Söderhamn Sunday

20 06 2011

My original plan for the weekend was to find a D/T combination that I haven’t already found. My choice fell on Aska which is a D5/T1.5 cache located in Fagersta, Västmanland. Fagersta is about 1hr 45min from my home so it’s basically a whole day out. I prepared myself with a fresh PQ along the route to Fagersta which I then massaged in GSAK to remove caches with little activity or difficulties or ones that were too far away from my route. I also printed some overview maps, because despite the advent of paperless caching there is still nothing better than a paper copy in order to have some proper “real estate” to work with. Maybe if I was an IPad owner I could go paperless but the screen on my Garmin is far too small.

The weather forecast on Saturday evening showed rain for the area, from early morning to late night. Even in Gävle where I live there would be rain in the later hours of the day. I have had full days geocaching in the rain but that has mostly been because I have got somewhere in the dry and it has started raining so I have persevered with my planned trip. In this case I didn’t feel motivated to start off in heavy rain and end in the same. The weather forecast also showed a clear line for the rain, which meant that if I travelled north I would miss it. The closest area of unfound caches to the north is along an east-west line from Söderhamn on the coast to Kilafors some 30 km away. I was busy on the Sunday morning ans didn’t have time to make my usual preparations. I had downloaded a PQ for the Gävle area and uploaded it to my GPS but who can filter a file of 1000 caches just on the off chance that I would be caching in a partcular area. So off I set to Söderhamn on Sunday afternoon with a PQ that wasnt updated, no paper overview map and no real goal for the day. So how did it turn out?

I arrived in downtown Söderhamn which is about four blocks long and parked my car in the free car park (not like Gävle) and strolled over to the nearest cache which was Pax. The statue is a tribute to Archbishop Söderblom who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1930.

Tribute to Archbishop Söderblom - Nobel prize winner

Following this I strolled down to the old watermill and found cache number two. Down by the Mill

Water driven flour mill

The next closest cache to that was called Above the Treetops and was of great interest to me as I also have an interesting Industrial Architecture and Urban Exploration. In the second area I am happy to let others do the more dangerous or not so lawful stuff (trespass usually) and just enjoy their photographic results. The cache was situated on the top of the hill to the south of Söderhamn called Västra berget (West mountain – go work it out!) and is crowned with three radio masts. Today these are primarily for 3G and 4G telephone nets. In the cold war they were used for military and county communication. Under the hill, as in many places in Sweden were underground bunkers. As you can see in the Google Earth photo there are two disused rail tracks disappearing into the hill. The red arrows. Aha! Actually, what they had in the hill was reserve power units for the railways so that in case of war it was still possible to keep electric trains running. The red circles show the air exhausts for the diesel generators. The black circle shows the older water reservoir that is on the hill. There is another similar site in Gävle not far from where I live. What they have in common is that they are decomissioned and are being dismantled and filled in. Want to know more? SVT have an interesting video (in Swedish).

Arrows = tunnel entrances. Red circles = air vents. Black circle = water reservoir

Railway entrance to the cavern in the hill

Air vent on top of Västra berget

The cache on top of the hill was a nano which was a bit of a surprise. I continued on to the cache at Tvärgränd 1 and guess what? Another nano! At first I thought that it must be placed by the same owner as the previous cache and that they must have bought a job lot of nanos. It wasn’t so, just coincidence. Once that was done I moved on to the water tower where I found Yellow Mushroom – a cache that consisted of a lid to a cache and a log sheet that had been there in it’s present state for at least a year. Not prioritized for maintenance, I suppose.

Yellow mushroom

I then left Söderhamn via two DNF’s at the E-center, which is a shopping centre on the outskirts of Söderhamn with a Saab Viggen guarding the place. The airbase was closed down some years ago but that’s another story. From Söderhamn I travelled west for a few kilometers then north on the twisty road to Kungsgården where I found a few caches placed by Piggen. My first cache was a Piggen cache so it was great to still be able to find some of his caches that I have not seen earlier.

This is a Piggen idea of T1 terrain!

A couple of the caches were called Tribute to the Bunker 1 and Tribute to the Bunker 2. Many years ago there was a radar station at the site of the caches to control the aircraft flying in and out of the airbase in Söderhamn, as well as any potential hostiles I guess during the cold war days. I used to drive past a couple of times a year some thirty odd years ago and had no idea what the site was, just that it wasn’t something for me to stop at and start photographing. The cache that the new tribute caches refer to was Down in the Bunker and it was on my wish list since I started caching. It took four years before I made the trip up. Great fun. There is absolutely nothing left at the site these days but on my last trip past I took this photo. Maybe not a good place to stay too long.

Just 2minutes to nice and crisp

After finding a few more caches in the woods including one at a barn Hay Shed I started to make my way home through Marmaverken. I found a couple of caches then got at DNF on Vojen which really irritated med as two other people had found it the same day!

"Vojen" the footbridge between the paper mill and the workers village

My last cache find of the day was BIG Child and the fun part was seeing the content of the box. A big toy squirrel with a huge fluffy tail unlike the real one found by Dweeb on his last cache hunt. I’m sure some cachers will say aah!

By now the bad weather had caught up with me so I called it a day and drove back home with the wipers on at full speed. Just outside Stråtjära I had to stop and back up a few meters to take the final photo of the day. The moose wasn’t at all perturbed that I was only 15 meters away.

Moose munching on some tasty leaves




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