Tighten the lid – Dra åt korken

18 08 2015

A couple of months ago a new mystery cache ring appeared to the west of Sandviken called Dra åt korken, close to where one of the prolific local cachers lives. I honestly don’t know where he gets all the ideas from nor the time to place and maintain all the caches. To date he has 450 placed caches of which 107 are mystery caches.

Anyway, I solved a couple of the mysteries when they were published then shot out to find the caches with the hope of getting a couple of FTF’s, although in this area that doesn’t happen anymore as there are a couple of FTF hounds that don’t seem to have any kind of restrictions in terms of time or effort to stop them. :-)Of course, even though no logs were shown on the web page I “knew” that someone would have been there before me. I was right. Logged in the middle of the night. Don’t people ever sleep?

As a consequence I decided to solve all the mysteries first then go out and look for them . Easier said than done and I still have eight of the eighteen mysteries left to solve. I have to admit that solving puzzles isn’t really my thing.

I have been in the area earlier on a trail placed by the same CO called P³T, so I have an idea what the terrain is like. Forest with a myriad number of paths across it but not really difficult terrain. Yesterday after work the weather was warm and sunny so I decided to park at the southern edge of the circle as it seemed most accessible and set off from there. An hour and a half later I had logged the eight caches I was looking for and only managed to get sweaty and pick up one tick which I discovered crawling up my leg when I got home and went for a shower. Usch. I took the opportunity to scope the area for chantarelles but was disappointed to not find any. There were plenty of other types of fungi but mostly inedible.

Plenty of inedible fungii

Plenty of inedible fungii

I only had to really search for cache #5 although I did need to do some walking through the undergrowth for a couple of hundred meters to #12 as there were no paths from the direction I was heading towards it.

The area now has a nice number of smilies on it but still plenty of ?- marks to straighten out. I can see that I need to revisit the mysteries in the area and see if I can solve them . Some form of collaboration my be needed.

The Dra åt korken series before today's walk

The Dra åt korken series before today’s walk

The Dra åt korken series after today's walk

The Dra åt korken series after today’s walk





Geocaching Road Trip 2015

14 08 2015

Seven a.m. and I made a slight detour from my route to work. The mystery En bild säger mer än 1000 ord #6 was solved a couple of weeks ago. There was no checker so there was some anticipation as I reached GZ as to whether I had the right place or not. My heart sunk as I approached the huge pine – no, not another Gluggfan tree climbing cache. Then I remembered that the T rating was just 2.0 so I relaxed and yes, there was the regular size container. A quick log on line to stake claim to the fifth and sixth Geocaching Road trip 2015 souvenirs. What would be my placing?

Got to work only to find that the geocaching app runs on Seattle time and had logged the cache as being found on 13/8. So my revised log with the corrected time arrived more than an hour later than intended and I was #939 of #942 (when I took the screen shot) to have gained all the souvenirs. So that was this years august caching fun over ans done with and now it’s back to my usual caching activities.

I have now completed the 2015 geocaching road trip

I have now completed the 2015 geocaching road trip





Wear and tear

11 08 2015

One of the down sides of owning caches is that they are exposed to the weather – and geocachers.

Concerning weather in this part of Sweden we have temperatures ranging from -20 C or below to + 25 C or above during the year and lots of precipitation both as rain and snow. Condensation is containers is a problem. That means that cache maintenance is inevitable and this is where it pays not to have placed caches over an all to great distance and with reasonable access so it’s not a chore to keep them up and running. I have a couple of caches with damp logs and I will replace both the log strip and the container. No more film canisters. They will be successively replaced by PET preforms.

The second major cause of wear and tear on caches is geocachers. I had hidden a PET preform in a dead tree that was standing at the side of the road as ground Zero for a mystery cache. It didn’t take long before someone decided it would be fun to kick it over. Now I need to find a new nearby hiding place.

No longer quite so tall

No longer quite so tall

A further cache that has suffered is a bird box (and this is a bit of a spoiler) whereby the way of getting in is to insert a screwdriver or similar into a hole in the side of the bird box and trigger the child proof catch. No force needed. So far a few visitors have dismantled the box (and luckily put it back together again) but a recent visitor used brute force and broke the catch.

When I went out to fix it, I found that the local logging company had felled most of the trees in the area but left the one that the bird box was attached to. There was a harvester standing just a couple of dozen meters away at the time. I had my back to it and got a shock when a loud voice proclaimed. “Alarm activated”. There must have been either a message triggered by a timer or some kind of movement sensor.

Forest harvester

Forest harvester

Lonely bird box

Lonely bird box

So I expect to be out in the forest at the weekend and maybe even take the opportunity to place the gadget cache that has been laying in my garage since last summer.





Souvenirs and more

3 08 2015

I have been back at work for three weeks and that has really slowed down my geocaching activities. Well, that’s not really true, I just feel too lethargic after work to make the effort to find any caches. Not a good sign. The number of unfound caches both in my home town of Gävle and close to work in Sandviken is increasing at an alarming rate. Some of them are brilliant but the majority are micros in boring places and I think that is contributing to my lack of effort to get out there and find them.

We are also encountering the “Myst syndrome”. Some may even say a plague. Of course, many cachers love the time they spend on solving mathematical, logical, picture or puzzles with really obscure thinking behind them and the cache itself is just a bonus. I still prefer to put coordinates into my GPS and go where it points me, but some of the puzzles are creative and fun to solve.

I visited the TBT trail between Åshammar and Alsjön on two occasions even though my intention was to complete the trail on one visit as it is not so long. On the first visit I lost time by talking to a guy I bumped into in the forest on a mushroom hunt and I hadn’t seen for some years. On the second one my passage was somewhat hampered by a huge boulder in the middle of the road that wasn’t there on my first trip. It seems that the landowner does this on quite a few roads in the area. Luckily I managed to squeeze by without scraping the car or driving into the ditch.

Something tells me traffic is not welcome here.

Something tells me traffic is not welcome here.

There are still a large number of PET tubes or bison caches hanging in trees in the area that I may look for if I have time.

As seems to be the case now, geoaching.com arrange some kind of promotion in August with different themes. This year it’s a road trip with five souvenirs to collect and a sixth bonus souvenir for collecting the first five. The first three were easy to achieve and surprisingly enough so was finding an earthcache. It’s a little strange that there aren’t more in Sweden considering the geology of the land. I found Ol-Larsbergen just to the west of Ockelbo, so not too long a drive from work. It was an interesting area.

Ol-Larsberget - the site of the nearest earthcache

Ol-Larsberget – the site of the nearest earthcache

From there I drove over to the ZGO trail but gave up after several DNF’s. It seems that in addition to caches having “walked” a couple of them had been replaced and my PQ had been downloaded before the move. The ground clearance of my car was a little too low for me to risk going on so I turned around. Perhaps it will be easier from the other end, or I will have to walk/bike. More on that trail later.

So now I have four of the souvenirs and next weekend I will hopefully be able to claim the fifth souvenir. Of course, that one is for finding a mystery cache. Luckily it’s not a problem as I have solved a number of mysts ready for me to get out and sign the logbooks.

Geocaching Road Trip 2015 souvenirs.

Geocaching Road Trip 2015 souvenirs.





England

1 07 2015

We returned from England a couple of weeks ago after visiting relatives and friends, with a total of four caches found, three of which were earthcaches. What a disappointment! It was not through getting a huge number of DNF’s but because my non-geocaching partner was with me and focus was on other things. We stayed in Harrogate (North Yorkshire) at what could be nearly termed Fawlty Towers but the breakfast was really great. There was no coffee machine but a hoard of Manuel’s who ran (literally) around with pots of tea and coffee, often coming to us to take our order long after we had eaten our breakfast.

A real English breakfast. Just look at the cholesterol oozing out.

A real English breakfast. Just look at the cholesterol oozing out.

We didn’t hunt for any caches in Harrogate but that is where I found my second cache of all time and first cache in England back in 2003 Pump house (N Yorks).

As we flew into and out of Manchester airport we decided to spent a day there before leaving for home as it is a place I know very little about. A quick look at the geocaching map for the area showed that there were relatively few caches in the city centre but they included thirteen earthcaches.and left to my own devices I would have attempted more if not all of them.

Relatively few caches in Manchester

Relatively few caches in Manchester

The earthcaches were all in Manchester’s CBD and focussed on the building materials found there.

The Stone that built Manchester – Town Hall

Manchester town hall and weathering of the ornaments

Manchester town hall and weathering of the ornaments

A Red pub by one of the railway stations

A Red pub by one of the railway stations

Another red building just up the road from the pub.

Another red building just up the road from the pub.

Manchester Marble…. The Touchstone.

Carrara Marble in the touchstone

Carrara Marble in the touchstone

Euhedral Crystals

Midland Hotel - another red building

Midland Hotel – another red building

ShapGranite

ShapGranite

Most of the buildings are red, either brick or granite and sandstone. Without the earthcaches I would not have paid much attention to the building materials but it was fun to learn that some of the more decorative material was Shap granite. I used to visit the Lake District as a teenage geologist together with a mate and Shap was a prime target for our visits. Now it is a protected site and rocks cannot be removed any longer.

Not all buildings are red. This new glass building is the football museum

Not all buildings are red. This new glass building is the football museum

Manchester has an industrial heritage and to many it still looks like a dirty relic from the Victorian era but for anyone interested in industrial architecture it’s a gold mine.

One of  the many canals in the city centre

One of the many canals in the city centre

The canals are becoming an integral part of the new Manchester centre

The canals are becoming an integral part of the new Manchester centre

Brick and rivetted steel railway viaducts

Brick and rivetted steel railway viaducts

We also visited the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) which housed a diverse array of technical objects. There are too many photos to add here. It was well worth the visit. Entrance is free but donations are eagerly taken.

Outdoor exhibits at MOSI: Replica of the locomotive "Planet" and "Bolton"

Outdoor exhibits at MOSI: Replica of the locomotive “Planet” and “Bolton”

Indoor exhibits at MOSI: The Avro 707 prototype of the Avro Vulcan, now in it's last year of flying.

Indoor exhibits at MOSI: The Avro 707 prototype of the Avro Vulcan, now in it’s last year of flying.

In all we had a relaxing week but the lack of focus on geocaching did upset me a little. I can see that I will need to return on my own and spend a few days with Zelger, my geocaching brother and his wife, in a cache rich part of the UK.





A few Samos caches

29 05 2015

We left unnecessarily early for Arlanda in my opinion but did so to keep peace in the house. I was able to catch up on my interrupted sleep on the three and a half hour flight. Our hotel was 1600 m from the airport terminal but I didn’t think I would live to enjoy the vacation if I suggested that we walked so we took a taxi and arrived at the hotel within 5 minutes.

We were staying in Pythagorion where there was only one cache aars3 within walking distance and that was at the Monastery of Spillianis that lies a couple of kilometers from our hotel (Fitp Bay Resort) and just a few hundred meters from the Tunnel of Eupalinos – a feat of engineering from 600 BC. It’s a kilometer long tunnel hewn in the hill from both ends that met in the middle using the primitive measuring methods of the day. Pretty genial technique to get it to connect. Read more here.

As I quickly mentioned in my last post the tunnel was closed for maintenance but nothing was posted anywhere in internet that I could find to inform about the closure.

BILDER

Samos aiport and our hotel just to the left of the pond.

Samos aiport and our hotel just to the left of the pond.

The wee underground chapel

The wee underground chapel

Tiny chapel in the cave under the monastery

Tiny chapel in the cave under the monastery

View over Pythagorion

View over Pythagorion

Poppies outside the Monastery of Spillianis

Poppies outside the Monastery of Spillianis

"aars3" at the Monastery of Spillianis

“aars3” at the Monastery of Spillianis

I had rented a small car for a couple of days with pick up at the airport. We walked there from our hotel as it was so close (no taxi this time) and headed off to the western part of the island passing through small villages such as Ireon and the nearby temple of Hera, Mili, Pyrgos and Ormos.

The village of Ormos on the south 8coast

The village of Ormos on the south coast

There we had a well earned morning coffee after an hour of driving :-) From there it was a climb of a couple of hundred meters on winding roads through Marathokampas, Kastania and Leka and a similiar elevation drop down to Karlovassi.

Forsythia on the hills near Kastania

Forsythia on the hills near Kastania

We made a short detour to Potami to hunt for a cache of the same name.

The view from the cache 'Potami'

The view from the cache Potami

A Greek salad for lunch

A Greek salad for lunch

My partner wanted to do some shopping in Karlovassi which is the second largest town on Samos but all the shops have siesta between 14:00 and 18:00 so I was luckily spared that task.

We took the main road back towards Pythagorion making a detour when we reached Chora to head north to Mytilini and our second cache of the day – Windmills of Mitilinii. This was a short multi where information on the windmills but no exact coordinates could be read off a map. They were not visible when I started walking up the path on the hill that I hoped they were on and only appear when I reached the summit as they were hidden away on the other side of the hill. The cache was found after a careful search. I didn’t feel like getting the walls falling on my head. They looked a little unstable.

BILDER

Two of the remaining windmill ruins at Mytilinii

Two of the remaining windmill ruins at Mytilinii

An unusal black flower inside the abandoned windmill at Mytinilinii

An unusal black flower inside the abandoned windmill at Mytinilinii

One of the windmills of Mytilinii

One of the windmills of Mytilinii

Our next day’s drive took us to Samos and there I couldn’t avoid spending a couple of hours in the shops. From there we drove on to Kokkari where we stopped for coffee.

The little village of Kokkari on the north coast

The little village of Kokkari on the north coast

Salvation came in the form of The forgotten Mining Cave which was found at the splendid little village of Ampelos. We had earlier driven up to another mountain village, Manolates. Our rental car struggled up the hills in first and second gear and on a couple of occasions felt as though it wouldn’t make it.

The forgotten Mining Cave was up a six hundred meter track from the village. I am used to tramping up and down hills in New Zealand in sandals so I had no problems but my partner had to stop before arriving at the cave and waterfall as the track became too difficult. Walking up a stream with a rope as support isn’t her idea of fun. I had seen pictures from the mine and have no problems with being underground but the water filled hole hallway in was a little hazard that I circumvented with care. I had failed to notify my partner that I was going into an adit as I would probably have got a red card! The cache was quickly located but my attempt to take a photo wasn’t too successful. I have rotated the photo to get the water back on a level keel.

The waterfall was pleasant but not spectacular. I really enjoyed the experience though as there was a little challenge involved. The challenge was too much for some earlier geocaching visitors who didn’t venture far enough into the mine to reach the cache but logged it as a find anyway. In my world a cache is not found if there is no signature in the log. Just think of all the effort I could save on the T5 caches though. “Know the cache is up that tree/cliff so I will log a find”. Hmmm.

The mine and waterfall are six hundred meters from here somewhere

The mine and waterfall are six hundred meters from here somewhere

Waterfall at the village of Ampelos

Waterfall at the village of Ampelos

Abandoned mine at Ampelos. A deep water filled hole to the left with the adit continuing on ahead.

Abandoned mine at Ampelos. A deep water filled hole to the left with the adit continuing on ahead.

Note the rope to help you walk up the stream... er path

Note the rope to help you walk up the stream… er path

After our couple of days driving round the small island we spent the remaining days in and around Pythagorion enjoying the sun and relaxing in the small cafes and on the beach.

Non-caching related activities

Non-caching related activities

Evening in the harbour at Pythagrion

Evening in the harbour at Pythagrion

One thing that struck me during our stay was the huge palette of colours that we were surrounded with, some of which are recreated in the photos in this posting.





Eupalinos tunnel

20 05 2015

This was a disappointment. There was no information online to say the tunnel was closed for repairs. 

  








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