Posts Tagged ‘GPS’

Walking tour of CAHH parks

November 26, 2018

Hollin Hills is a development in Fairfax County, Virginia, about 10 miles outside of Washington, D.C. It has about 450 houses. It was designed by Charles Goodman and developed by Robert Davenport.” Source Credit: “Hollin Hills” website (no longer online).

The Civic Association of Hollin Hills (CAHH) owns and maintains seven small parks in the community: the Wildlife Sanctuary; Sutton Potter Park; Brickelmaier Park; Charles Goodman Park; Paul Spring Park; “Mac” McCalley Park; and Voigt Memorial Park.

All of the parks are located along streams except Sutton Potter Park and McCalley Park. The Wildlife Refuge/Sanctuary extends from Woodlawn Trail to the dogleg in the road at Boswell Avenue and Delafield Place. Two parks straddle creeks that are tributaries of Paul Spring, a stream that runs along Paul Spring Road: Brickelmaier Park runs from Popkins Lane to Paul Spring Road; Goodman Park runs from Marthas Road to Paul Spring Road. Paul Spring Park runs along Paul Spring from the intersection of Rebecca Drive and Paul Spring Road to the intersection of Rippon Road and Paul Spring Road, directly across the street from McCalley Park and Voigt Park. The upstream end of Paul Spring Park is near White Oaks Park, a mid-size park maintained by Fairfax County Park Authority.

Sutton Potter Park was featured in an article that appeared in Washingtonian Magazine, “Best of 2004: Sledding Hills.” I shot two photos from a viewpoint about halfway up the long hill: one looking downhill; another looking uphill. Trust me, neither photo provides a sense of the true steepness of the hillslope — a sled ride downhill could be either extremely exhilarating or very terrifying! The park entrance is located at the 7400 block of Range Road; another entrance is located behind the townhouses along Windbreak Drive.

The Wildlife Sanctuary is (or was) a good place to look for Mocha Emerald dragonflies (Somatochlora linearis). Peak activity was observed during July. A segment of Paul Spring, a stream located in Paul Spring Park, is (or was) good for Needham’s Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula needhami); the entire length of the stream is good for damselflies, including Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) and Variable Dancer (Argia fumipennis)/Violet Dancer (Argia fumipennis violacea).

The Backstory

During Fall 2010, I used my Apple iPhone 3G and an app called “EveryTrail” to create an interactive map showing the location of the entrances to the CAHH parks. At some point, I noticed the hyperlink to the interactive map stopped working.

As it turns out, ownership of “EveryTrail” transferred to “TripAdvisor” in 2011; EveryTrail was acquired by “AllTrails” in 2016.

All of the interactive trail maps that I created eight years ago survived two ownership transfers, much to my surprise! Some of the interactivity of the original maps was lost in translation, but hey, all is not lost. “Walking Tour of CAHH Parks” is the current iteration of the interactive map, available from AllTrails. See also “Walking Tour of Huntley Meadows Park (Ver. 2).”

Tech Tips

The “EveryTrail” app was used to record a GPX file that traces the route I walked.

Photos were shot at selected waypoints. All photos featured in both interactive trail maps were taken using the built-in camera of my Apple iPhone 3G; the photos were geotagged automatically by the iPhone’s GPS receiver.

Geocaching — it’s all about the SWAG!

January 6, 2012

Geocaching is the high-tech sport where you are the search engine! A handheld GPS receiver and a hunger for adventure are all you need to play this 21st century version of hide-and-seek. I have been a “Basic Member” since 09 August 2003. Initially, I was interested in one type of cache known as a “Locationless (Reverse) Cache”; locationless caches morphed into what is now known as “Waymarks.” Waymarking is “a scavenger hunt for unique and interesting locations” around the world; I follow the RSS feed for the Sundials category. My geocaching username is “Geodialist,” a hybrid name that reflects my combined interests in geocaching and sundialing.

The first geocache I found is a traditional cache named “White Oaks Hollow,” hidden in White Oaks Park (see Photos 2-3, below). The first time I visited the site, I was within four feet of the cache location but could not find the cache container! I revisited the site a few days later and found the geocache right away. I signed the logbook, exchanged trade items (a.k.a., SWAG), and left the cache as I found it. Later, I used the Website to log my find.


For me, geocaching is all about the SWAG. SWAG? “SWAG” is an acronym with many meanings, such as “Souvenirs, Wearables And Gifts,” “Stuff We All Get,” and “Sealed With A Gift.” Photo 1 of 3 in the preceding gallery shows several trade items I took from three geocaches I visited during the past year-or-so. “Senor Frog,” as I refer to him affectionately, is my favorite geocaching SWAG item. Be sure to give as good as you get when find a geocache!

Tech Tips: I used “Geocaching Intro,” a free app for Apple iPhone, to navigate to the geocache location. The app is location-aware: It suggested several nearby geocaches I could try to find; I chose “White Oaks Hollow.” Geocaching Intro provides a quick introduction that answers the fundamental question, “What is geocaching?” The app works well, although it would be nice if its skeleton feature set were fleshed out with more of the bells and whistles that come with the commercial version that retails for $9.99 (a relatively high price point for an app).

Photos © Copyright 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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