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.

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