2010 Discussions
This page should be for Graticule discussions, not expedition reports. The expedition reports each get their own page so they can be easily categorized and located. See the help and Expedition on reporting about it. Jiml 07:15, 19 July 2010 (UTC)
2010-07-18 30 -86 Today's meetup location was in another part of the Eglin reservation open to the public--again, permit required, but Liberian still has his. And a good thing he does: as he was finishing his loading up from the car to start walking, who should drive up but a couple of Eglin security police! "Do you have your range pass?" "Yes, sir, right here it is." A bit more back-and-forth with a short explanation of geohashing and Liberian was on his way. Range roads and trails, marked and unmarked, got him within a hundred feet of the meetup, and the rest was open forest. There may have been a fire through there a few years ago. Liberian was an hour late, but nobody else had been by: there were several dozen intact spider webs stretched across the trails. Liberian got there without further incident, made the "XKCD" mark on the ground, took a couple of photos, and drank the celebratory Gator-Ade.
2010-07-17 30 -86 Today's meetup location was in a part of the Eglin reservation open to the public--permit required, but Liberian has his--about a third of a mile from the main road and maybe a thousand feet from the nearest range road. Liberian, having some rather serious time constraints later in the day, showed up at 11:30 AM for an attempt.
Google maps shows fairly open range between the nearest road and the location, at least until the last hundred feet or so. Unfortunately for Liberian, he approached the spot from the southeast and ran into thick brush about 300 feet away. Between nearly impenetrable brush (it was a creek bottom) and squirrely GPS reception, that last 300 feet took him half a mile and most of an hour. He got to within about sixty feet before giving up. He counted sixteen scratches on his right knee afterwards.
Better luck tomorrow.
2010-05-30 30 -86 Bos and Liberian met in Niceville and headed out towards Mossy Head for the meet-up location. Google Maps showed a relatively open wooded area north of I-10 and south of US 90. Unfortunately Google Maps is rather out of date; the place has been taken over by a sand mining company with very eloquent "No Trespassing" signs. They decided not to trespass. They did, however, take in an easy geocache on the way out and two relatively easy survey benchmarks on the way back. (We will pass in silence over the four other benchmarks which they did not find.)
2010-03-02 30 -86 If only ...
If only I had gotten home before 9 PM to find that today's location was out on the sound where I go kayaking regularly during the summer ...
If only the weather had not been forty degrees (Fahrenheit) with a strong north wind ...
If only the water temperature were something above sixty degrees ...
2010-02-04 30 -86 It was a dark and stormy night, but this was a meet-up location of the sort that people wait years for. It was well within the city limits of the greater Fort Walton Beach metropolitan area--no Eglin range hiking here--and only some tens of feet from the road, in a business' parking lot. (I wonder if any representatives of Paradise Paper will ever read this ...) Liberian got home around 9:30 PM, promptly looked up the meet-up location, and then dropped everything and headed out to it. He got there at 10:00 PM, dodging rain squalls, and took a few photographs. They're pretty nondescript, what with the dark and the storm. But this was a metropolitan meet-up location and was not to be missed.
 2009 Discussions
2009-12-27 30 -86 Today's location pretty much dropped into our laps. It was just over a quarter-mile off State Highway 285 on an open area of the Eglin Reservation, up a sand road, and then ten feet to the side into light brush. The intrepid crew, consisting of Bos, RH, Natural Beauty, Ray-Gun, and Liberian congregated at 4:30 in Niceville at a preliminary meeting point 10.1 miles from the official meet-up point and piled into Bos' van. (Many thanks, Bos.) They headed up Highway 285 until they came to the side road and then took the packed dirt road instead of the sand road. The entrance to the sand road was blocked, after all. After driving half a mile up the dirt road and recognizing that they had passed the point, Bos turned the van around and parked it at the entrance to the sand road. The intrepid crew stepped over the cable blocking the sand road to vehicle traffic and started the walk. I really can't dignify the excursion with the term "hike." Just over a quarter-mile later they came to the intersection of two sand roads where the meet-up point fell and found ... three pick-up trucks parked there. Evidently there is a way to drive in; they just didn't find it. After taking various photographs to prove that they were at the right place at the right time, Liberian broke out some brownies and they all celebrated. The western sky was gorgeous; sunset had happened about a half-hour earlier.
2009-10-14 30 -86 Egad! Has it really been six months since the last entry here? Today's location is a case of "so near, and yet so far." It's behind the fence near the end of the Eglin runway. The Security Police would take a very dim view of suspicious people (by which I mean "people") gathering for a geohash there.
- Didn't check it out soon enough or we could have done. Turns out access to this general area is easy with military ID card. Road around northwest end of runway is accessible to joggers so that could be us long enough to hit the hash point. Will keep it in mind for next opportunity. --Bos 19:44, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
2009-03-29 30 -86 Today's location would have been an easy one--eastbound on I-10--but the pressures of other things needing to be done prevented Liberian from making the expedition. Alas.
- Me too. Bummer. Would have been fun. Next time. Hope to see you soon. --Bos 03:00, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
2009-03-21 30 -86 Both locations this weekend are on land in apparently accessible areas. Bos, Power Tool, and Liberian met up in Niceville at 3:00 (the meet-up time being 5:00 in this graticule) and headed north towards Crestview and the meet-up location. They took in three geocaches around Bob Sikes Airport on the way up but found no opportunity to "commit aviation," to use Bos' term. Heading east along Poverty Creek Road to a point north of the location, where the maps showed a faint road going south. A friendly local came over to ask what they were doing and Bos explained ("You know the game where pilots throw a dart at a map and then go fly to the place where it sticks?"). They invited the local man to join them but he declined, wishing them luck and mentioning that they should look out for the gators. And then into the forest it was; the faint road on the map was nowhere to be found. After about a quarter of a mile through thick undergrowth they came upon a wide open area which they followed for another good quarter of a mile. Then it was into the thick undergrowth again for the final quarter mile. Liberian and Power Tool got separated from Bos by a few hundred feet and were at the point of giving up 300 feet northeast of the location. They stopped to listen for Bos and heard him making steady progress to their west. They called out to him asking how he was doing and he said he was about 100 feet from the location and making progress. Power Tool and Liberian backtracked a bit, bushwhacked west to catch up with Bos, and the three of them all arrived at the meet-up location around 5:30. "Gentlemen, this calls for a celebration," said Liberian, and broke out three bottles of Gator-Ade. That was as close as the group came to gators that afternoon. After taking photographic proof for the Velociraptor Award (giving blood while on a geohash), they realized that the sun was starting to go down and they still had to get back to the road. After another quarter-mile through the thick undergrowth (easier this time, since they weren't aiming for a specific point), they came out to the clear area and followed it half a mile east to the road. Half a mile later they were back at Bos' van and picking up two more geocaches on the way home.
2009-02-16 30 -86 (Prediction) Today's location is on an open (not forbidden) area of the Eglin Range. Liberian and Power Tool plan to be there at 5:00.
[The Event] Power Tool and Liberian met in Niceville and drove north towards the meet-up point. They turned off 85 onto the clay road and drove towards the setting sun for a fraction of a mile. Where the main clay road turned off towards the left they got out and walked the rest of the way. Interestingly, although the Eglin range map shows the entire area as being open, the south side of the road had signs posted saying no entry. Fortunately the meet-up location was on the north side of the road. Bos wanted to make it for his inaugural geohash but couldn't get away soon enough. Power Tool and Liberian hung around a bit, took a few photos, and then went off to recover benchmark PT39 RM 2.
 2008 Discussions
2008-12-06 30 -86 (Prediction) Today's location is on an open (not forbidden) area of the Eglin Range. Liberian plans to be there at 4:00.
(The Event) Liberian headed out along Highway 285 from Niceville, turned east on Eglin Range Road 213, and then turned north at the Indigo Pond turn-off. After a stop to find the "Red, White, and ... Indigo" geocache (quite a nice cache that is, by the way), he drove further north along the finished dirt road to a turn-off about a quarter-mile west of the meet-up location. He walked along a bit of a zigzag road for most of a half-mile, and then there was nothing for it except to plunge into the brush, approaching the point from the southwest. It was fairly rough going until about 400 feet from the location, at which point the brush became totally impenetrable. Since there is a creek in the area, he figured that the impenetrable brush meant that he was near the creek and so retreated. It was about 4:20 by this time. After going north on the sand road a bit further, he tried approaching the point from the northwest, again getting within about 400 feet before being stopped by impenetrable brush. The sun had pretty much set and it was starting to get dark and turn cold. At that point it was time to start singing "Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways."
10/21/08 - Today's location was out on an archery hunting range just west of Ranger Road, in a permitted zone on Eglin Air Force Base, right next to a road. Unfortunately nobody (apparently) found out about it until the next evening. Sunt lacrimae rerum.
2008-10-12 30 -86 10/12/08 - Today's location was on the Eglin range, just east of Niceville, about half a mile north of Range Road and a thousand feet west of the nearest sand road. Liberian made the trek, arriving successfully right at 4:00. It was cloudy and the ground, while quite open for forest around here, was sloping in various directions towards a winding creek nearby. Liberian got a tremendous opportunity to see just how easy it is to get turned around in the woods without a well-defined trail. He also learned first-hand what a great invention the GPS is. On the way out he picked up a couple of beer cans (one so old its pop-top was of the detachable sort!), a koozie, and a propane tank. On the way home he searched for a couple of geocaches but came up empty.
2008-10-04 30 -86 10/4/08 - Today's location was on land, eminently reachable, and quite near town. Natural Beauty was not able to make it, but Liberian and Power Tool made the trip and found the place. They were actually a little early, and while it was not clear whether the location itself was on private property, it was right next to somebody's yard and they decided not to park right there. They parked a short distance off and walked in. After a couple of photographs in an effort to document the event, Liberian broke out a bottle of sparkling grape juice (they had to drive afterwards, after all) and the two of them toasted a successful geo-hash. They found a couple of geocaches on the way home.
2008-09-01 30 -86 9/1/08 - While both weekend locations were out on the water, Monday's location was not! And Monday was a holiday. Not letting minor distractions like Hurricane Gustav (there was still wind, but there was no rain while they were out there) get in the way, Power Tool and Liberian headed east for the meet-up point. They were hoping for a visitor from another graticule, but he didn't show up ... at least they didn't see him. They went down Highway 331 to the side road, went along the side road to an appropriate track, and there on the track was a sign: "WARNING: Persons apprehended on this property are subject to confiscation of vehicles, firearms, personal property, arrest, and a charge of criminal trespassing." They looked at each other and one of them said, "He sounds like he means it." They turned around and sought another way to the meet-up point. A good fraction of a mile back along the road was another way that looked promising and had no "No Trespassing" signs. In they went, to find themselves in a trackless forest following a game trail. They slogged faithfully along, until around 4:15 PM they came to a stream blocking their path. One turned to the other and said, "You realize that after we finish getting in, we will have to get out." They decided to declare failure and turn around. Sunt lacrimae rero.
8/29/08 - After a series of locations out on the water, we had another missed opportunity as today's meet-up location was on Highway 285 just below Mossy Head. Unfortunately nobody found out about it (work! it is the scourge of the drinking class) until that evening. And both weekend locations are out on the water again. <Sigh>
2008-08-10 30 -86 8/10/08 - Today's meetup location was in the Blackwater State Forest, on a back road north of Holt. The Not-So-Wild Bunch, made up of Natural Beauty, Power Tool, Myro Mazzi, and Liberian drove up to the Bone Creek Recreation Area and parked. Unfortunately Liberian had forgotten the detailed maps and so the NSWB took off in a more-or-less straight line towards the meetup location. After a quarter of a mile of winding in and out of forest, we made it to the appropriate point and took some pictures. (When Liberian gets his act together, he will get pictures of everybody present, along with something showing the latitude and longitude and date and time. And he won't hold his finger over the latitude readout of the GPS unit.) We then walked out along the road--a much easier route than the way in. On the way up we visited a geocache; on the way home we visited four more.
2008-07-31 30 -86 7/31/08 - This was a weekday geohash, very close to Niceville, and only about a hundred feet from the nearest paved road. I regret the missed opportunity.
2008-07-13 30 -86 Prediction: Dateline Sunday, July 13, 2008: Today's destination appears to be quite easily reachable. Liberian will try to be there at 4:00 PM.
The event: 7/13/08 - Liberian made the trip out Highway 20 to the nearest Eglin range road that led in the right direction. Around 4:00 the heavens opened and the rain poured down, with much thunder and lightning. "Quite easily reachable" was in terms of being on legally-accessible land, not being out in the Gulf, and not being too far from the road. Unfortunately, what Google Maps said was 1000 feet of mostly-open terrain turned out to be a third of a mile of scrub woods of varying thickness. Part of the route had been recently burned and so the underbrush was more open. Even so, Liberian was only able to get within about 150 feet of the location before turning back. On the way back he picked up a few old survey benchmarks (one of them at the entrance to the range road).
2008-06-29 30 -86 6/29/08 - The inaugural Geo-hash trip. There was finally a location that occurred (1) on a weekend and (2) in a place that was accessible. Liberian and Power Tool made the trip up State Highway 85 under a darkening sky, meeting where the range road turns west off the main highway. What had looked on the map like a several-mile hike turned out to be a well-packed dirt road accessible by car, so they drove to within a mile or two of the location. There was still an hour to go, and the "Plastic Town" geocache was nearby, so off they went to the geocache. On their way, the heavens opened and the rain fell. Liberian had an umbrella, but that served mostly to shield the cache when they found it. Umbrellas and forest don't mix very well. Back at the cars, they took counsel and decided to wait for the rain to ease. The rain did in fact ease off around quarter till, and off they went to the location. It was still raining a little and everything was thoroughly wet. After they reached the meet-up location and met up, wanting to get full use out of a trip into the Eglin ranges, they noted that the "PT 36" survey benchmark was nearby and on the back side of a stream relative to the main road. A few miles of walking down range roads brought them to a clearing with a helicopter landing pad and trees growing around it. The survey benchmark was in the middle of the landing pad. They also searched for the reference marks, but between the rain, the time, and the strong possibility that the reference marks had been buried when the roads were regraded, they did not find any of them. But still it was, all in all, quite a successful day outdoors.