Saturday, March 17, 2012

Weekend update

Yesterday I took a day off work so I could go with my son's Cub Scout group for a day hike.  We went to a nature park near Schertz on the Cibolo Creek.  I can't remember the name of the park, but here's a link to the location.  Just zoom out a few times to get a better view.  Now, if you have at least a 2010 map book (and possibly even older than that), it will show you the park as it is now.  However, since Google Maps is an electronic medium and therefore capable of being updated continuously, it is of course 14 years out of date--this place was a mobile home park that was destroyed in the flood of '98 and condemned against any future residential use.  In some places there are still address numbers nailed to trees where there must have once been a home--now apparently smack out in the middle of nothing.

Some of Omar still exists, as well as all of Lyndon and pretty much all of Lake View (the old street signs are still there).  However, the inner streets are all ripped up or in the process of being ripped up and replaced by natural wilds and hiking trails.  There are several places with easy access to the creek off Lake View, and you can go fishing there, too.

So we did our little hike, and an entire circuit of the park took us only 1 1/4 hours, but that was "other people" normal walking speed which felt somewhat restrictive to me.  On my own, I'm sure I'd have finished it in less than an hour, but what the hey.  So we took a break and were about to do it again when the Den Mother of the Boy Scout group my son will be joining mused, "I wonder if there's any geocaches in this place?"  She pulled out her smart phone, another guy there who was the father of one of the Scouts pulled out his smart phone, and it turned out they were both getting into geocaching and had GPS capability with the appropriate apps on their phones.  I had heard about this hobby several years ago and always thought it sounded interesting, so I was all for it.  We spent the next few hours finding caches.

Well, I think I have just discovered a new hobby.  I spent a while last night poring over and reading up on GPS receivers, and I think I will be using a small portion of our tax return to buy one that's suitable for the hobby.  I also read about many caches near my own home, and there are at least two that I'm pretty sure I can find without having to resort to GPS.

As for yesterday, we found 5 out of the 6 caches we searched for.  I think the one we didn't find was either washed away or buried by rain, because of the place it was supposed to be in.  The kids especially were extremely enthusiastic about the activity, and my son did find one of the caches on his own, which was nice.  I was thinking about going out today to see if I could find a couple, but he went to play at a friend's house and I know he'd be miffed if I went out without him, so I'll just wait.

I also checked some of the areas where I have regular routes, and it looks like I might have to spend a few minutes looking around when I'm working in certain places.  I have already thought of a good place near here where I can stash one of my own because it doesn't have one yet.

I'm looking forward to doing some of this because it will mean a hobby that doesn't involve sitting in front of a computer or radio and I'll actually be getting some exercise--or maybe I should say:  even more exercise..  I've been wanting to get a GPS unit for a long time, anyway, and now I have a halfway decent reason.


  1. The street names still appear on Google Maps probably because they are still platted, which means they officially exist on county records whether or not they are actually paved or have development on them.

    Land can be platted for future development but remain wild for many years to come, especially if the housing market goes south or the developer goes out of business. Or, in this case, previously developed land may be left to go wild, but the streets will remain platted until the county changes the records (which may or may not be a difficult process, I really have no idea).

    In any case, I'm sure those abandoned streets and signs are beginning to take on a creepy, end-of-world look just about now.


  2. But why is a book that is published only once yearly always more up to date than Google Maps or Mapquest?. I use both the book and Google a lot, it takes Google literally YEARS to make a change. I work in new neighborhoods that have been there for 5 years and Google still hasn't added them.