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.

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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!





2017 in retrospect.

11 01 2018

It’s time to recap on my previous year of geocaching. I have been caching at about the same level for the past four years so there is no big difference there. The main change has been the virtually complete lack of activity in the latter quarter of the year. Even though I attended FAD and a few related caches in Uppsala at the beginning of November (where I had a great time) I still didn’t even manage to find a dozen caches in the quarter. Let’s see if 2018 will be a more active year.

The graphs below show my finds performance per month, by type, by difficulty/terrain and by country.

Finds by month.

My best month this year was April and virtually all of those caches were found on a trip to the Isle of Man where my brother (half of Zelger) came with me for the pleasant trek across the island.

Finds by type.


Of note here is that I attended my first mega event after over fourteen years of active geocaching. It was, as already mentioned, Fumble After Dark (FAD) which is a darkness oriented event (of course – considering the short number of hours of daylight we get in November). Another item of note is that 20% of my finds were mystery caches! Over the whole time I have been caching mystery caches have accounted for just 8% of the total.

Finds by difficulty/terrain.

As expected there is a skew to the top left sector of the table and disappointingly no D5’s or T5’s.

Finds by country.

Even though the majority of the finds were in Sweden I did find caches in two new caching countries, namely the Isle of Man and Albania. Tenerife counts as Spain where I have previously found caches.

So that was 2017. What will 2018 bring? Well as I am now in New Zealand I can say that January will probably be the month I have most finds and as I have already solved over 100 mystery caches the percentage for January will no doubt be even higher than the figure for 2017.





FAD 2017

9 11 2017

A Mega event just an hours drive away from home is not something you can miss! Together with Madchicken and Ironhawk67 I drove down to Uppsala on Saturday morning and found a free parking spot close to Studenternas. We had only one thing on our agenda and that was to visit FAD and find the lab caches. Everything else would be a bonus. It may seem strange but this is the first Mega event that any of us had been to and in my case I have been geocaching for more than fourteen years. Not having visited a Mega event meant that I had not found any lab caches either. That gave us a feeling of great expectations!

FAD isn’t just a Mega event either. FAD means Fumble After Dark and is an event that started many years ago in the west of Sweden and has grown in popularity and status with time. It has also had different venues. As the name suggests we were to expect night caches of various types and we weren’t disappointed. We passed the event location on our way to the car park just as the doors were opening and there were just a few people standing in line to go in. By the time we had parked the car and walked back the queue had grown in length so we decided to dive right into the day’s lab caches. The starting point was just a few meters from the entrance to the hall.

Queueing for entry to FAD

There were ten lab caches that could be found here. Finding them involved watching videos then answering various questions at chosen places. A bit like a multicache but without known coordinates. As each cache was solved the key unlocked the next in the series. Three of the caches had a TB code as the answer and were loggable as TB’s

After the lab caches we returned to the event hall. checked in and spent some time wandering around, visiting the well stocked tables of geo merchandise as well finding the lab cache Cubes and grabbing a “fika”.

Lots of geogoodies were on sale

A really good organisation for handling TB’s

We decided to try the nearby Wherigo Pelle Svanslös which was great fun and took us to new places. Well actually, I had been to the same spots previously but now saw them in a different light. Much more interesting

Pelle Svanslös behind the window

As we had no agenda for the day we didn’t feel any pressure to rush around just to get find numbers. Somewhere along the route I mentioned that we had the opportunity to try to get as many different cache types as possible in the day. A quick count told us that we could find a Mega event, Trad, Multi, Myst, Earthcache, Virtual, Letterbox Hybrid on top of the Whereigo bringing us to eight different types. It was agreed that we would try for this. We had already found a Trad on our way around the Lab cache trail Uppsala Slott in addition to two of the new Virtuals, Uppsala Slott

ds8300 blocking the view of the cathedral

Uppsala cathedral where there is an earthcache


and Gustavianum – Virtual Reward

Is the globe that small?

as well as the earthcache Minerals In The Cathedral

What we now needed were a Myst, Multi and Letterbox Hybrid. As Madchicken and I were looking for Multis and Letterbox hybrids Ironhawk67 calmly announced he had just solved a nearby myst. Yes! As the final coords for Lättare än Gormare were a fair distance away we decided that as it was lunchtime that we would drive over to the cache then eat nearby before finding suitable multis and letterboxes. We found a convenient pizzeria in Flogsta. It was then I remembered that I had scouted out letterbox caches earlier on in the week and that there was an easily accessible one not too far away. As darkness started to fall we arrived at Vernisage where we duly left our artisitc creations in the logbook.

Part of the Vernisage

Once that was done we headed back to Studenternas och parked the car in more or less the same place we had picked it up an hour or so ealier. The multi we decided to look for was an obvious choice as it started at FAD headquarters. Svandammhallarna lead us on a short hike but as the time was nearly 5 pm and we wanted to get our coordinates for the night lab caches we broke off and returned to the hall until 6 pm.

Loading the GPS was a painless process even if it wasn’t really relevant for the lab caches. It did make it very easy to know exactly where to go. I tried to download the info to my iPhone but as I don’t often use it for geocaching I am not familiar with the process. Luckily my friends had it covered. We finished off the multi then headed down to Stadsträdgården for the first five of the lab caches.

The caches were all reasonably close to the event HQ, but after the event they will be moved to other areas and be converted into multicaches. Anyway, this was our playground for the evening.

The FAD 2017 playground

The lab caches for the evening can be found here.

Again the name Pelle Svanslös turned up and was the theme for the caches. They weren’t really night caches but child and wheelchair friendly. When we started on the next series, Carl von Linné, which were located around Uppsala castle one night cache turned up but it was first when we reached the forest some way beyond the hospital that the real night caches appeared. The lab caches in both the Niklas Zennströn and the Anders Celsius series were really creative and in a couple of cases quite difficult. Nontheless we were able to unlock the finals, which were bird boxes locked with a code lock. The code came from solving the five related lab caches.

We decided that we didn’t need to do the final series, Maria Strömme and the reflex trail. We had walked nearly 25 km during the day and had a lot of fun so we headed back for home around 11 pm. The day netted us eight different types of caches including a Mega and 15 lab caches. One takeaway, was inspiration to want to copy some of the ideas that had been used in creating the caches. Let’s see what it will result in!





GL3

3 08 2017

There are power trails and there are forest trails. This is one of the latter and it doesn’t lend itself to zooming round in a car and quickly ticking off the finds. It can be done on a mountain bike but some parts are better done on foot. Of course you need some type of transport to get you to where you intend to start walking or biking but that’s obvious.

The trail GL3 follows a stretch of Gästrikeleden. Gästrikeleden is a trail that goes all round Gästrikland and is about 270 km long. The maps of the trail can be found here.

Ever since I moved to Sweden some forty plus years ago I have been saying “I should walk round Gästrikeleden – one day”. I started off by walking from Hemlingby to Högbo, some 30+ km and got blisters doing so. I followed that by walking from Brattfors to Högbo and then lost interest. I have since then made sporadic attempts and have walked from Hemlingby to Älvkarleby and a few other shorter stretches here and there. When the GL3 trail (link is to westernmost cache) appeared I thought that it would be a great motivator to get me out walking again. It has to a certain extent, but I never seem to have time. Yes, I know. I mean “I haven’t given it the right priority”. I have to admit that the main issue is one of getting to the starting point then getting back to the starting point without having to walk back. In some places public transport works but in most cases it doesn’t. Two cars are a solution if you can find someone else willing to walk with you. So far, every time I mention Gästrikeleden everyone seems to get a glassy look in there eyes and start to mention chores or busy elsewhere. Anyway, I started to work on the GL3 trail in November 2014 and now nearly three years later I have done about half of the caches.

The GL3 trail caches can be seen on the map below and I still have about half left to find. I am hoping that I will manage it this year!

GL3 trail

Most of the caches on the GL3 trail (there could be more to come) were placed three years ago and I have visited a couple of sections over the years but never enough to collect ten codes and find the mystery associated with them. As I was in the area for the The lost treasure of Mary Hyde event it was a great opportunity to hunt for some of the caches. It was possible to find the westernmost six caches – GL3 #A21 to GL3 #A26 before the heavy rain came. A few days later I managed to get my partner to come out for a walk along part of the trail and we found a further eight caches between GL3 #A27 and GL3 #A37 including GL3 #A FINAL 3. Unfortunately a couple of DNF’s due to the host trees having been chopped down meant that it wasn’t possible to search for the related final – GL3 #A FINAL 4.

Most of the trail is in the forest but there are places where people have been living and working for a long time. Here at Storviks fäbodvallar were a few remaining cottages and a spring and tree that were purported to belong to Karl XII. (17 June 1682 to 30 November 1718). The spring must have been a good reason to build the forest pasture in the first place. How the tree managed to take on it’s present form is anyone’s guess. There was a signboard with details of what the area could have looked like when it was in use. The area became disused in about 1945.

Karl XII tree

Karl XII spring

Storviksfäbodvall

I thought about including more photos of the trail but they all look pretty much the same with a few things to differentiate them.. Paths in the forest. Wide paths, narrow paths, dry paths and muddy paths.

Part of the trail

At one point I found a lot, now I mean a LOT, of chanterelles, but I didn’t have anything to put them in if I had picked them.

Chantarelles

I made a mental note of where they were and who knows, maybe I can get back before someone else does. But then again the petrol money would be more than buying the same amount of mushrooms in the local supermarket.

At least I have now found two of the finals. Three more to go.

GL3 final #2for B section

So now I just need to get my butt out of my chair and find the remaining caches in the series.





July events

1 08 2017

Despite being on vacation I have done very little geocaching, if you ask me. If you ask my partner it’s a different story, of course. I have been to three events and cached on a total of seven different days. On two of them I have found just one cache. Now that is what I call very little caching.

The month started with an event on 2017-07-01 Förmiddagskaffe. This was at the “commemorate Canada 150 years” weekend and in addition to the event itself also gave a souvenir. I could add it to the two Canadian souvenirs I already had. I’m pretty sure that the Canada souvenir came just last year, ten years after my visit but that the Ontario souvenir was available then. However, my memory being what it is I can’t be certain.

Canada souvenirs

The event was a bit special in that it turned out to be a “multi”. Due to the fantastic Swedish summer month of July, where EVERYONE is on holiday, the event location wasn’t open when we arrived. A new place was quickly decided on and the event info updated. That was also closed, and so was the third place. The event was finally held at Donkens in Sandviken. You can rely on them to be open. TB’s and coins were passed around and I chatted with new and old faces before going home and starting on my vacation chore of painting the garage.

The second event was at Axmar Bruk. 2017-07-09 Välkommen till/ Welcome to: Axmarbruk. I convinced my partner that it would make a nice afternoon out and that there probably would not be so many people there. I was wrong. The event was very well attended. A handful of new caches were released and we were able to look around the park, which we have not done before. We usually just pass by on our way to Axmarbrygga, a very good fish restaurant. After the event we drove out to Gåsholma where apart from logging a couple of caches on the way we bought some fresh perch (aborre) fillets and a smoked char (röding). They were delicious.

Some of the event participants on a hunt

One of the remaining buildings at Axmar Bruk

The third event was 2017-07-16 Build your crew: The lost treasure of Mary Hyde which was again an activity initiated by geocaching HQ. Over a period of time several souvenirs are to be gained by achieving various goals. As we are now in the middle of the activity I don’t know all the stages. More can be found here.

The event meant an early start from Gävle but the sun was shining and I was curious as to what the EO had in mind for us. He had formed a colourful cache description page and promised to release some caches at the event. The event location was Hohälla, some kilometers north west of Storvik. In the middle of nowhere! Again, this was a well attended event and there were plenty of geocoins to log (thanks Gluggfan) and a new mystery trail that we all followed in a caravan of cars and which lead us to a real treasure chest. Fantastic. An eloge to SE81293 for all the effort put into the event.

Participants at the Mary Hyde event at Hohälla

Is this Mary Hyde’s treasure chest?

The first Mary Hyde souvenir

After the event I decided to start ticking off some more of the GL3 trail caches and did the most westerly ones before the rain set in – GL3 #A21 to GL3 #A26 together with Lealetar. Since then I have found over a dozen more and hope to have found them all before the summer is over. More to come in a new post.








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