Easthammer

24 06 2019

My last posting was entitled West of Ridgehammer so this has to follow in the same vein. Easthammer is of course Östhammar. We took a trip to Åland a few days ago and I was reminded of all the Challenge caches that were placed along the main road between Gimo and Harg. I had looked at them a while back and saw that I could fulfill the requirements for most of them. I thought that visiting them before returning to the Zoo PT where I still have loads of caches to find would be a great day out.

Of course, nothing works out as planned.

Easthammer caches

All the caches were placed at conveniently located parking spots at gated roads into the forest. The caches were mostly just a few meters into the forest. The first cache, Pepparkakor, was a field mystery. Several numbered wooden gingerbreads were hung in a spruce and some simple maths was needed to work out the coordinates for the cache. One gingerbread was missing but as the needed number was divisable by three it had to be 3, 6 or 9. For whatever reason my brain stopped working at that point and the number six disappeared from my world. Using 3 the final coords landed in a field but using 9 I found coords a few meters off the road in a group of spruce trees. The hint was spruce. Nice. Half an hour of searching gave nothing. It was only when I got home that my brain ”woke up”. Now I need to revisit the cache again just to vindicate my mistake. Duh!

Otherwise, the caches were at the posted coordinates and were a mixture of ”PET-constructions” and bird boxes.

Mini hotel

I say ”PET-constructions as most were inserted into a pice of wood formed as a mini bird box or two bottle necks glued together. A bit more interesting than a standard PET preform.

Once in Harg I stopped to log a simple multi Bruksgatan i Harg – Molinska inspelningsplatser #4 and Hargs k:a. Harg is a well kept little place, the remains of more affluent times as an iron producer from the 1600’s until the 1920’s.

Main street Harg

As there was another challenge cache at Börstils church just to the south west of Östhammar I took that route back to Gimo. On the way I stopped at a few bus shelters where caches were hidden. I found one, a well crafted smoke detector but at the others I found nothing. I never seem to have luck with bus shelter caches.

A good addition to a bus shelter

One of the more interesting caches was Torpet partly because of the site itself but also the creative cache container. Yes, it is in the sign!

Lindatorp

Just north of Gimo on road 288 I stopped at a milestone. GC4NPJ6 Milestone. Again a nice container camo.

Milestone

From there I went directly to the end of the Gubbo trail which lies between Österbybruk and Gimo. I visited Gimo for work a couple years ago and considered doing the trail on my way home, but time didn’t permit. My first find on the trail was Gubbo 51 sited on the banks of Gimo dam. To me it looks like a common Swedish Lake but it is apparently a dam.

Gimo dam

The whole area was devasted by the storm Alfrida but now it seems that some of the carnage has been cleared up. Many of the caches were surrounded by fallen trees.

Alfrida damage has been cleared

I stopped at the multi Sågen and it was only after reading the last log I decided not just to drive on.

The tree had fallen over the sign at the sawmill

As the last finder was Yari I couldn’t pass by and leave this unlogged. A certain amount of agility was needed to find the sign with the information needed to get the final coords.

From there on the Gubbo PT was like most other PT’s, perhaps with the exception of the home made cache containers. As I was approaching Gubbo 27 I could see lightning in the distance and heard that a storm was approaching. I had just logged Gubbo 23 when the skies opened and decided to call it a day. I stopped at a couple of caches that were hanging in road signs, but after getting drenched I definitely decided to call it a day.

Once I got to the west of Österbybruk the rain ceased and after a few more minutes there was no sign that there had been any rain. In other words, quite a local storm. So now, I have half the Gubbo PT and half the Zoo PT completed. It’s a good excuse to come back to the area. I can even revisit GC67ABQ Pepparkakor and make that sad guy a smiley!

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Activity at last

17 05 2019

The first quarter of this year was a geocaching vacuum. I usually spend January in New Zealand and so there is plenty of activity. This year I stayed home and virtually nothing happened. Now it is May and I found a few caches in April but the desire to write about it wasn’t there.

I have mixed feelings about power trails. In principle they are usually quite boring in this part of the world. They are more than likely boring over the whole world but they are one way of boosting numbers and usually finding a cache even if it is now more than often a micro still gives an ”aha” moment. The northern half of Sweden is mostly covered in trees and there are thousands of gravel roads crossing them. As a consequence most power trails (PT) utilise PET preforms hung in trees usually at a cache friendly height. In the early days caches were usually hidden ”under a rock in the forest” so of course most of them needed maintenance after having lain under snow for half the year. As most of the trees where I live and further north are pine trees that’s where you find the caches. Juniper bushes are also favourite hiding spots if there are any in the area.

ESE 50 and Zoo PT

Anyway, I decided to visit not one but two PT’s in Uppland, some 80 km south east of where I live and to the south of a natural border in the country. The river Dalälven splits the flora and fauna quite effectively. South of the river there are many deciduous trees. North of the river there is far less variation and trees like oaks are seldom found. To the south of the river wild boars are quite prevelant, but thankfully, to the north they haven’t so much of a presence yet. So why do I mention this? The caches I found on the first PT – ESE 50 år – consisting of 50 caches were PET preforms hung in 27 spruce trees, 5 silver birches, 4 junipers, 3 pines, 3 oaks, 2 maples, 1 sallow and a few diverse unknown trees and posts. Just over half were in spruce trees which is the norm for where I live.

Quite a few of the smaller trees had been felled along one stretch of road so I had to hang the cache in the nearest tree which wasn’t always of the original type. Of course I noted the change in my log.

Felled spruce

In addition to forest there were the odd one or two agricultural homestead or summer cottage along the route. Even a field of bee hives, even though all that was there now were the bases.

Beehives to be placed here

The second PT was the Zoo PT which was on the continuation of the same road as ESE 50 even if the Zoo trail came first and even if the containers were very different the concept was the same. I get bored with power trails after a while, sometimes after just 20 caches but definitely after seventy or more. On this occasion I was limited by a time constraint rather than interest. I could have continued on the zoo trail just to see the containers but I had to meet a train in Gävle with my partner and daughter so couldn’t be late.

Locust holding the cache

As I came from the north it felt logical to start at the nearest and that was the last one one the ESE 50 trail, so I worked in reverse order which meant that virtually all the caches were on the left side of the road. I prefer that as crossing a little trafficed gravel road is seldom a problem. Similarly for the Zoo trail I worked on the caches in descending order. Due to the colourful nature of the containers they were easy to spot and quite fun to find. I may go back to finish off the trail, but it’s only a maybe.

Now I have things to do closer to home.





Geocaching targets 2019

2 01 2019

Over the past couple of days I have been reflecting on what I have achieved in the way of geocaching during 2018, why it was like that and what are reasonable targets for 2019. This is what I arrived at:

1. Find a cache in one new country.
2. Find 10 multis.
3. Find 10 large caches.
4. Place 3 caches.
5. Complete the alphabetic mystery owner challenge Questionable COs: A-Z Roll of Honour Challenge
6. Find caches in all boroughs of one Swedish county that is not yet complete.

In other words a very low key set of targets. It imagine that it reflects how I am looking on geocaching at the moment. I should have more time for geocaching as I retired in May 2018, but for some reason time has passed and little has been achieved. I hope that 2019’s SMART targets will be met as it’s always satisfying to meet targets!

For those who have noted my previous years targets will see that target 5 is there again for the sixth year (I posted a note on the log page 2013-01-27) and I just don’t seem to find the last letters needed. I am missing cache owner names beginning with Q U and W. Only one is actually needed to log a find on the cache as two wild cards are allowed. How difficult can it be?





Geocaching targets 2017 and 2018

2 01 2019

Hang on a moment, you will say 2018 has passed and there were no targets published in the blog! That’s true, but I did have geocaching targets for 2018 and they were the same as for 2017 as I hadn’t been very successful in meeting them then either.

So this is what was in store for 2017 and 2018 and how I did.

1. Find at least one cache in Norrland.
2. Find at least one cache in ten new boroughs of Sweden.
3. Find caches in at least three more countries.
4. Find at least ten more earthcaches.
5. Place at least three new caches with different D/T ratings or types.
6. Find the 3 remaining puzzle caches to complete the Questionable COs: A-Z Roll of Honour Challenge.

2017
FAIL I didn’t meet the first two targets. Zero activity in that area.
PASS I found caches in 2 new countries (Albania and Isle of Man).
FAIL I found 8 of 10 earthcaches.
FAIL I placed no caches.
FAIL I didn’t find any of the missing puzzle caches needed.

2018
PASS I met the first two targets. We finally made the Norrland trip as posted in in the blog during the summer.
PASS I found caches in 2 new countries (Italy and Vatican City).
FAIL I found 7 of 10 earthcaches.
FAIL I placed no caches.
FAIL I didn’t find any of the missing puzzle caches needed.

It doesn’t take a lot to realise that either the targets were unrealistic, circumstances were adverse or I have lost interest in geocaching. Perhaps it is the latter although my activity during 2018 has been on a similar level to previous years. I have just not focussed on the targets.

Geocaching results 2018

So what’s in store? Read the next post!





Rossholm Trail

17 09 2018

These days if I want to do any geocaching that doesn’t involve solving convoluted puzzles I have to drive some way out of Gävle. Because of it’s geographical placing on the east coast that usually means driving in every direction but east. There are active cachers 40 km to the west but very few to the north and south. I decided for about the fourth time that I should do more caches in Uppland and was intending to do the RH-trail when I visited a friend who lives in the village of Näsmo half way between Fagerviken and Hållnäs. I stayed there so long that there was no time over for the trail. I only tried to find Hållnäs Kyrka but DNF’d it.

Today my luck was better. I made a detour to Älvkarleby, Laxön to be more precise, as Carl XII bridge is being repaired and I wanted to see it as well as the photography exhibition on Laxön. That of course took time so I set off for Hållnäs later than initially planned. When I got there I went back to the same place I had searched before and after a couple of minutes I found the micro hidden in a very neat way in the signboard. Nice.

From there I headed off for the RH-trail which runs on a wide gravel road between Fågelsundet and Hållnäs. There are 32 caches and of course I chose to do the trail in reverse order. At the first spot, a car was parked. Typical I thought, so had to drive to #31. As is always the case on a trail, I was expecting the CO to use similar containers and that the first one would give an indication of what to expect.

It looks like a kind of birdbox

This was an unusual type of container that I had only seen a couple of times earlier. I wasn’t to see many like on the trail either, as the containers were a mixture of small round tupperware type or birdboxes or micros. I love birdboxes as they are muggle invisible (obviously they can be seen but they are usually completely ignored by muggles.

Birdbox

At #22 there was a sign pointing to Degertrusket an area that looked inviting. Obviously as I was on a mission, I didn’t have time for a detour like that so I will have to come back another time, preferably not in the moose hunting season.

Degertrusket

I found a couple more caches but got frustrated at #20. The hint was ”Inte två/Not two” meaning that I was looking for an ”En/Juniper”. The only problem was that there were dozens of them! I finally found the micro hanging in one of them. I guess it was within margin of error for my GPS but I decided to call it a day, but being curious I wanted to see the lookout tower that was market on my topo map as being just a few hundred meters further along the road. It was impossible to miss but wasn’t open to the public. However, as I had got out of the car I walked the 100 meters to the cache #12 before driving on to the asphalted road between Fågelsund and Hållnäs where I turned right and headed home. I’ll be back as it’s a pleasant area and I still have a couple of dozen caches to find there.





Norrland 2018 Part II

26 07 2018

Luleå, some 735 km (460 miles) north of home, was the point furthest to the north east that we visited. From here our journey took us more or less due west. If we had taken the shortest route it would have been just 240 km but we made a detour through Boden then up to Storforsen on our way making our route 325 km.

After a good hotel breakfast we set off towards Gammalbyn where we found a modern virtual cache Världsarvet Gammelstads kyrkstad and a micro at Tribute to Deo Gloria. Vi then visited friends in the nearby Sunderbyn before driving on to Boden. As I also enjoy urban exploration (UE) this is a place I could have spent a few days in as there are so many old and disused installations. However, considering the set up for the trip I had to choose just one place to visit and that was Rödbergfortet. Of course, we had to look round the town centre first, but finally got out to where the interesting things are!

No longer forbidden to be here

Entrance to Rödbergsfort

Rödbergs fort

Rödbergs fort

After the visit to the fort I found Anl. 1 followed by Point FortyNine. It doesn’t mean a thing to me but my son-in-law spent a year at I19 in Boden and he remembered it immediately.

P49

As we were approaching Älvsbyn I saw the sign to Storforsen and as it was just 42 km off our route (all distances are larger in the north of Sweden) we drove upp there. I have visited once before sometime in the eighties when I was working in Piteå. It’s impressive and also has a regular size cache there Storforsen.

Storforsen up stream

Storforsen downstream

We carried on to Arvidsjaur feeling thankful for a working A/C in the car. We had memories of our holiday in the south of Sweden in 2010 when the A/C packed in and all the workshops were closed for the Swedish summer vacation. It was as hot then as it was on our trip north this year – 25-30°C and a tough journey.

The only thing we stopped to see in Arvidsjaur was a local shop selling Same artifacts where the favourited cache Same same but different was cunningly hidden in a wooden figure outside the shop.

Our stop for the night was in Arjeplog at a hotel that was converted into a hostel. Bring your own bedding and get a full hotel breakfast for a reasonable price. Of course we had to grab a few caches, the first one being A tribute to Einar. We also visited the picturesque wooden church with a view over the lake Hornavan.

Arjeplog church

Interior of Arjeplog church

From here we started our drive homeward making a brief stop in Sorsele for a quick Park ’n’ Grab cache at SORSELEGÅRDEN.

Timber in the form of forest was just about all we saw during the day, apart from a few reindeer that insisted on occupying the road in several locations

We saw plenty of reindeer on our journey

and quite luckily, the DMU running on the Inlandsbanan which is a single trip per day in each direction.

This train full of tourists passes by once a day,

We had just stopped for coffee and a cache at Meselefors. I nearly stepped on this adder as I was about to have a bio break.

I nearly stepped on this little creature

Björn Lindströms art on a Same tent

The slightly larger community of Storuman gave us a good glimpse of The Wild Man.

The wild man in Storuman

Vildmannen as well as a short visit to the railway station for another quick Park ’n’ Grab cache.

Storumn station – a design typical in Sweden

Our next overnight stay was in Vilhelmina, at the old church village. Several of the cottages are now available for tourists to stay in. We were on the first floor of one of them and it was stifling hot, so despite open windows it was difficult to sleep. We spent the evening looking for a shop selling Swedish food delicacies from the north and close to Vägval we had success. We ate a really good meal there. I chose reindeer sausage, moose steak and smoked pork together with great side dishes.

A great meal stop just outside Vilhelmina

I had started hunting for a letterbox cache Filmtime during the evening and found the musical box hidden in a birdbox up a tree but got stuck at the final location. Contact with the CO confirmed I was at the right place and yes, I am going blind! Early the next morning before people started to work I revisited the final location and there was the cache! It was quickly recovered and the log book signed. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my stamp and pad with me nor a notebook to use the cache stamp on, but I enjoyed the cache hunt.

A musical box in a birdbox just out of reach

Our next county was that of Dorotea where we hardly saw anything of a community, just the petrol station for refueling the car and the camping site where Doro Camp Dorotea was located. The cache container was a birdbox attached to the camping site sign and in plain view. It has over 50 favourite points.

We carried on to Strömsunds county picking up a total of four caches and getting a DNF on Anslagstavlan. We spent ages looking for something yellow but gave up in the end as there were a lot of muggles and we simply didn’t find the cache! At least the cache E SJ 952 was easy to find.

An old steam engine SJ 952

Even though Östersund is a biggish town we didn’t actually find any urban caches in the county but one outside along the road we were on and that was just because I needed a bio break after all the coffee and water I had been drinking earlier in the day. The cache was aptly named Vatten and involved pouring water into a tube to get the cache container to float up to the top where it could be grabbed and the log signed.

Our stop for the night was in Bräcke. We stayed in the motel in the centre (if you can call it a centre) and was pleasantly surprised by the standard of the rooms and the food in the restaurant. We walked over to Bräcke Kyrka 1, where we found a cache but no church.

By now we just wanted to get home as the heat was becoming quite tiring and the only county that we stopped in was Ånge where we found a couple of caches including Hjulet and getting really frustrated that I couldn’t find Urväxlad.

In all I logged 31 finds on our 1800 km (1125 mile) trip that included a couple of letterbox hybrids and a virtual cache. Of course there were some DNF’s but no too many. The main thing was that I had found caches in Norrland, the last state in Sweden where I had no finds. It also added sixteen new counties to my finds leaving 120 of 290 to find.





Norrland 2018 Part 1

19 07 2018

One of my many short to medium term geocaching targets is to find caches in each of Sweden’s twenty one regions. It has been on my list of targets since 2014 and was nearly achieved that year. I made a trip up to Umeå but ran out of steam due to poor weather and didn’t drive the extra couple of hundred kilometers to get to Norrland. See Västerbotten.

A long term target is to find a cache in each of Sweden’s counties, but the process is slow as Sweden is a fairly large country.

Last year I even booked hotels in Umeå and Luleå for a planned trip that got washed out at the last moment. However, this year I made it. As I had my muggle partner with me I knew that there would be nowhere near as much geocaching as I would have liked but I am happy to find a cache or two in each new county that we visit. (In this post I will use Region and County as done on geocaching.com but actually prefer to talk about County and Borough as done in GSAK).

My original plan was to drive up through the inland of Sweden then back down the coast road (E4). At a later stage in the planning I reversed the route as I thought it might be quicker to get to the far north on major roads rather that the smaller roads in the inland. As I have found caches in most counties up to Umeå that was the first overnight stop, two in fact, so that we could explore the town at a sedate pace. Of course, not geocaching whilst in Umeå meant I had a couple of other geo-locations games to fall back on. Ingress and Wallabee. In the latter a good many really low numbered cards were dropped in a small area of Umeå and I should have got up there in 2013 to pick them up but waited until 2014 by which time the best ones had already gone. There were still a fair number there now so I picked up a couple of dozen to trade on.

Geocaching started in the county of Robertsfors, still in Västerbotten, with Tövalite.

A helpful cafe owner pointed this one out for me

From there we made a short hop up to Lövånger where we had a look around the old church village and church then grabbed a cache by the canal joining two lakes together. This was my first find in the county of Skellefteå and the first find in Norrland, the last region needed to have found a cache in all of Sweden’s twenty one regions.

If the goal had just been to find a cache in Norrland, we could have turned round here and headed for home, but we wanted to see more of the north.
The second cache was Utedasset which was the most favourited cache of the ones I visited.

Nicely decorated!

The county of Piteå was next on the agenda and we spent a while in the town centre after finding a cache I was very curious about namely RACER copy light v1.1. This was a really ingenious cache so if you don’t want to spoil the fun jump down the page a paragraph or two. I had guessed traffic lights and here we found three ”lights” in a roughly made wooden container. Shining a torch on the front of the cache lit up small points on the bigger ”lights” that gave the numbers needed to unlock a code padlock.

Cache opened

Shine a light and get numbers in the “traffic lights”

There is a long power trail near Piteå so if I had been on my own or with geocaching friends some or all of that would have been on the agenda. As it was now, I was content to find the favourite cache in Piteå and Tribute to “Tredje gången gillt” which was just a few meters from where I had parked the car.
We walked around town with an obligatory ice cream as the temperature was around 28C. I was able to relieve some memories of Piteå from when I was a frequent visitor at the beginning of the 1980’s.

From Piteå we carried on to Luleå which was our next overnight stay. Once we found a suitable place to park the car for the night and had checked into the hotel we went out for dinner and found Quiz! Vilken geocachartyp? – Vägskyltscacharen which was a straightforward trad but in a well camoflagued container then the Letterbox/Hybrid cache Festlig fanfar!

That was a fun cache that took us around a few streets in central Luleå to a real letterbox where the cache was hidden.

Final destination for Festlig Fanfar!








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