Hike from Valbo to Hemlingby – and several visits to a field puzzle

16 05 2012

There is a long hiking trail in Gävleborg called Gästrikeleden. It’s a loop track with a total length of over 270km. I have walked on various parts of it over the years but there are still many kilometers that I haven’t visited. For more information visit Gästrikeleden.

The reason for walking a 15km stretch of the trail last weekend was because I was participating in the geocaching event organised by Bisko called Vandrings längs gästrikeleden. Valbo – Gävle.

Enthusiastic caches at the start of the trail

As it was raining lightly and the weather forecast wasn’t too promising it was good to see that a number of people turned up at the start. After a half hour of talking we were given the coords for the three new caches that were placed on the trail. We set off as a bunch but after a couple of kilometers some branched off to find other caches that were not part of the event. SR88 and I walked on slowly expecting the others to catch up before we reached the first event cache Viloplats vid en lada. We arrived at GZ which was some way off the barn and at a couple of trees in the middle of a very wet field. After a fruitless search we walked over to the barn where the others had turned up. SR88 went off to water the horses and came back saying he had spotted the cache location. We walked over and opened the false bird box that housed the cache. I made a note of the coordinates and mailed them to the CO as they were a “bit” off.

We continued on to the next cache and again lost a couple of persons on the way so SR88, Indiana Jonas and I worked as a team with the field puzzle Ord i skogen which consisted of finding several signs dotted around the area, making sense of the words, then calculating the final coordinates from the words we had arrived at. It was great fun despite a rough and wet terrain.

The highlight of the day was when we arrived at Björktrollens skatt. This was again a field puzzle that had us running around searching for fifteen very elusive film canisters and scratching out heads when we read the contents. After solving the first part of the puzzle hunger got the better of us and we walked on to Hemlingby where we met up with Bisko and others to grill sausages, hambergers and so on. After spending over six hours in the forests we were all ravenous.

Hungry cachers at the end of the 15km forest walk

As I only live a couple of kilometers from Hemlingby leisure area I walked home. In all I had walked 20km before I could take my boots off and have a hot shower.

As the last cache was left unfound I decided to see if I could solve the second part of the puzzle. I did, but also discovered that some minor bugs had crept into the information we found. Anyway I shot off to the coords I had calculated and spent a good half hour searching without success. Back home I contacted the CO who confirmed I had solved the puzzle and that because of the bugs I should adjust my northing slightly. I decided to visit the cache again the day after. When I got to the area my GPS packed in so I had hunt blindly and the result was that I found nothing.

This is starting to become a long story!

The day after I had debugged my GPS and got it working again. Downloading a PQ via a macro from GSAK had malfuntioned and no coords had been transferred. My Oregon didn’t like that and crashed every time the welcome screen had been loaded. It took quite a lot of fiddling to get it working again.

I made another trip to the cache site after work and met up with Indiana Jonas on his way back from a hunt for the cache. Had he found it? No! A relief for me. We compared notes and found that he was using the “brute force” method for finding the cache. I let him into the secret of the final part of the puzzle and a sigh was heard “Was it that simple?”. After about 20mins of searching at the multitude of places our GPS’s were pointing to I hear a shout and there was Indiana Jonas with the cache in hand. The GPS accuracy was terrible, presumably due to the solar activity we are experiencing so good eyes and the right approach got us to the cache. What a relief!

Finally found Björktrollens skatt

There is some kind of satisfaction in solving a tricky field puzzle so thanks to Bisko for giving us a challenging cache. It deserved the favorite point I gave it.




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