15 03 2017

What could be better than a break from the Swedish winter with a holiday abroad? Somewhere where there was some sun and warmth? A few years ago (2014) we had a weeks holiday on Lanzarote in February and were disappointed by the cool weather (about 15C) that we had. This time we chose Tenerife with a definite geocaching goal in mind and that was to find a cache at a higher altitude than my previous record which is somewhere just under 3000 m. We were not disappointed with the weather either. Every day was between 25 -30 C in the shade due to hot winds blowing in from Africa. I saw that the week after we were there that the temperatures had dropped to around 15C so we were very lucky.

We stayed in Puerto de la Cruz on the northern coast of the island and didn’t find the bus transfer from the airport in the south to be a problem. It gave us some free sightseeing and a feel for what the island looked like. Our arrival day (Sunday) was used to install us in the hotel and eat dinner so no geocaching was on the cards. In fact, with the exception of the cache on Teide there was no real pressure to find caches.

There are not so very many caches in the town but there were a couple that had a high number of favourite points so I made a not of those as potential places to visit. The first cache find was a few hundred metres from the hotel Mirador la Paz which gave us a great view out over the town and the pools at Martianez. From there we walked across town as far as Castillo de San Felipe before returning back to the hotel.

View from Mirador la Paz

Castillo de San Felipe

Tracklog from 20170306 – Walk around Puerto de la Cruz

I had read that there were many walking tracks on the island and on the Tuesday after visiting the botanical gardens we started a walk up the hill towards La Orotava, This was a neat little climb of 337 meters in just over 3 km so a break at Vati was welcomed. The reward for reaching La Orotava was a great tapas lunch.

La Orotrava, a small town 4km up the hill from Puerto de la Cruz

Tracklog from 20170307 – La Orotrava

To get to Teide there are several choices, the easy ones being to rent a car or take a guided tour by bus. As I had just had a shoulder operation driving was out of the question so we took the guided bus tour. That meant missing out on a lot of caches (mostly eathcaches to my big disappointment) along the route but it did get us to the top cable car station on Teide. That was at 3500+ meters. To get to the peak you need a special permit and there were none available for the next couple of months and organised tours with the permit included are only on Sundays which didn’t allow us to take that choice. I thought I wasn’t going to find the micro Mount Teide (3528 m.a.s.l) amongst all the rocks by the path so was very relieved when I did. The second cache Pico del Teide eluded me (and a few others even though it was apparently found the same day I was there.

The Teide volcano as seen from Mirador de la Ruleta

The cable car at Teide takes you up over 1000 m in just a few minutes

The slope up Teide is getting close to 45 degrees. I’m glad there was a cable car!

The crater of Teide is about 45km wide

There are a lot of earthcaches in the area but as we didn’t have a car or possibility to stop the bus we had to be content with logging Piedra de la Rosa / Steinerne Rose) on the fly as the bus drove past and LA TARTA (TENERIFFA) at a rest stop.

Basalt rose stone formation

ds8300 in front of the earthcache La Tarta

Thursday was a lazy day but on Friday we made a 17 km walk along part of the “Ramblas de Castro”, a costal walkway. I would of liked to walk further but the temperature was over 30C so we decided it was not such a good idea without more training first. On the way to the entrance of the walkway we passed through town and found a couple of traditionals, Tree of Life #8 and Loro Parque where I picked up a couple of travelbugs to take back to Sweden.

A cache with TB’s at Loro Parque

When we reached the nature reserve that Ramblas de Castro passes through the first cache on my list was Pirates Treasure / Piratenschatz which by the description and number of favourite points was a fun cache. It was housed in an old deserted water tunnel of which there are thousands on the island. I was expecting a bit of a crawl but I only needed to go in a dozen or so metres before finding the cache. Nice one for kids actually. At about the same place it was possible to log the earthcache EC Erosion at Work and take a few photos.

The coast at Ramblas de Castro

From here we continued on to the island’s cache with the most favourite points – El Gordo (Lost Place). I love both Urban Exploration (UE) and Industrial Architecture and this cache hit the spot. I would have loved to go down to the building but the area was fenced off.

ds8300 with El Gordo (The lost place) in the background

Fascinating old ruins at El Gordo (The lost place)

The locked gate at the top of the path down to El Gordo (The lost place)

The lost place as seen from the locked gate

Tracklog from 20170310 – Ramblas de Castro

I found a couple more caches during the week but all in all, we had a lazy time and recharged our batteries in the best possible manner.

Belated geocaching targets 2017

30 01 2017

I’m not going to make it hard for myself this year. I am rolling over targets from 2016 as I didn’t meet most of them last year. Some of them are easy and target #3 will no doubt be fun but the last target is one that will demand more diligence and hard work I’m sure. Anyway here is the short list that I have.

1. Find at least one cache in Norrland.
2. Find at least one cache in ten new boroughs of Sweden.
3. Find caches in at least three more countries.
4. Find at least ten more earthcaches.
5. Place at least three new caches with different D/T ratings or types.
6. Find the 3 remaining puzzle caches to complete the Questionable COs: A-Z Roll of Honour Challenge.

Jälla nature reserve

23 01 2017

This is the second year in a row when I have not travelled to New Zealand in January. The difference between those years I do and those I don’t is clearly reflected in my geocaching stats. In 2015 when I last visited NZ I found 258 caches in the month and in 2016 when I stayed at home I found a mere three caches in the same period. Terrible!. This year is somewhat better as I have found thirteen caches and the month is not over yet so there is a slight hope for improvement. I was in Uppsala last week and had a couple of hours of daylight to spare so I decided to hunt for some caches with many favourite points. My eye fell on “Råg” and as there were a few other caches nearby I decided to head out that way.

Plenty of caches to choose from

Plenty of caches to choose from

I parked at the entrance to Jälla nature reserve noting that the paths were icy but not thinking too much about it until I had slithered about 200 m up the road. I then remembered that I had slip on studs (broddar) in the car and had to consider if I should turn round and collect them or not. As my GPS showed 900 m to Råg I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort. I didn’t have any problems but in hindsight I would have easily made up the time it would have taken to go back to the car and the walk would have been safer. I made a mental note for next time.

The first cache I arrived at was Trollstigen 3 and access to this was through a gap in a fence, between two posts held together by a belt. The cache was in a stump in the middle of a clearing and easy to find. From there I walked on to Trollstigen 4 which was hidden behind a wind shelter in a construction that is quite common in Uppsala. All I need to say is that someone works for a ventilation company!

Wind shelter at Trollstigen 4

Wind shelter at Trollstigen 4

As I approached Råg I saw a man standing in the forest. not doing anything, just standing there. He didn’t say anything or even move as I approached the cache and he was still standing there when I left.

Man standing in the forest

Man standing in the forest

Some say he is John Steinbeck’s character – The Cacher in the Rye and some say he is just a shadow of Micke from Team_Ese.

A quick check of my GPS and the OSM map showed that it was only slightly longer for me to get back to the car if I followed the path/ski track back with the added bonus that I would pass by half a dozen caches on the way.

With the exception of one cache where the CO needs to do some maintenance all were found and all were in good condition. As I approached the car the sun was dropping down behind the trees and the temperature started to drop.

Sun setting behind the trees

Sun setting behind the trees

I had had a great walk and found some fun caches. It’s an area well suited to geocaches and I am sure I will be back later in the year to find more of the many that there are in the area. I made a brief stop on my way home at a rest area on the E4 called Tre Ängar. There I found a fun little cache.

Not quite visible in the photo is the obligatory phot of the king and queen

Not quite visible in the photo is the obligatory photo of the king and queen

What happened in 2016

5 01 2017

Every year I set targets for my geocaching activities but am finding it more difficult as the years pass. In the early days it was just a case of finding caches for fun. There weren’t so many which meant that whereever I was it was easy to hunt for the handful of caches that there were. As geocaching has expanded both in terms of active caches and active players and through a massive technology development with the ingress of smartphones and a plethora of geocaching apps (some good and some not so good), I have needed to filter out what I will look for. I hate all the poorly presented throw down micros that dominate the game these days. Rant over and back to my goals for 2016 and how well I did.

Targets and result at the end of 2016
1. Find at least one cache in Norrland.
In August 2015 I made a trip to Umeå and the boroughs on the way where I had previously not found a cache and when I got there had a thought about continuing north into the county of Norrland. When I saw the additional distance I would need to drive and the time available I decided to give it a miss. I still haven’t made it. FAIL

2. Find at least one cache in 10 new boroughs of Sweden
Of the 400 + caches I found in Sweden the furthest from home was just 130 km away so none were in a new borough. FAIL

3. Find caches in at least 3 more countries.
United Arab Emirates
Guernsey PASS

4. Find at least 10 more earthcaches
2016 was a great year for earthcaches and I found thirty six in total; one in UAE, twenty two on Iceland, five in and around Krakow, Poland, two in London, which we visited together with Jersey and Guernsey and five in Sweden, one of which was on International Earthcache Day. PASS

5. Place at least 3 new caches with different D/T ratings or types
I have built a handful of “gadget” and otherwise camoflagued caches that are still lying on my workbench in the garage. All ready for placement, but I have been too lazy busy to place them in the wild. FAIL

6. Find puzzle caches to complete the A-Z, 0-9 owner challenge.
When I looked at my GSAK stats for 2016 I thought there was a mistake. I found a mere eleven mysts during the year. I have said before that these are not my favourite types of caches but eleven? That’s terrible. I still have three owner name letters and four owner name numbers to find. Not a single one of them ticked off from 2105. BIG FAIL

7. Find ten new D/T combinations for puzzle caches.
From the eleven found mysts in 2016 none of them had a D/T rating that I was missing. FAIL

So, seven targets, TWO passes and FIVE fails. Am I unhappy with the result? Absolutely not as each of the trips abroad more than compensated for not getting up to the North of Sweden and placing new caches is just a day’s work if I set my mind to it. The disappointment I may feel (I don’t) was regarding my targets set around mystery caches. It’s now 2017 and I have new targets that are soon to be revealed.


New Year’s Day 2017

3 01 2017

New Year’s Day – 11 am. The sun was shining and the temperature was above zero. We just intended to go for a local walk in order to get some fresh air after a pleasant New Year’s Eve celebration, but the walk developed into a mini myst-cache hunt in Andersberg with a slight detour to Gävle Bro for a cup of coffee and a sandwich. I had quickly glanced at the geocaching map and seen that there were many mysts in Andersberg that I hadn’t solved/found. As I have written before, they are not my favourite types of caches. Anyway, there was a graffiti painting of two cats on #8 Katterna and I guessed (incorrectly as it turns out) that they were on one of the underpasses in Andersberg of which there are just four so we set off to visit them. The extra walk to Gävle Bro came on the spur of the moment as we passed the second underpass on to Skogsmurvägen.

By now we had stumbled on A-Hill 3 by chance. During our coffee break I worked out the coords for the cache and we started heading in that direction. Suddenly my partner stopped and asked if I had looked at the house wall to my right. I hadn’t, but there was A-Hill 5 and a quick calculation showed that GZ was on our walk home. Nice.

One of my newish toys is a Yaesu FT-2DR, an amateur radio handheld radio with built in GPS. It sends a signal by radio at an interval I choose and can be picked up on http://aprs.fi if you know my radio call sign. It’s fresh information and probably won’t be seen after a day or two.

APRS tracklog from my handheld radio

APRS tracklog from my handheld radio

It’s not like looking at the track log from a GPS but it is visible in real time. So our little walk around Andersberg confirmed that there are no cats there, at least not that we saw, but there are other caches there somewhere. Maybe there will be a new walk in the area next weekend?

Dan före dopparedagen

29 12 2016

There is no good English translation for “dan före dopparedagen”. The day before Christmas Eve doesn’t sound so special now does it? Anyway, it was a day whereby I was able to find a handful of caches before my muggle partner and one of the grandchildren tired and after the obligatory “fika” wanted to go home.

There is a mystery ring an hours drive away from home in Gävle called Malmjärn Runt, a name shared by an autumn car rally and Malmjärn being the name of a lake south of Torsåker. I am not a great fan of mystery caches as I never seem to be able to solve the mysteries without a huge effort on my tired brain. As a consequence a large majority of the fifty plus caches that the trail consists of have remained unsolved in my GSAK database. The trail was placed in March and by the summer I had solved and checked just over twenty, then I got bored. Of the remaining thrity plus some seemed doable and some were discarded as soon as the cache page was opened.

There were enough solved to warrant a trip out and of course, my expectation was to find all the twenty plus that I had solved. We started off at the red arrow and got as far as the “X” before I was convinced we needed to make a break and return home. Aargh! We had hardly started.

Just a handful of smilies so far but more to come

Just a handful of smilies so far but more to come

The first cache to be found was Malmjärn Runt 01 and of course as is usual with the CO’s trails of which he has a number, the container was a PET-preform hanging in a tree and relatively easy to find and pretty winter safe. Many of my earlier caches were regular sized tupperware type boxes “under a stone” in the forest and they all suffered and still do from damp problems. Lying under snow for half the year isn’t a great idea.

We progressed steadily from solved myst to solved myst and found the PET preforms at good coordinates. I even remembered to make a note of the codes that were written on the log strips which is quite unusual for me, I usually forget on the first handful of caches then it is too late to go back and make a note.

Blue skies, sun, +1C and a brisk wind blowing across the lake

Blue skies, sun, +1C and a brisk wind blowing across the lake

The sun was shining when we stopped for our sandwiches and coffee/juice but a brisk wind was blowing across the lake so we didn’t stay longer than necessary before jumping back into the car and heading home. I will be back.


28 11 2016

I never thought I would make it!

As a form of celebration I award myself a geocoin when I reach a geocaching milestone. The last one was in September 2015 for achieving Platinum Earthcache Master status which entailed placing 3 earthcaches and finding at least 20 earthcaches in five or more states/countries. Finding earthcaches is what I find most fun and I now have found around 150 of them.

In addition to that I give myself a geocoin when I reach each 1000 finds and the last one in that category was for 5000 finds and that was in January 2015 at a cache in New Zealand A place for bunnies (Canterbury). Previous to that my 4000th find was in July 2013 eighteen months earlier so I was more or less mentally preparing to find my 6000th cache sometime in July or August this year. I usually spend a month each year in New Zealand geocaching but I gave it a miss this year so instead of finding a couple of hundred caches in January I was down to just three! Even October and November have been quiet months so I was stuck around 5980 finds for some time then slowly creeping up to 5996 before finally getting out on Saturday and finding the final four caches needed to reach 6000 finds.

6000 finds confirmed

6000 finds confirmed

Nice coin

Nice coin

They were all in Virvelvindas Kastsjön series and I started my quest by parking opposite Korsnäs paper mill, which looked quite “beautiful” in the low winter afternoon sun, before walking towards the first of the caches.

It looks better than it smells

It looks better than it smells

I had left my beanie in the car and regretted it. The cold wind froze my ears in no time at all as I walked from Kastsjön #9 – sodabrännaren to Kastsjön #8 – granen then on past Kastsjön #7 – två små röda hus to arrive at Kastsjön #6 – utsikt where I expected to find my milestone cache.

No cache here

No cache here

Unfortunately, the cache seemed to have wandered into it’s hidey hole and my fingers were too short to retrieve it so I had to move on to the next nearest cache which was Kastsjön #3 – puls which thus became my milestone cache. The container was quite special and took me back to my early days in Sweden to a job where we annealed these little containers but that’s another story. I won’t post a picture other than of the general location of the hide which was on the old log flume.

General location of my 6000th find - on a timber flume

General location of my 6000th find – on a timber flume

I was done just after three as the sun started to set. An enjoyable hour out in the cold.

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