Send a Wire to the Main Office and Tell Them I Said "OW!"

So I was out geocaching, which sends you off-trail where the footing isn’t the best. I weebled and wobbled and instinctively reached out for a nearby tree. Which was this

I did not, needless to say, grab for very long. Fortunately my time in the navy has afforded me a vocabulary appropriate for the situation. I haven’t encountered this tree before and don’t know what it is. Can anyone identify it from this picture? It’s about 4″ in diameter.


Four Mile Run, from about a month ago, on a nice warm day while I was geocaching. I had climbed down to the water and upstream a ways in a vain search and stopped to admire the scenery.

I also spied this. I’m guessing metamorphic, which might be a gneiss guess, but I don’t know schist from shinola.

When I decided to leave I forgot Spengler’s advice and I crossed the stream. Turns out wet rocks are really slippery because of the slime on them (curse you, low coefficient of friction! Mu-uuuuuuuu!). I fell in (only up to mid-shin, and it was a mild day, so no big deal) but also banged my elbow, which took a week or so to un-stiffen.

Don't Cross the Streams!

I crossed this “bridge” while I was out geocaching on Saturday. It connects the Rachel Carson trail with the Northwest Branch trail just north of the Burnt Mills dam in Maryland.

There are geocaches along both sides of the stream and I didn’t want to hike back to the dam and cross . At the midpoint — where the rope is least effective at providing a restoring force and you are at an antinode of the tree it tends to bounce a bit — is a bad place to get dizzy. But since you are on a curved surface, you have to watch where you step, and there’s no way not to look at the water rushing by a few feet below, which I found to be disorienting. Turning around wasn’t much of an option. Falling in would not have been disastrous, since I was only a few feet up, there were no protruding rocks, the water was not going to sweep me away and it was warm enough that getting wet would not have been more than an inconvenience, but I’m glad I didn’t.

It wasn’t a full blown vertigo attack — I didn’t start talking like Jimmy Stewart, by golly — but enough to make me swear off any future attempts at this sort of thing unless my life is in danger.

Spear and Magic Helmet?

I had a strange experience while I was out geocaching this past weekend. I thought I heard a boombox and figured I was close to a picnic area, but when I went around a bend in the trail, I discovered it was just a guy singing opera as he walked along. I didn’t recognize it.

I don’t think he had a bad voice or anything, but it’s not the experience I’m looking (or listening) for when I hit the trails.

"Geocaching has Kept Me Safer"

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Sgt. Byrd has been geocaching for years. He says the skills that geocaching instills; situational awareness, an eye for the unusual and quick detective work, help keep him safe when he’s finding and defusing bombs.

Just so you know, the part where things blow up is not the geocaching part.

In Celebration of Round Numbers

If it seems I’ve been light on original posts lately, it’s because the weekend weather has been absolutely gorgeous here lately, and I’ve been spending my free time outdoors (when I wasn’t jousting with a headcold, as I did over the holiday weekend). Anyway, I grabbed my 500th geocache this past weekend (woohoo!); Lake Fairfax Park had recently been repopulated with caches, so iI spent a rather nice couple of hours doing the ~4 mile loop to find eight containers. I’m really liking my new GPS receiver

Tom's Back

As promised, Tom’s back. (Wearing a NYC subway tee given to me by my brother)

I won’t get into whether it was a well-deserved vacation — I’m a federal employee and I am entitled to it. And now, of course, I’m exhausted. Vacations are restful in one sense, but tiring in another; add to that the drive back, through Pennsylvania’s road construction “paradise” and entering the Washington traffic at rush “hour” on a Friday, with its stress and fatigue. Add to that the toll that eating vacation cuisine puts on you. I’m glad I have the weekend to recover.

I did all the things I promised I would. The reunion had ~150 attendees, and I got to see all of my aunts and uncles and all but one first cousin on both sides of the family (the outlier being a Florida resident, on my dad’s side, i.e. not drawn in by the reunion of my mom’s side of the family), and loads of more distant relatives. Of course you can’t get that many people together without some melodrama, because not everybody gets along (owing to some slight, real or imagined) but I try to stay away from all that. I plead ignorance and apathy, and not necessarily in that order. It’s just so high school.

Even without the reality non-TV, we had an eventful week. Rain early on, peaking with a storm on Saturday that spawned several tornadoes, with damage being done just a mile or two up the road (including destruction at a condo where we had stayed a few years ago). The weather after Sunday ~noon was fabulous, so the lack of air conditioning wasn’t a problem at all. Got out geocaching Monday – Thursday, with the only issue being that I didn’t have time to download the clues, note the size or read the backstories of the caches, which undoubtedly cost me a find or two; micro-caches in the woods are tough without a clue, with a potential search area of up to a thousand square feet (or even more, on occasion). It also helps to know if you’re looking for a pill bottle vs an ammo container.

I also put my cameras to work, and will be processing the results and posting them soon. I’m way behind on internet reading, but did manage to finish two books I was working on (Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre, which had popped up on my radar recently, and Collapse by Jared Diamond, that I’d been working on for seemingly forever)

Tread on Me

I’ve pointed out geodrawing before, in which one uses a GPS receiver to record a track of some artistic merit. There’s a new one up that’s quite an achievement: Traverse Me

The University of Warwick campus map was drawn on foot at 1:1 scale with 238 miles of GPS tracks walked over17 days

I responded to the structure of each location and avoided walking along roads and paths when possible.
The route was recorded with GPS technology and was walked in stages over the 300 hectare site.
My shoes turned brown in the dry fields and they turned green in the long grass.
Security was called on me twice on separate occasions and I lost count of how many times I happened to trigger an automatic sliding door.

Chris Glass Photos

Chris Glass photo album

from Mar 21:

In my mind, this was not a walk, but a hike.
A hike so “treacherous” I let someone else carry the camera.
Regardless, this type of exercise totally beats a treadmill with cable news.

I was reminded of this just this past weekend. The weather was awesome, and I went out geocaching (up in Mary-Land). Even though I’d gotten back on the treadmill after being sick in January (the aftereffects of which spilled over into February), walking a few miles up an incline on a treadmill doesn’t really match up with doing the same over the uneven terrain of a park trail.