2023-05-17 42 -78

From Geohashing
Wed 17 May 2023 in 42,-78:
42.7143151, -78.7416775
geohashing.info google osm bing/os kml crox


In the Outfield of an old baseball diamond in Chestnut Ridge


Trigger Warning

Sad news in regards to Simon ahead but also probably the most important and meaningful Geohash I'll ever do.

An Ode to Simon

My constant companion. My shadow. My ever-loving adventurer and explorer.

I adopted Simon in December of 2010 from the local SPCA and was told he came from a kill shelter in Virginia; a black lab mix, estimated to be 1.5 - 2 years old. A bit aloof, I liked him from the start for his curiosity of his surroundings and his energy. Named Alvin at the shelter, it sounded clunky to say, but it was suggested I switch it to Simon who is also part of that famous Chipmunk clan. I quickly learned he LOVED his toys and each new toy became his favorite (at least for a while). His recall in the dog park was great and I found he stayed close so we started working on being off leash on hikes and where there weren't too many people around.

He must not have ever been around water before and one of my favorite memories of him was when we went to the Alabama Swamps up in Niagara county (north of Buffalo) with my parents and their dog, shortly after I adopted him. At first, he would just walk in the water up to his knees, but he also had sticks to chase. In order to encourage him to see about swimming, we tossed the stick into the water where he would run in, but stop when he got to his chest. Over the course of the hike, he kept going deeper and deeper in until he was swimming and got the stick. Watching that change from "Really not too sure about this wet stuff, guys" to "This is the BEST THING EVER!!!" as he flings himself 2 meters into the water was so fun to watch.

Every hike was an adventure to run around and sniff new things and I loved seeing the pure, total and immense sense of Joy just emanate from him every time we went out. I will never forget the sense of new experiences in his eyes when he knew we were going out to play somewhere, the happiness in his prancing and on his face while we were adventuring and the utter exhaustion afterwards where he would nap and recharge for his next great adventure.

When I found Geohashing in 2014, it opened up new and exciting places to explore and learn about. I've found MANY new and favorite places to hike from my 340 (to date) Expeditions. Simon (and Myka) have joined me on probably close to half of them.

I've heard the phrase "A tired dog is a happy dog" and Simon was the embodiment of that to the fullest. My friend, after 14 years of running, playing and living your best life, it's finally time for one last rest. I will think of you every time I step out into the woods, whenever I explore a new trail, and definitely after arriving at a random point in the forest to where the internet directed me. You will be missed.


It was Office Week again, although very soon, every week will be office week. They are nearly done renovating our building and for the past year and a half, we've been going in for 3 days during one week per month. I am currently selling my house, but until closing, I need to take care of the place and it was again time to mow the lawn. The plan was to drive over, pack a few things that are left into the car and mow before coming back home to my girlfriend's house in Tonawanda where I've been mostly moved in since the X-mas storm of 2022. Checking the hashpoints, just gave me an added bonus to the evening as I could stop at Chestnut Ridge on the way.

Things turned though before the work-day ended. Right around 16:00, my girlfriend called me and told me Simon had just had a seizure and needed info to take him to the vet. I had just got them established at a new vet in Tonawanda, but they were unable to get him in right away due to staffing shortages. They instead directed us to take him to an animal hospital that was close and I told J I would meet here there, fully abandoning my plans for the evening. In checking him out, we authorized additional diagnostics and we got the bad news on the x-rays. His health had been declining for the past month or so, and we just thought it was hip or joint pain so we were attempting to treat that. However, the x-rays showed the true underlying issues and his lungs were just a full spiderweb of white nodes and streaks. They said the cancer in his lungs was likely a secondary infection and the primary was most likely in his brain which had likely caused the seizure. With how advanced things were and the rapid decline of his health, they estimated he had about a month or so if nothing was done, but they recommended not waiting as we don't want him to suffer. J had used an in-home service in the past where they can be more comfortable and in familiar surroundings. We were given some steroids which would help manage the pain and help him feel more like himself for the remainder of his time with us and were told we could spoil him, but not push him too hard (on walks for example).

We were able to leave the hospital around 19:00 and J went to the store to get some chicken to cook up for his meals while I took him back home. On the way, I was half thinking we could maybe still make this Geohash, but I really couldn't think about anything but concentrating on driving or I wouldn't be able to see through the tears welling up. Safely back, I fed Myka and checked the time for Sunset (as county and town parks tend to close at that time). I found it was around 20:30 and Chestnut Ridge was only about a half hour drive so if we left soon, we would have about 15-20 minutes at the hash. J got back at 19:30 and I asked her if she would drive us over because I knew this would likely be his last chance to go on an adventure, even if it was just walking across a baseball field a short distance.

J was very sympathetic and drove us (as I still didn't trust myself not to be blinded by tears). I had an easy time navigating and Simon was resting in the back seat as seizures take a lot out of you (people or animals). Getting to the entrance, we saw many others at the main hill (sledding hill in the winter) overlooking the lake with Buffalo off in the distance. We continued through the park and noted that the emergency services were running drills at the practice complex within the park. Around that corner, we found our parking area which, in the past, was were I parked when I took the dogs to the upper creek to cool off in the summer. I had to help Simon out of the car because he was still a little unsure of himself jumping out, but once on his feet, we carefully made our way to the Geohash in what would be Left Field. I was able to easily get a couple screenshots on the HashDroid app and then took some bitter-sweet pictures before we continued exploring the field. I would have just sat with him there for a while, but it was pretty chilly (about 55F/13C) and the dew was starting to form on the grass. As we walked the perimeter, he started to prance a little and we even got a few small wags out of his tail.

The original plan didn't include Simon as I was planning on driving to Hamburg right after work, but after meeting them at the hospital, I was going to write this up in his honor as a Trail of Blood consolation prize because he's been on too many expeditions with me to treat this in any other way. Instead, I am extremely grateful I was able to have one last adventure with Simon and to J for being there for the both of us throughout this entire ordeal. I'm also glad I've still got a couple more days with him: to reflect, to spoil, to grieve, to be able to say goodbye.

I'm writing this up a couple days later and I can say the steroids we got are definitely helping to make him more comfortable and feel more like himself. There haven't been any more seizures (so far) and he's been able to play outside a bit and enjoy the warm weather we are finally having. We are planning on having anyone over on Sunday who want to see him one last time before we say our final goodbyes on Monday. It's been a rough couple days and it won't be an easy weekend, but I know he's lived a very full and happy life filled with fun, hikes and play.

Thank you to all here as well who have followed our adventures and got some enjoyment seeing Simon out there living his best life. Myka will carry on a while longer. In her old age (~13), she more enjoys spending her time warm and comfortable on the couch as she did for this one. So she may not go out on many more adventures either (she never liked them as much as Simon, anyway), but I'm sure you'll see her here and there.



Simon the Dog earned the Land geohash achievement
by reaching the (42, -78) geohash on 2023-05-17.

2016-04-22 52 1 Sourcerer Trophy.jpg

Included because Simon gets all the Awards today (and we stood in a field).