Sala trails

26 03 2012

It’s been an intensive weekend. I spent Saturday in the forests to the northwest of Sala and Sunday at an event I organised in Hemlingby, Gävle.

Firstly, the trip to Sala. If you live anywhere in Sweden the name Sabolina is synonymous with hundreds of placed caches, mostly in the area centred on Möklinta. Never heard of Möklinta? Don’t worry, if you blink as you pass through you may miss it. In other words it’s a typical small Swedish village. Over the past couple of months I have been finding single caches on predetermined dates in order to fill my DOTY matrix. This weekend I just wanted to be greedy and find loads of caches! I have done sections of the powertrail that follows Dalälven and get really bored with the “in and out of the car” business. When I was on holiday in New Zealand this January I did a PT with just over 50 caches on foot – a 25km walk and enjoyed it.

What I decided to do was walk the Old Trailroad series of 17 caches and then try to cut across the forest to the top end of the Snapsätra series then back down to my car. What I didn’t count on was a big military depot being in the way. That’s why my route wasn’t quite a triangular loop. The other caches not on the turquoise track belong to other Sabolina trails and these I visited by car so I didn’t need to walk back anywhere to collect it. The loop I did consisted of forty one caches over a 14km walk.

Walked the turquoise trail of 14km

Most of it was on pretty flat ground so it wasn’t strenuous going. One of the first caches on the Old Trailroad was at the other side of a ditch and when I was jumping back over I caught my foot in a root as I launched myself and ended up on my knees at the other side of the ditch with a pulled calf muscle. I though that my caching day would end there but the pain eased off and I could limp off to get further caches. A further five caches along the trail and I though I was going to get a DNF. The difference between Old Trailroad 12 and earlier caches was that the tree where the cache was located was much larger. Most of the previous caches were at chest to eye level. It took me a while before my gaze headed upwards and I spotted the cache about 6m up in the tree! There were two choices, get it or forget it. I took off my rucksack and went for it hoping that my pulled calf muscle wouldn’t let me down. It didn’t.

You can just see the yellow capped PET preform at the top of the tree trunk

It still don’t know if the cache was intentionally placed that high or if one of the earlier finders “spiced things up” a little. I can’t see Sabolina putting it there though. The rest of the series was straightforward and at the end of the trail I noted the presence of a depot and where the old railway went in.

End of the line

The final cache was hidden under a fishplate on the last remaining 100m or so of track that hadn’t been pulled up.

I couldn’t see an easy way to get across to the northernmost cache of the Snapsätra trail as there was the big depot in the way and the roads north of the forests didn’t go in quite the right direction. I backtracked to Old Trailroad 13 which was south of the obstacle and headed into the forest aiming for the 10km track that was marked on the map. It was fairly open terrain and the track was easy to find. I stopped at the highest point for a cup of coffee and a sandwich from my rucksack.

I joined the Snapsätra trail at #2 and headed north towards #8. I had just reached #6 when a car came from the north. It turned out to be JimmyP who I know by name but hadn’t met before. We stopped and had a chat and compared notes before continuing on our separate ways. I finished the Snapsätra series and found myself suddenly doing a new series called “Strå” with 20 caches in it on my way back to the car.
Once back at the car which I had parked at the start of the Old Trailroad I had my lunch and made a note of JimmyP’s geomobile TB number. He was parked next to me and presumably walking the Old Trailroad. I had told him about the climb up the tree so I had to check the logs later to see if he had done the climb. Yes, of course he had!

Liverleaf or Blåsippor

Spring is really with us now as was shown by being able to find liverleaf “blåsippor” (Hepatica nobilis) in various places along the trail as well as bullfinches “domherre” (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) and other small birds perched in the trees keeping an eye on me.

The second part of the day was a typical in and out of the car trail which I am not too fond of. It tends to boost the numbers so I was able to find another 40 caches or so but not as quickly as you might think. It took me four and a half hours of walking to find the first forty caches, which included stopping for coffee then lunch, perhaps 30 minutes, but three hours of virtually non-stop caching using the car in order to find a similar number of caches. I met another three cachers in a car & I guess that they were able to do the same stretch in a shorter time as they had a dedicated driver and two hunters. Who were they? Rabarbapapa, Nicke Nyfiken and Buster???.

I had an enjoyable day out and on the way back home as I was passing through Möklinta with my eyes open I spotted MrZZ so stopped to have a chat with him and Sabolina. It gave me the chance to thank them for the effort they put into creating and maintaining all those caches.




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