Milestone

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.





A quiet October

15 11 2016

For various reasons October was a very quiet geocaching month, in fact an incredibly quiet geocaching month. In total I found three caches and was awarded two souvenirs and a badge for my profile.

International Earthcache Day 21016 souvenir

International Earthcache Day 21016 souvenir

Haunted Hides souvenir

Haunted Hides souvenir

I haven’t found so few caches in a given month since January this year and that in itself is unusual. January has been the month with most finds for many years. My first day out in October was on International Earthcaching Day which was on the 9th. There are not so many earthcaches where I live and with the exception of one I had found the others on previous occasions. This one, Brudstenen, is in the middle of the forest in an area I don’t often visit and as such I hadn’t already found it. The stone was quickly located and the necessary information gathered. As we were ready to drive off another car turned up. I was expecting it to be another geocacher but it was a hunter checking the area as it was the Sunday before the annual moose hunt in the area.

At Brudstenen

At Brudstenen

There is another cache just a couple of kilometers from the earthcache that has been on my to-do list since 2004. In the early days of geocaching we were just a handful of cachers in the area and the goal was to find all the caches the others had placed. This cache, N ölbo, was placed by Piggen who was a prolific hider in the day and was the reason we learnt the phrase “under a rock in the forest” which is where most caches were placed in the early days. A rough forest road took me to within about 200 m of the cache and the remainder was done on foot. Previous logs have complained about the terrain but I found it to be quite manageable. There were no boggy or overgrown areas. It was mostly moss covered boulders of various sizes and a couple of small mounds to pass. This time the cache was found “on top of a rock in the forest”. Visit the cache and you will see what I mean.

The route to the N Ölbo cache

The route to the N Ölbo cache

N Ölbo - on top of a rock in the forest

N Ölbo – on top of a rock in the forest

As you can see I managed to turn the knob on the top of my camera such that the colours were all messed up. The result wasn’t too bad – it gives the impression of a dreay autumn day, which is what it was.

My final find for October was on October 30 and this was a traditional cache just a couple of hundred meters from home where it had been sitting unfound by me for about six weeks. It was at a site that I had considered using to place a cache but I liked the implementation of this one. I can’t add more or I will spoil the fun for future hunters. The cache is Hands off.





Bike trail revisited

16 09 2016

Having to give up my drive around the Hammarby bike trail (link) because of a flooded road meant that I had a further dozen or so caches left to find. What better excuse for an after work cache run than that? I started with BT #038 and worked downwards in the series to start with.

The only challenge this time was if the tractor road between caches BT #032 and BT #036 would be usable by my Volvo. The ground clearance is not too brilliant. I was relieved to find that I could manouver around the rocks and pot holes the whole way with just one small scrape on something under the car. When I left the tractor road and got back to the larger road I could see that the flooding that had stopped me previously had just about disappeared.

The flood had abated

The flood had abated

I drove off to the east and rejoined the Gavelhytta – Årsunda road that I had left half an hour earlier and proceded on to BT #039 and upwards in the series. I enjoyed the break at the multi BT #045. I vaguely remember the old paper mill but it was interesting to see the memorial and read the dates when there was a mill there. It was early evening by now and the lake had a mirror like surface.

A mirror surface on the lake by the Hammarby paper mill

A mirror surface on the lake by the Hammarby paper mill

The final walk to cache BT #046 and then on to the bandstand through an avenue of mighty oaks was impressive.

An avenue of mighty oaks

An avenue of mighty oaks

The bandstand in Hammarby at the start of the bike trail

The bandstand in Hammarby at the start of the bike trail

All the caches were at good coordinates and some were visible from the road as I neared GZ. So I can now show the map with a full circle of smilies.

Completed trail

Completed trail





Bike trail

8 09 2016

At the end of June I completely missed a local event Cykelevent 2016, which was a shame. In the description of the caches the CO aplogised for some of the caches being placed so that private roads had to be used (quite OK on foot or bicycle but not motor vehicles), He also apologised for the dangers and hinders that we may encounter and the reckless drivers on the final stages. I guess this was just to ensure there were no unhappy bunnies after the event. However, I have finally got around to visiting some of the caches along the trail. A couple of weeks ago I went fishing in Igeltjärn together with my brother and his son (both muggles unfortunately) so we passed through Hammarby and followed most of the trail to get to our lake. What a wasted opportunity!

I am reasonably familiar with the area and the event description clearly informed that this wasn’t a trail that could be done completely by car. However, I knew where the limitations were so I decided to drive around what I could. So, on Tuesday I was able to get out to Hammarby after work and start ticking off the caches. I started at BT #004 and was able to get to BT #031 before my journey was abruptly halted. As you can see from the map below, I still have the northern and eastern parts of the trail to revisit.

The southern two thirds of the trail show smilies.

The southern two thirds of the trail show smilies.

I only had one cache where I had to spend more time looking than normal and that was BT #009. The hint was “Fallen hero” which was obviously the fallen tree at the posted coords. I searched high and low and just before I was thinking of logging a DNF I spotted it – right in front of me at eye level in a branch. I had been looking too low. Duh! A few hundred meters further on the road took a left turn at a junction and hit a narrower gravel road. Very typical for this part of Sweden.

A typical road in the forest

A typical road in the forest

The majority of the following caches were hooked on to branches of various kinds of trees. Normally we get the hint “tena”, which is Swedish for spruce of which we have millions, but this time the CO made the effort to place the caches not only in spruces (for which he apologised every time he placed one there) but in oak, rowan, pine, silver birch, sallow, aspen and alder trees. Some times he apologised in the hint for not knowing what kind of tree it was hanging which of course made things even more fun.

Now that we are into September autumn is starting to bring out the colours in the forest. Normally, it’s not so noticeable in forests of spruces and pines but here there was a larger variation of trees and there were more oranges and reds mixed in. There were also a number of colourful toadstools growing, none of which I would recommend even thinking about picking and eating.

Plenty of colour in the forest

Plenty of colour in the forest

Of the caches I found on the trail I think my favourite was BT #028. This was further in the forest than the other caches for which the CO apologised again, but was fun. It’s amazing how little you see in your peripheral vision when driving along a forest road. It’s easy to miss signs, houses, old bunkers and in this case a huge erratic. Now, for those of you who think an erratic is the drunk guy staggering along the street you aren’t right this time. An erratic is a geological phenomena. It’s a giant rock or boulder, often several meters across that has been deposited on relatively flat terrain by a receding glacier. So there so. That’s where the cache was placed. I didn’t see the erratic from the road but it loomed up ahead of me as I picked my way across the smaller boulders on the forest floor to get to it. Impressive.

Over three decades ago I fished in Igeltjärn quite regularly and normally drove into the area from Årsunda (in other words from East to West, so I know that the gravel track is rough in places but still passable with careful driving. The only time I had to turn around was after heavy rain as there is one spot that gets flooded and impassable for a normal car, especially with wide low profile tyres. This time I was travelling from West to East following the BT trail. Guess where I had to abort the drive? That’s right, at the flooded part of the track. It doesn’t look too bad in the photo but the telephoto lens has compressed the distance and of course cannot show how deep the water/mud is. I can assure you it’s deep.

After BT #031 I couldn't continue

After BT #031 I couldn’t continue

As a consequence I had to turn back, not the easiest of manouvers on a narrow forest road. It involved reversing the car a couple of hundred meters until a suitable turning place was found. As I had to return through Hammarby I decided that I would find the first three caches of the trail that were on a private road. I parked at the end of the road and walked in towards the village centre, being surprised by the vast number of oak trees, that everyone “knows” don’t grow north of the river Dalälven. I also found the bandstand but didn’t stop to explore. I have to return to find the rest of the series so I can spend a little extra time to explore Hammarby and the Ralph Erskine designed housing estate.





KBT

9 08 2016

It all began about a month ago. A few caches on a new trail were published in Gävle in mid June, just before we went away on vacation to Iceland and as a consequence no hunt was made until we got back home. In fact, the six first caches in the series KBT (Kungsbäck Trail is my guess) were just about the only caches I found before we left for Jersey. In the beginning there were just a handful of caches on the trail but it has successively been expanded to that today there are forty caches and more anticipated.

Most of the dots are on the KBT trail

Most of the dots are on the KBT trail

So what’s special about this trail? Nothing as such except that I have visited the area six times so far and still have ten more caches left to find. Kungsbäck is a former military area and is more or less closed off to car traffic and demands the use of a bike or shanks’ pony to get around. I have been lazy and stopped by on my way home from work and grabbed a couple or three caches before continuing on.

On the geobike

On the geobike

I made an effort to find the remaining caches last week by grabbing the geobike and biking to Gävle Bro then in to the trail. I gave up the hunt as I neared the southern end of the trail and biked home due to the torrential rain that decided to visit the area. I don’t mind getting wet but what usually happens is that the log books get wet too and that’s no fun for the next hunter.

Nonetheless, the visits to the trail have been pleasant and I have seen some of the wild life. I nearly cycled over an adder somewhere after KBT-24 which was sunning itself on the track but when I stopped to take the photo it wriggled off into the grass.

An adder on the track

An adder on the track

As I was nearing KBT-25 I noticed a wooden gate in the bushes and because of my curiosity I stopped to see why. There was what seemed to be a man made pool about 10 x 20 m and a little jetty sticking out into it. Why? Who made it, when and what is it’s purpose? Anyone know?

A weird little pool. Anyone  know how it got there and why?

A weird little pool. Anyone know how it got there and why?

By now I still had many caches left to find so returned to Gävle Bro again the day after and this time on foot I looked for KBT-16 to KBT-9, only failing to find KBT-10. Of course, it was found the day after. Grr. As I was nearing KBT-9 where I turned around I saw a baby thrush on the track, and it was still there a few minutes later when I returned. I hope it’s parent was looking after it.

A baby thrush on the track

A baby thrush on the track

So guess what I am going to do after work today? I hope to be able to find KBT-31 to KBT-40. If I am lucky this could be drive in caching. If I am not it will be a 5 km walk.





Husbyringen

25 07 2016

A couple of months ago we visited Stjärnsund where were enjoyed a walk around the lake collecting a handful of caches along the way. I said then that I would return during my summer vacation to do some of the power trails in the area. The most significant one after Dalälven PT (115 caches most of which I have done) is Husbyringen (111 caches) followed by VTIH16 (30 caches). Things didn’t work out as planned due to a bout of food poisoning that knocked me out for the last few days of my summer vacation, so my day in southern Dalarna didn’t occur until the weekend after my first week back at work.

We started at Husbyringen #30 as it was the first one we reached from our home in Gävle. I am pretty certain I have stopped here earlier on some geocaching trip to Hedemora or similar and signed the log but not logged it on the site. As there was a new log strip in the cache I couldn’t confirm that so it will just be one of those nagging thoughts that pops up in my mind from time to time.

PRESS STOP. Looking through my GSAK database of finds has solved the nag. On 2014-05-24 I found GC3RR6B Husbyringen by Knatos, now archived.

The first few caches were quickly logged before we made a detour from the PT to Silvehytteå and the canal. A perfect time to have a coffee break too. Silvhytteå canal joins the lakes Fullen and Grycken which formed part of an important water transport system between Edsken, Silvhytteå, Stjärnsund and Långshyttan during the heydays of iron making in the area.

Silver birches with nodules and the lake Fullen in the background

Silver birches with nodules and the lake Fullen in the background

Silvhytteå furnace

Silvhytteå furnace

Silvhytteå canal with passing boats

Silvhytteå canal with passing boats

There was plenty of activity in the locks during the time we were there. My first visit to Silvhytteå was probably around 2006-07-02 when I found GCWV8B The Ring # 4 Silfhytteå by ohrn, again long since archived.

So off again and towards Stjärnsund where we had planned to stop for lunch. The outdoor temperature was now in the high twenties and in the car over thirty as soon as I turned off the AC. Our lunch stop in Stjärnsund was to grab the “tunnbröds rulle med extra allt” that we ate on our last visit (It’s a thin chapatti like bread with a couple of hot dogs, mashed potatoes, fried onions and shrimp salad.)
It was apparently a market day so the place was swarming with muggles and the queue for food was long.

As soon as we could we left and continued on the trail as the temperature soared. It felt like the time we were on the ET Highway but more humid. We kept on until we reached Kloster where I last visited on 2006-07-02 to find GCWV8K The Ring # 7 Klosters krutbruk. So ten years on and I am revisiting Husbyringen, the main difference being the huge difference in the number of caches between then and now.

We decided when we reached Kloster than we had done enough and headed off to Långshyttan for an ice cream then home. I hope to get back soon and put a few more smilies on to the map.

Husbyringen is now about half done

Husbyringen is now about half done





Guernsey

14 07 2016

The ferry journey from St Helier, Jersey to St Peter Port on Guernsey only took an hour but it was enough time to enjoy a quick lunch onboard. We could see coming into port that St Peter Port was much smaller than St Helier and had a much steeper profile. We found out how steep as we walked up from the ferry with our luggage, which luckily was wheeled. We stopped on the way to find Dandilly’s Wedding series: The Transport but the DVD case that was the cache container had slid into it’s hiding slot and needed a revisit with appropriate tools to extract it.

View of St Peter Porting from the Jersey ferry

View of St Peter Porting from the Jersey ferry

After puffing up the hill and checking into our hotel we decided to do some exploring and walked the kilometer or so down to town. We were pretty close to Rooftop View but there was just a slight hinder. We had to walk back up 126 steep steps to get there. Phew!

View over St Peter Port from "Rooftop View"

View over St Peter Port from “Rooftop View”

After a great evening meal we walked back up to the hotel. The morning after started with drizzle that turned into rain so by the time we got to the bus terminus we were rather wet. Because of the poor weather we jumped on a 91 bus and for the princely sum of £1 each we had a two hour round island trip. On the way we saw the sign to Little Chapel so once we got back to the bus terminus we forked out another pound to get the bus there. We were so interested in the chapel I forgot to look for the cache that was there. Looking at the clue I am certain I was just within centimeters of the cache. Duh!

Entering the Little Chapel

Entering the Little Chapel

Inside the Little Chapel

Inside the Little Chapel

Detail on the wall of the "Little Chapel"

Detail on the wall of the “Little Chapel”

The weather cleared up and when we got back to St Peter Port we started to look for Twixt. Not as easy as it should have been. There was a protest meeting in the park – something about building a car park there – so we waited until they were done beforestarting our hunt. The GPS pointed me just inside the park boundary and then outside it. We walked round the block before discovering a small path three quarters of the way round. Once we were in the right spot the cache was an easy find.

A protest meeting delayed our search for "Twixt"

A protest meeting delayed our search for “Twixt”

Beautiful hanging baskets were everywhere

Beautiful hanging baskets were everywhere

We paid a visit to Victor Hugo’s home which is now a museum. What a strange taste that man had, dark and egocentric. We passed by this interesting sign.

We couldn't find a cache in La Cache

We couldn’t find a cache in La Cache

We also had the opportunity to watch some of the soap box derby which was quite fun. No-one got hurt but a few of the “cars” got damaged and lost wheels on the way down over the ramps.

Soap box derby in St Peter Port

Soap box derby in St Peter Port

Our final cache find in my forty fourth caching country was at Victoria Tower which you can see to the right of the first photograph above.

Victoria tower and a captured German field gun

Victoria tower and a captured German field gun

Both Guernsey and Jersey are very different. Guernsey felt a bit too small and compact for my liking but it was great to have visited both the islands. We stayed in London for a couple of days on our way home but did no active geocaching. Food poisoning in London had me decked for the last four days of my vacation then it was work again. With the exception of an hour’s geocaching in Sweden after our trip to Iceland I haven’t done any during the vacation. I had great plans but the result of the food poisoning put paid to those. I wonder where our next trip will be?








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