Årsunda

9 09 2014

On Saturday morning we pointed the car in the direction of Söderhamn and the airforce museum on the site of the squadron F15 that was closed in 1998. The reason for the trip was to spend an hour in the Viggen flight simulator. Viggen simulator The experience was a real adrenalin kick, extremely realistic and something I would recommend to anyone interested in planes. As we had commitments to meet relatives and friends in Söderhamn there were no opportunities for geocaching.

Nonetheless, I did a park and grab on the way home at Sörbränning and was able to save the day. What day, you may ask? Just for fun, and as a challenge with my brother I will try to fill in round two of the cache a day challenge. i.e. find a cache on every date in the year. As I have already done that I decided that I should have a go at getting a minimum of two finds per day. As we get closer to winter there are quite a number of dates where I have just one find and in a typical Swedish winter caching can be a challenge.

On Sunday I was busy with rally communications on Sandviken Motorklubb’s rally “Stålsvängen”. It was just a two stage rally close to Årsunda but was quite an adventure from a radio point of view as there were a few technical issues with one of the operators and unfortunately an accident on the stage. It was not too serious but delayed the competition by over an hour. As the event came to a close I idly looked at my GPS and saw that there were three caches close by that I had not noticed before so of course I just had to visit them.

As is usual for Sweden there are road all over the place in the forests, and along some of them are really interesting areas. My short excursion on such a road out of Årsunda was one of those occasions.

All three caches were placed by the same owner InFlejms and were well worth visiting. The first cache was Sågmursgruvan. This is an old iron ore mine with rich deposits of zinc and lead.

Spoil heaps from the Sågmur mine

Spoil heaps from the Sågmur mine

For those of you who are more interested in this mine the following scan has been taken from “De Mellansvenska Järnmalmernas Geologi, av Per Geijer och Nils H. Magnusson. 1944.

Geijer & Magnusson skriver om Sågmyrgruvan

Geijer & Magnusson skriver om Sågmyrgruvan

The second cache was at the entrance to Lisselåsklack nature reserve with the interesting name of Pentagon. I realize why until I got there and even then I wasn’t 100% convinced that it was justified. There was a little open shelter at GZ with a sign saying “Pentagon” so it was clear why the cache had that name. Why the place was called Pentagon was not so clear. The shelter was hexagonal so that can’t have been the reason. I didn’t have time to stop and explore the nature reserve but I will try to get back and bring the family and picnic with me.

Maybe it's local humour to call a hexagonal building "Pentagon"

Maybe it’s local humour to call a hexagonal building “Pentagon”

Lisselåsklakc nature reserve is on a shingle field - remains from the ice age

Lisselåsklakc nature reserve is on a shingle field – remains from the ice age

I suspect that the third cache at Barbergsåsens klapperstensfält was probably the source of the name for the previous cache. Or perhaps there are more artifacts lurking around in the forests that lead to the name Pentagon?

The Barbergsåsen shingle field

The Barbergsåsen shingle field


After finding the third cache I continued on to Trösken then took the main road back through Årsunda towards home.





Time to hide some caches

25 08 2014

The last time I hid a cache was over a year ago but after a visit to England earlier this year where I found a number of very Creative caches I decided that rather than just place a traditional tupperware container somewhere or even worse, another puzzle cache, I would borrow and develop the ideas presented by JJEF.

As a consequence my garage has looked like Santa’s workshop for the past few months and a handful of caches were ready for placement in June. That was when the question arose. Where was I going to place them all? That question remained unanswered until a couple of seemingly unrelated events occured a few weeks ago. Firstly, was the release of the Björsjön series of caches followed on my birthday by a surprise present – a bag full of plastic screw bottle tops. Someone knew that I had bought a bag of PET preforms at the Hedmora event in Norn and needed tops for them. It seems as though there is a wish from my fellow geocachers in the area that a new trail is created in or close to Gävle. :-)

That was what I needed to get out into the nearby Hemlingby leisure area and the start of a mapping and placement exercise. I mapped out where I want to place the caches a couple of weeks ago and have started to place caches in the wild.

The first two caches Hemlingby Trail #11 – Dunk and Hemlingby Trail #12 – Pinball Wizard are now in place and activated. We had one of the grandchildren staying with us and of course he wanted to go out and help me. He’s been caching nearly as long as I have but it does help when they start young – 7 months in his case. When other family members heard about our planned activity they wanted to come along as well.

That meant we were seven people in the woods to hide the two caches. I think that the prospect of having a picnic was just as attractive as hiding the caches.

This is how many people it takes to hide a cache

This is how many people it takes to hide a cache

Of course, even though I had my camera with me I forgot to take photos of both of the caches in their new surroundings so this picture will have to suffice.

The first cache is now in place and has been found

The first cache is now in place and has been found





A mixed fortnight

18 08 2014

The last couple of weeks have been quiet for me in terms of hunting for geocaches despite this being August and still a summer month. I have spent some time in my workshop preparing new geocaches that I will place out in the wild soon. Perhaps the energizer for me to go out hunting was the possibility to gain eight new souvenirs from Groundspeak although at the beginning of the month I had only realized that there were seven available. I missed the fact that International Geocaching day is on 16th August.

Anyway, as the month started I had already solved a couple of mystery caches in Gävle that I then went out and logged – Prickar and IQ-test which gave me the The Puzzler souvenir plus a cool traditional cache The Elevator that gave me The Explorer souvenir. I was able to take a lunch break a few days later and find a letterbox hybrid which was luckily not so far from my office – Åshammar Letterbox Hybrid and gained The Collector souvenir thus giving me half the number of souvenirs that Groundspeak was promoting in August. I think I then realized that it wouldn’t be too hard to find the remaining three, but it wouldn’t be for a few more days.

Luck was on my side as my partner and I were in Hille, just north of Gävle, one day and I “noticed” that there was a nearby multicache. No sooner said than done and Sagas milstolpe was visited and The Sightseer souvenir was gained. That was on 12th August.

Finally on 16th August I got out to hunt for the final two type of cache that qualified me for The Nature Lover souvenir and The Socializer souvenir. Of course, when the sixth souvenir was gained it also unlocked the seventh souvenir – The Achiever. Something that is new for Groundspeak is that they also show you what number you were to gain the final souvenir. I’m not sure I like it, but for some competitive people it will push them to get out and, well, achieve.

My Saturday trip took me to Avesta where I stopped to have a look at an earthcache at Döda Fallen. I have passed by the turn off to the old industrial area of Avesta near the falls many times but never had the time to stop and explore. This time I did and found both Avesta’s old industrial area and also the old town. Unfortunately as I needed to push on to Litet augustievent i Säter” I didn’t have time to stop and explore the area nor hunt for the caches in the area. One cache – Koppardalen Underground is on my “want to do” list but it will have to be in the company of other cachers. The starting point is near here.

Old ironmaking buildings in Koppardalen

Old ironmaking buildings in Koppardalen

So what do the “dead falls” look like? Pretty dead, but it was interesting to read about their formation.

The dead falls in Avesta

The dead falls in Avesta

It’s about 35 km between Avesta and Säter so I arrived at the event not long after it started. There were already a good twenty people there, some known to me and a greater number that were not. As it usual there was a lot of meeting and greeting and a good selection of TB’s and geocoins to look at. Not long before I left, WVBuss, Knatos and others turned up having been to the Geocoin och TB-fest in Haga Park Stockholm. With them they had a pile of geocoins for us to log. Nice.

The six souvenirs

The six souvenirs

The bonus souvenir

The bonus souvenir

It was only after logging the caches and the trackables that I realized that it was International Geocaching Day and I gained the eighth souvenir. Great!

International Geocaching Day 2014

International Geocaching Day 2014





Souvenir collecting

5 08 2014

It’s always nice to get souvenirs for geocaching and I am quite happy getting them for finding caches in new countries or on special occasions. I wasn’t too happy about last years attempt by Groundspeak to force me to find a cache every day of august to collect what turned out to be rather mediocre little bits of digital art. As a consequence I was a little jaded when a new series was announced for this August.

I had just solved and found a couple of mystery caches so I had a look at the souvenir and thought it looked quite good. I was also able to find a a traditional cache and a letterbox hybrid thus meeting the requirements for three of the seven possible souvenirs.

Three of the seven available souvenirs

Three of the seven available souvenirs

Now, I can see that I will have to attend a couple of events in August and find one of the rather few multis in the area so that I can complete the set.





Värmland

21 07 2014

For quite some time my partner has talked about making a trip to visit friends in Kil, which lies in Värmland – a county in the west of Sweden. They had not met for quite some time and none of them ever seemed to be able to get started on the 370km drive. Their names came up again on Thursday so I said OK tomorrow we are doing it and got a hotel booked in Karlstad. We started our drive on Friday evening after I had finished work for the day and gone home and packed. There are several routes between Gävle and Karlstad and the one we chose was via Avesta, Fagersta, Lindesberg, Örebro then the E18 straight through to Karlstad.

We stopped in Norberg on the way so I could find an elusive cache. I have looked on two previous visits for Elsa Anderssons konditori. On the first attempt I used my GPS and on the second my iPhone. Both took me to completely different places about 30 m apart. I heard from one of my geocaching friends in Gävle that they had visited the cafe and quickly found the cache. Of course, I asked where and on this time it was a simple find – in a place I had not searched in that was half way between the places i searched in previously. Duh!

We then continued on non-stop to Karlstad so we could check into our hotel. We arrived at 10 pm and more or less crashed. As the goal for the journey was to visit people I wasn’t really expecting to find so many caches. Naturally I had made a PQ over the caches in the Karlstad area and loaded my GPS with all them all barring the mystery caches.

Most of the day was spent with my partner’s friends in Kil, but it included at drive over to Borgvik where there is an old ironworks and a culture house where there was an exhibition they wanted to see. It included photographs from Lennart Nilsson. Rather than write and include photos I took, I will just link to this blog. It’s worth reading.

Borgvik's blast furnace ruins.

Borgvik’s blast furnace ruins.

Tank barriers in Borgvik.

Tank barriers in Borgvik.

Information about the fortifications in the area from WWII.

Information about the fortifications in the area from WWII.

In return to being taken to an interesting place I took them geocaching for the first time in their lives. Borgviks kyrka. It was received with mixed reactions so I can’t see them running off in the future caching on their own.

From there we returned to Kil where we found Apertins Kapell at the chapel of the same name as the cache, where I swapped a geocoin I had been carrying around for a few weeks with another one. That gave me the borough of Kil.

A fantastic mossy wall all round the Apertin chapel.

A fantastic mossy wall all round the Apertin chapel.

A thunderstorm was breaking on the horizon so we hurried on over to Forshaga in order to grab God-Helg and a cache in the borough of Forshaga. We got there just as the skies opened.

Merry Christmas in neon lights at Forshaga

Merry Christmas in neon lights at Forshaga

As there was no point in hunting for more caches we returned to Karlstad where the sun came out and enabled us to have dinner outdoors at one of the many restaurants that there seem to be in the centre of town. On the way to dinner we picked up Karlstads Domkyrkan so Karlstad’s borough was also secured.

Karlstad town hall and square in the evening after the storm.

Karlstad town hall and square in the evening after the storm.

On the Sunday we visited my daughters mother in law who lives in Karlstad before starting our journey home. We even managed a quick trip to Mariabergskogen

We're just friends. The baby crow seems to have an identity crisis.

We’re just friends. The baby crow seems to have an identity crisis.

This must a a “wabbit” judging by it’s size.

and a shopping centre before leaving for home. Just to vary the route we chose to drive through Filipstad, Ludvika, Falun on our way to Gävle. From the geocaching perspective I found only five caches over the weekend but in four new boroughs.

As I have an APRS setup in my car it’s possible to see in real time where my car is (if the radio is on).

APRS trace from our drive home.

APRS trace from our drive home.





Gotland

10 07 2014

The first half of the last week of my vacation was spent on an island, Gotland to be precise. The first and only time I have been there was in nineteen eighty or eighty one so it felt good to revisit the place. Another reason of course is that it was one of the two remaining counties in Sweden where I needed to find some caches. I’m still wondering if I should have continued on to Norrbotten when I was in Västerbotten but it’s nice to have some challenges remaining.

The flight from Arlanda to Visby took less time than we needed to get checked in and through the security control and about two thirds of the time to drive from Gävle to Arlanda. The airport in Visby is tiny so getting baggage and a rental car was a quick process and we were soon on our way. It’s only a five minute drive into Visby but then the fun begins. More or less all parking is outside the medieval city walls and is quite expensive unless it’s Saturday afternoon or Sunday, when it’s free. I didn’t think about it when I booked the trip but it was the latter part of the Swedish politicians “summer holiday” in Almedalen where they all meet to try to outdo each other in promising things they cannot keep. Or something like that. It’s also the summer playground for a lot of Stockholmers who don’t want to travel too far yet visit a place that is a little exotic. The consequence is inflated prices for both hotels and restaurant visits. Even the petrol was more expensive than in other places in Sweden.

What I was looking for on the island was the geology and therefore earthcaches. I wasn’t disappointed as we found four of them and really enjoyed looking at the places they took us to. Surrounding the finding of the fours earthcaches was a bunch of 38 traditional caches, the most difficult having a D rating of three. On the terrain side of things the highest T rated cache we found was a T2.

The earthcaches were:

Langhammars
Självfrätstenen / The Self-Eroded Rock
Haugklintar
Kalkurfossar- Water from Lime

Gotland is comprised of rocks that were formed under millions of years through sedimentation on the bottom of different seas. The rocks were formed around 400million years ago in the period called the Silurian age. Animals that lived then were covered in further sediment and today are the fossils that are found, in principle all over the island. As the tectonic plates move rocks can tip, but Gotland has not been effected so much and after the last iceage the land was “polished” flat and remains so today.

There are some anomalies and one of them is the self eroding rock. This is an erratic block of Rapakivi granite from Finland that was transported to it’s present place during the last ice age. It’s a fascinating sight seeing how the block is crumbling into gravel on it’s own.

A Rapakivi erratic on Gotland

A Rapakivi erratic on Gotland

Rapakivi granite is known for it's self erosion

Rapakivi granite is known for it’s self erosion

ds8300 at Langhammars raukar

ds8300 at Langhammars raukar

You can almost see a face in this rauk

You can almost see a face in this rauk

GPS at Haugklintar earthcache

GPS at Haugklintar earthcache

Cliffs at Hoburgen

Cliffs at Hoburgen

176 km between the ends of the island

176 km between the ends of the island

Quarrying of millstone grit on the south of the island

Quarrying of millstone grit on the south of the island

Dry waterfall in Visby

Dry waterfall in Visby

The main part of the stay was for sightseeing and we were able to drive to most parts of the island from the lighthouse at the south end (Hoburgen) to the one in the north at the far end of Fårö. We were struck by the unusual churches, probably because everyone seems to have a geocache. We had to stop and pick up them up of course. Actually we only found thirteen of the ninety two that have been placed on the island.

One of the many churches we saw

One of the many churches we saw

Another of the many churches on Gotland

Another of the many churches on Gotland

The monastery ruins at Roma

The monastery ruins at Roma

Ruins of St. Görans church in Visby

Ruins of St. Görans church in Visby

Is this St Göran watching over his ruins?

Is this St Göran watching over his ruins?

As we were returning from Fårö I saw a sign pointing to the KA3 museum so had to make a slight detour and have a look. Even though the equipment was impressive it wouldn’t be much use today in the age of cruising missiles.

Artillery at the KA3 museum

Artillery at the KA3 museum

Old ground to air missile at KA3 museum

Old ground to air missile at KA3 museum

In some way Gotland seems to be still many years after mainland Sweden, but is probably what adds to it’s charm. There were many preserved buildings and relics of normal life in the earlier 20th century.

Preserved farm at Brattarve

Preserved farm at Brattarve

Esso garages disappeared decades ago

Esso garages disappeared decades ago

I love these old neon signs

I love these old neon signs

It was the politicians summer week in Almedalen

It was the politicians summer week in Almedalen

One of the squares in Visby

One of the squares in Visby


So, after this trip which netted over forty finds, I have found caches in twenty of the twenty one counties in Sweden. I suspect that the final county won’t be visited this year but who knows?





Västerbotten

5 07 2014

After a day at home after our trip to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria I decided to see what I could do about adding a new county to my Swedish geocaching map. A couple of months ago and unexpected trip to Halland allowed me to fill in the first of the four remaining counties where I haven’t found any caches. See post Halland.

I decided that I would add the county of Västerbotten to my list. It’s a 480 km drive from Gävle to Umeå, which is the county capital, so quite easily done in a day. It was also a good opportunity to find caches in new boroughs in Sweden as well. In hindsight I probably wouldn’t have taken the E4 both north to Umeå and back south again. It would have been much better to have taken an inland route and ticked off a few more boroughs. However, the preparation time was minimal as the journey was more or less made at a whim. In addition to that an inland route back would have added a further 300+ km to my journey as there are not that many major roads in the north.

When I was sitting in my hotel room on the Wednesday evening I toyed with the idea of continuing on to the county of Norrbotten so I could consider that “done” as well. A quick look at the map showed me that I would be adding another 450 km to my trip if I drove up to Piteå and back and that in terms of time would be over five hours. I think I will take the train up to either Boden or fly to Luleå in order to save time and the wear and tear on my car. The only downside to that is that I won’t be passing through new boroughs on the journey, at least not anywhere that I can stop.

My first stop was in Timrå at WHY. You can guess that by looking at the photo.

Y

Y

From there I continued on to Härnösand where I found Kriget som aldrig kom. I would love to see what is behind that door.

The door to the ex- civil defense control bunker. I wonder what is there now?

The door to the ex- civil defense control bunker. I wonder what is there now?

Then it was on to Örnsköldsvik where I was able to find my 100th earthcache at Giant’s Kettle” as well as a couple of other caches. The earthcache photos weren’t so good so I haven’t posted them.

I managed to drive right through Nordmaling without realising it but consoled myself by knowing I was going back the same way. Rain was forecast for the afternoon and sure enough as I approached Umeå it started and poured all night and into the morning which meant that caching in the city was called off. Some rain doesn’t bother me but it was torrential. Luckily I had stopped to find TB Hotell Hörnefors Södra just as I came into the borough of Umeå so I wasn’t too disappointed.

One of the caches I found in Vännäs, where it was also pouring down, was B 1219 an old goods class steam engine. I always wonder where the cache will be placed on such a huge piece of steel and hate it when the hint is “magnetic”. Luckily this was easily found. I thought that the station building was fantastic but there won’t be many travellers who will see it these days.

An old goods engine in Vännäs

An old goods engine in Vännäs

Vännäs station after restoration

Vännäs station after restoration

A completely different style of station in Umeå

A completely different style of station in Umeå

I stopped at Olofsfors and another spot in Nordmaling on my way back home and found the old ironworks to be interesting. The cache was Olofsfors.

One of the many building still standing in the Olofsfors ironworks.

One of the many building still standing in the Olofsfors ironworks.

I made a few more stops on the drive home and found a few interesting caches. Can you spot the one in this photo?

Can you spot the cache? It's in plain sight.

Can you spot the cache? It’s in plain sight.


My final stop was close to home. Futuro Just south west of Tönnebro is an area where the squadron F15 based in Söderhamn used to have target practice. It’s possible to go there, but never leave the roads. There are two really amazing towers that were used for spotting how accurate the bombing missions were. I was there some years ago before a cache was placed on one of the towers but now I had a new excuse to visit the place again. There are two barriers on the road. If the second one is also up expect muggles to be in the tower area.

One of the two observation towers at Norrbränning bombing range.

One of the two observation towers at Norrbränning bombing range.

The trip netted me six new boroughs and a new county thus filling in a large white area on the map of Sweden. The new boroughs I found caches in were thus: Timrå, Härnösand, Örnsköldsvik, Nordmaling, Umeå and Vännäs. The county was Västerbotten. That leaves me just Norrbotten and Gotland before I have a fully shaded map of Sweden, at the county level at least.

A couple of days after my return home it was time for a new adventure.








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