May 25th, 2007

face tree

Hooked on the Mountain

Hook Mountain State Park

It was a pretty hot day, although likely not the hottest we'll see this year. It was about 90°F in the afternoon. Even in the evening, the temperature hovered at around 80°F.

I went to Hook Mountain this evening. It's always a bit cooler in the wooded area. Parked on the side of Route 9W and went up the steep yellow-blazed trail to the Whisper to a scream geocache. It wasn't too difficult even though the location was full of rocks and on an incline.

After that, I went to the summit because there's a view of the Hudson River and the Tappan Zee Bridge from up there. As I was taking in the view, I started wondering if there was a benchmark in the vicinity. So I checked on my cell phone and indeed there was one, benchmark LX4165. And I was standing right at the coordinates! Of course, there's a bit of error in GPS measurement so I had to read the recovery notes to determine the correct location.

This is probably the first time the benchmark turned out to be harder to find than the geocache. It wasn't on the rock surface. It was actually under an inch or two of dirt. (Geocaches, on the other hand, cannot be buried. Or so the guidelines say, although I've seen some that are stuck in the ground up to the lid.) Another problem was the old recovery notes generally weren't very useful. Those referred to trees, signal poles, and bottles (??) that were no longer there. In the end, what helped the most were a set of drill holes and a cherry bush. The benchmark was located approximately at the centroid of the rectangle formed by 4 drill holes in the rocks. (I saw only 3 of those drill holes, but those were enough.) Also, the benchmark was next to a bush. In addition, the previous visitor, who came by just over a week ago, had loosened the dirt a bit. (although any sign of his digging had faded away) So, with a bit of digging, I uncovered the survey disk.

After that, I went to Palisades Center and had sesame chicken, orange chicken, and string beans from the Cajun-type vendor at the food court. (Uninspired, but it was the cheapest option.) Funny how "Cajun" food in mall food courts everywhere is actually Chinese. Wonder how the Cajuns feel about this.