mikal is currently certified at Journeyer level.

Name: Michael Still
Member since: 2000-11-26 23:39:54
Last Login: 2008-07-03 11:17:16

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Homepage: http://www.stillhq.com/


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Recent blog entries by mikal

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Mount Stranger one last time

This is the last walk in this series, which was just a pass through now that the rain has stopped to make sure that we hadn't left any markers or trash lying around after the Scout orienteering a week ago. This area has really grown on me -- I think most people stick to the path down by the river, whereas this whole area has nice terrain, plenty of gates through fences and is just fun to explore. I'm so lucky to have this so close to home.

Interactive map for this route.

Tags for this post: blog canberra bushwalk


Syndicated 2015-11-15 12:20:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

A walk in the Orroral Valley

Last weekend was a walk in the Orroral Valley with a group of scout leaders. Embarrassingly, I'd never been in this area before, and its lovely -- especially at the moment after all the rain we've had. Easy terrain, and a well marked path for this walk. The only catch is that there's either a car shuffle involved, or you need to do a 12km return walk.


Interactive map for this route.

Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151107 photo canberra bushwalk


Syndicated 2015-11-09 19:13:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Scout activity: orienteering at Mount Stranger

I've run scout activities before, but its always been relatively trivial things like arranging attendance at a Branch level event such as an astronomy night or an environment camp. They've involved consent forms and budgeting and so forth, but never the end to end creation of a thing from scratch. So, I was quite excited to be presented with an opportunity to take the scouts orienteering in an unfamiliar environment.

I chose the area of nature reserve between Mount Stranger and the Murrumbidgee River because its nice terrain (no tea tree!), but big enough for us to be able to do some long distance bearing navigation, which is a badge requirement some of the scouts are working on at the moment.

The first step was to scout out (pun intended) the area, and see what sort of options there are for controls and so forth. I'd walked through this area a bit before, as its close to my house, but I'd never bush bashed from the river to the trig before. The first attempt was a simple marking off of the gates along the bicentennial horse trail -- I knew we'd want to cross this somewhere for the long distance leg. That route looked like this:

Interactive map for this route.

The next recce was a wander along a candidate route with some geocaching thrown in for good luck. The geocaching turned out to be quite useful, because on the actual night with the scouts it meant I had a better handle of what was in the area, so when a couple of girls started losing interest I could say stuff like "Did I forget to mention there's an awesome tree house just over there?".

Interactive map for this route.

With that in mind, I then just started slogging out a route -- the long distance leg turned out to be the hardest part here. I wanted to avoid fence crossings as much as possible, and this whole area is littered with barbed wire fences. I think I redid that leg four times before I found a route that I was happy with, which was ironically the first one I'd tried.

Interactive map for this route.

Job done! Now I only needed to walk this route three more times! The first walk was to lay out the orienteering markers before the scouts attacked the course:

Interactive map for this route.

...and then actually doing the course with some scouts...

Interactive map for this route.

Comparing the two maps, I don't think they did too bad to be honest. There's definitely potential here for more navigation practise, but I think the key there is that practise makes perfect. There shall be more hiking and orienteering in our future! The final walk was just collecting the markers after the event, which I will skip here.

I put a fair bit of effort into this course, so I'd like to see it used more than once. To that end, I am going to put the documentation online for others to see and use. If you'd like help running this course, drop me a line at mikal@stillhq.com and I'd be happy to help.

Tags for this post: scouts orienteering navex


Syndicated 2015-11-08 15:40:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

Halo: The Fall of Reach

ISBN: 0765367297
As someone who doesn't play computer games and has never played a Halo game, I find myself in the strange position of having read a Halo book. This book is the first in the chronological lineage, and explains the history of the Spartan program which produced the Master Chief. I decided to read this after accidentally watching a Halo mini-movie on Netflix with a sick baby, and deciding it wasn't totally terrible.

The book is actually ok to my surprise. Its competently written, and on par with much of the other combat fiction I've read. It certainly doesn't feel like its a tie in to a game. I would have liked this book to cover more of the moral issues around the back story to the Spartan program, but those were only briefly considered. Then again, I like a good shoot 'em up as much as the next guy and perhaps that would have been too boring. Overall I enjoyed it and think I might have to read more in this universe.

Tags for this post: book eric_nylund combat halo engineered_human cranial_computer personal_ai aliens
Related posts: The Last Colony ; The End of All Things; The Human Division; Old Man's War ; The Ghost Brigades ; Old Man's War (2)


Syndicated 2015-11-02 02:50:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

CBC Navigation Course

This was the GPS followup to the previous map and compass navigation exercise. A really nice walk, apart from crazy horse lady. The walk also included another visit to Forster trig. I'm not sure if its the time of year or the direction of approach, but this ascent was much nicer than my previous one, we seemed to avoid most of the prickly things. It would be interesting to recce the other side of the hill and see if I just got unlucky last time, or misread the contours.


Interactive map for this route.

Tags for this post: blog pictures 20151010 photo canberra bushwalk trig_point
Related posts: Goodwin trig; Big Monks; Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches; Cooleman and Arawang Trigs; One Tree and Painter; A walk around Mount Stranger


Syndicated 2015-10-16 03:30:00 from stillhq.com : Mikal, a geek from Canberra living in Silicon Valley (no blather posts)

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