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Everything posted by mhfares

  1. What an interesting site .. I remember a friend of mine talking about it but never thought it was this good. Thanks Waleed for bringing it up.
  2. M&M, Your description regarding the tap line road, with all the coordinates mentioned, in & out, is very informative .. thanks for that. Swdecato, Good explanation, I will try it out on my next visit to Riyadh (anxious to go there) Regarding the pictures on “Saudi Sauna”, ..that was my cousin.. being unmarried with no kids, he is more of a risk taker than I am. I kept telling him one is enough.. don’t go up, but he kept reminding me of Putnam’s law “the one who says it cannot be done should never interrupt the one who is doing it”. Besides, we already had a deal for all of our adventures: he does the climbing and I take the pics .. Looking forward to see another one like “Saudi Sauna”.
  3. V. Interesting, swdecato. Regarding your trip to Faisal pinnacle, I too believe the view from the top looking down to the pinnacle is very dramatic (best way to see the pinnacle). As you pointed out, the place is past the third camel trail. However, I wonder how you came to this point from North West of Riyadh and not from the typical Makkah Road west (Route 40 W), exiting after the solar panels before the road descends. From your description (correct me if I’m mistaken), it seems that you started off from Diriyah or probably Ammariyah and then headed west to the power lines paralleling the Tuwaiq escarpment. In our last trip to bag the “Zenda road” and “tears”, I remember continuing North West hoping to get to the edge of the world by following the power lines. But instead, we reached to a point where the escarpment suddenly came to an end making room for a wide valley that we couldn’t cross over (perhaps the pipeline, entrance to Acacia valley from the west). On our return, there were two trails on the map in Thompson’s book that start at Ammariyah (probably your starting point) and end near the escarpment, (see Northern area Map). We tried to find those trails but in vain and had to come back using the same road we took earlier. Any clues as to those trails..? I like this area a lot and it would be really nice if we could find another route back to Riyadh from the North West (thru Ammariyah or Diriyah) instead of having to go back to R40W and descend to J5 and then ascend again. Could you confirm that?
  4. If terrain is sandy and you choose to hide a cache in such terrain, remember the moving sand … it can easily cover up the cache and bury it completely for future generations to uncover... A good example of this is the “Ghonan” cache which I buried in a colored dome. Sand accumulated over the spherical surface for the last 3 ½ months creating a mound of sand making the cache entirely invisible as noted by Red Admiral ..
  5. Ok .. Here is one example I came across and was posted by a member named: Majellan (Dec. 31, 2002) which talks about downloading layers of data for the kingdom and displaying them in a map. I tried it and worked fine with me, here are the steps: 1. Goto this link (Penn state university): http://www.maproom.psu.edu/dcw/ This web site will allow you to download boundaries and layers of different countries, in Arc/INFO export format 2. Select Asia by clicking on it and then select Saudi Arabia 3. Click on Download data (in ARC/INFO and ARCVIEW formats.) 4. Click categories you want to download (e.g., populated places, roads, ..etc, use polygons not points) 5. Press continue 6. Choose the type of computer (most probably PC/NT) 7. Press “Compute Data” 8. Download the file generated which contains the layers selected and unzip it. 9. Now you need to download & install trackmaker from this link : www.gpstm.com 10. Run trackmaker and open the unzipped file above .. you will have a map showing the layers you elected to display .. enjoy.
  6. As Walzuhair pointed out in another post, there is a rich source of info for camping in kingdom but it is all in Arabic (mekshat.com). The site contains some good material like coordinates of towns, villages, gas stations, wadis, ..etc. It also got pictures, maps for hot spots like Summan and some advice on keeping the environment clean. The forums are particularly interesting and are varied, covering many topics. There are forums for wildlife, birds and their migration seasons, hunting equipment, electronic navigation, GPS uses (no mention of geocaching), tents and tools, and yes my favorite, cooking in the desert, among others. It is a site for all with interest in camping and related activities (professionals and novice alike). The forums are very active (3071 members, more than 33000 participations) and judging from the posts, there seems to be a wealth of information there. Perhaps those of us who read Arabic can post here some relevant and interesting material from that site (specially the GPS group) ..
  7. quote:Originally posted by Dick Turpin the Highwayman:Now then can you imagine travelling two days off-road to get to what I consider the most difficult sites on this planet to drive to carrying eight cans of fuel and four of water to bag a very obvious cache, perhaps a tad of an anticlimax. . At least, that is better, to me, than coming out of such trip with no bag at all .. I took liberty in collecting statistics about the total score for all the 52 caches to date (not including the ones that are not available) and here is what I got: We are not catering for 2WD nor to families as many have noted before. The scale is more towards medium to high side which probably reflects the needs of this group (so far) .. will it change ? I don’t know; does it have to change ?.. not really .. I like to see it more centered in the middle, though. Here are some numbers: 28.8 % of the caches score a total of 6.5 points or more 61.5% of the caches score total points between 4 & 6 9.6% of the caches score total points equal or less than 3.5 Any comments?
  8. Posted coordinates tell you how far and what direction the cache is in but they don’t tell how to get to them. It is up to the one who stashed it to provide some info as to how to get there. Sometimes such info is trivial but other times it can save time & effort (Ok, some may claim that extra effort is where the fun is) Here is an example .. I remember when heading for the “Acacia River” cache, We first went to Bakhra and down south as if we were heading to Graffiti rocks and then made a 90 degree left heading east but only to find we were short by about 6km that we couldn't cross because of a mountain range. We had to go back north & then south again to Al-Jufair (to go around the mountain range) (see map) So why not consider giving some info by specifying coordinates along the way (building a route).. e.g., at major turns where more than one alternative applies, (when in doubt place a “dot”). It is also fun that way (as if you have many caches along the trip). A good example of this is the “Saudi Sauna” cache. I saved at least 4 coordinates that appeared in the description (a very fine & interesting one) and built a route to get us there ..
  9. Don’t take the numbers literally, 6 or 6.5 or even 7 but not 10 .. if you choose close to 5 for the terrain, make the hiding 1.5, so it will not be flat open for a Bedou to stumble upon as you indicated ... and in those rare cases where one insists on 10, provide another cache where the numbers total less as I suggested earlier above. We don’t want to be so rigid about it that we loose the fun and we don’t want to be so flexible about it that we loose the game.
  10. It was Monday Feb. 17 at around 4:00 p.m. I had my 6 year old son with me .. he kept telling me this was a big prize ..
  11. OK .. I didn’t realize there was some talk about this .. I’m referring to the post titled “Cache Placement” Take a look at the grading proposed by M&Ms in that post (which looks good by the way) and suppose you mark 4 on difficulty, i.e., expect multiple trips but when coupled with 4 on terrain which is challenging for 4WD, then ... you get the picture. If the terrain is very challenging, I don’t want to come back again .. “ Maybe we should aim for a maximum cache difficulty rating of say 6. i.e. - 5 to get there and 1 to find, or 1 to get there and 5 to find. Or indeed any other combination as long as it does not add up to more than 6. “ .. by Jim stabler This is exactly what I meant. For low end scores, I must admit our first cache which totaled 2.5 (the whole in the wall) was probably more thrill –at the time- than our recent higher score caches .. not only that but because of it we ventured into the game (v. good intro). While, now, I may not be turned on by low score caches, I believe they must be there … Another thought here: why do we jump into our cars & head for a cache ? on the serious side, if one is well-disciplined, look for challenges, wants to learn, improve skills, accept some risks (totally valid reasons), then a total score of 10 may be the ultimate answer for this question.. But on the lighter side, if simple guaranteed sheer enjoyment is the answer, then for others like me, they will be content with a total of 6 … one final thought: May I suggest if a score close to 10 is used, why not hide two caches one for that high score and another for less. This discussion is good because many of us look at the score first (sometimes it’s the pics) when deciding what cache to go for (especially now, with more than 50 to choose from). By the way, the cache swdecato is referring to is “Military stash” and we certainly enjoyed the view but our enjoyment could have been doubled ... I liked the “Saudi Sauna” a lot .. (not only for bagging it but for some other good reasons that I will explain in another post .. I hope)
  12. Coming out of our first “no find”, I like to suggest easing the hiding (1 or 2 but no more than 3) when the terrain is getting a high score (like 4 or 5) .. imagine working really hard (e.g., driving long distances or tough navigation) to get to a site only to come back with no claim .. By the same token, one can make the hide as hard as he wishes (~5) when the terrain is easily accessible (~1), knowing that you can come back again and again for further tries. In short, why not avoid high scores (and low scores) on both ends of the scale (i.e., 5/5 or 1/1) .. This will spare lots of disappointments on both ends of the spectrum .. Hard to get caches (~ 5/5) don’t turn me on, nor do easy ones (~ 1/1) .. the ideal situation is probably a good balance of high and low scores for the same cache .. what do you think ?
  13. We got to within 35m of the posted coordinates.. Since it was the Eid holiday, we will have our coffee at a later time .. your treat.
  14. I want to say few words here .. I met Jim Stabler on the back cover of Inois Thompson book few years ago and was fascinated with the maps he produced in that one of a kind book (*). To me, the level of details contained in those maps was more than enough to get me going and back home. I visited many of the places in Thompson’s book without a GPS, relying solely on those maps. As a matter of fact I still use those maps today even with a GPS in my car. It is a great navigational tool for a novice like me. Thanks a million Jim and best wishes to you and your family. (*) Another guide that I used to carry with me is a camping guide produced by the Gamenowinink Lodge 555, Memsochet chapter, Order of the Arrow which is a brotherhood of honor Scout campers (Boy Scouts of America).
  15. I checked the Arabic version and it looks great ... Good work Walz. I will be coming back to Riyadh during the Eid holiday, seeking some caches. Last time I was there it was in October and it was fun. I remember a time (not very long ago) when there was only one cache throughout the kingdom and so I waited and waited for a closer location to be posted and now there is more than 50; 25 of which are in the last 2 and a half months or so. I wonder why we don’t have as many caches/geocachers from the eastern province as you do in Riyadh. Is it because the landscape is boring here compared to what you got? Happy geocaching and happy Eid to all.. Abu Hamad
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