think about it the more probable it seems - they were stomped and pressed by wild boars lying there to hide and rest... Fortunately, we haven't encountered any of these animals. Now, I regret I had not examined the ground there for any possible tracks.
Soon, we've arrived at the first of the three lines of bushes crossing our track. We've stopped in a gap in the second line, the one bordering a strip of tilled land, approximately at half distance to the geohash. We've all had a sip of water and a home-made pizza-roll and continued on our way.
Avid geohashers will know what going downhill through a field means. It gets wetter and wetter. The boys had got rubber boots, but I don't have any, so all I got was a pair of old sneakers I was reluctant to throw away - so today is going to be the day, no problem. We were hopping from a clump of grass to another and another to avoid pools of water. A short way from the last line of bushes we've found signs of wild boars' activity again: a place where they were taking a bath in mud and a rooting site. Then there was another patch of cane on our track, this time it was thoroughly boggy and I struggled to find a way through it, weaving left and right. Finally we got out of it, most likely a little north of our track just on the traverse of an unfinished home and a small hillock or just an overgrown heap of soil.
The terrain was getting more and more boggy. Even when standing on clumps of grass I was ankle-deep in water. The boys are lighter so they did not sink very much - and they had rubber boots. I was still hoping to get through the bog and we were jumping left and right trying to find better spots until I have seen this. Pools of water were lying before us and a thicket of cane was obscuring the view of the the ground, possibly hiding more traps. Going further would probably mean wading knee-deep in the bog and risking loosing a boot or two in the mud. The boy's mother won't be happy. The line of trees we were aiming at was so close, just behind the cane field, but I had to forgo the juggernaut challenge - or maybe not? I'll make the requisite calculations later.
Looking around I had concluded that going to the left towards the ditch could land us in deeper trouble, so I decided to detour to the right but it was not easy to find a way. Finally, we had to go back to the point where we had emerged from the previous patch of cane and waddle to the hillock that was to the north of our track and from there to the unfinished home. There the terrain was drier. Once the challenge had been dropped I had decided to get to paved road as soon as possible. We've turned west and going along a fence finally crossed the line of trees that was our guiding landmark until now. The path to the west was blocked by another fence behind which there was a hedge of fir-trees at the border of someone's property. We've turned back south and pressed on through thorny bushes along the fence.
The boys started complaining already, therefore seeing a damaged section of the fence I decided to take a short cut. We've entered a lot with mowed lawn and beehives on it - and what looked like an improvised shelter or a shed. Seeing us, my daughter ran towards us; my wife and father-in-law waited on the road. After joining our company that walked there by a much longer, but twice as fast way, walking briskly we've arrived at the place where the road crossed the ditch. Our destination was not far from there.
To the Marking Tree
Last Friday, when I had looked up the geohashes for the week-end, two thoughts striked me: first, that the Sunday's hash is so close to my home, second, that the point is so close to a lone tree growing at a ditch. I thought it would be quite easy to get to the hash without a GPS device. It is this tree, almost marking the geohash, which inspired me to go for my fist geohashing expedition. Had I not tried to be ambitious by taking the juggernaut challenge, the whole affair would be a piece of cake.
The Marking Tree was there, clearly seen from the bridge crossing the ditch. We have entered the field, which was quite level and dry, and soon arrived at the tree. It grows right at the ditch indeed. I produced a measurment tape out of my pocket and proceeded with finding the right spot. The bank of the ditch was overgrown with cane, so instead of measuring the distance from the Marking Tree along the ditch first and then across as planned, we did it the other way round.
Hurray! We've successfully finished our first goehashing expedition! We've made a few photos there and then walked back to the road to join the mother and the grandfather of the brave sturdy boys for a nice walk home.
As this was my first expedition I'll just claim the land geohash achievement for the record. Besides, this was also a walking expedition, with company, and without a GPS device! Summarily, it makes a nice combo for a start.
| Malgond earned the Land geohash achievement
| Malgond earned the Walk geohash Achievement
| Malgond earned the Drag-along achievement
| Malgond earned the No Batteries Geohash Achievement
|Malgond earned the Virgin Graticule Achievement|
We have taken the juggernaut challenge but Mother Nature interfered. We could have achieved it still - I'll try to reconstruct our path and make the measurements on Google Maps later to see how much we've deviated from the straight line. If I conclude that we've managed to stay within allowed margins, I'll prepare a detailed drawings referencing photos taken and terrain features seen on Google's aerial photos.
My daughter - without me knowing it - had brought crayons and paper with her and made a drawing, so she had qualified for the geobrush achievement. But it is not my achievement. Creating a separate account for her just to put a ribbon on it doesn't make much sense.
I have planned to add a yet unofficial musical achievement by bringing a harmonica - but I forgot to play it on the spot! Next time I need to prepare a checklist. Instead, I played marching tunes on our way home. The boys tried their own tunes as well, with limited success.