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.

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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.





Flughem

10 05 2017

After a cold start to the month Friday (May 5th) was really warm, with temperatures well over 20 C. It’s not usual for May and the following days have given us snow, freezing nights and cold days. Anyway, as I had looked at the caches at Flughem and worked out the coordinates for ground zero where needed I decided that this would be a great way of spending the afternoon. It was all decided on the spur of the moment so I hadn’t noted much about the area. Forest. That’s roughly what I thought and didn’t expect it to be much different to the rest of the forest in the area. I know that there has been mining activity in the triangle between Hofors, Torsåker and Storvik and many years ago I had read a little about the geology of the area and have visited a few places to see old ruins.

So off I set with GPS, spare batteries, pen and paper, letterbox stamp and pad, plus my old iPhone 4S with the geocaching® app. No water, no coffee and sandwiches, no sunglasses. No mosquito repellant, as it was far too early in the year to need it. I was going to be in the car most of the way and the final few hundred meters were bound to be on easily tramped forest paths!

My first stop wasn’t planned but I saw the multicache icon for Välten vid Lapphagsgruvan and decided to stop and see if I could find the cache. The calculation of the coords for GZ was simple and there were clearly remains of an old mine to explore.

The cache at Lapphagsgruva.

My GPS thought I should examine a wall but luckily the hint was very clear! I dropped off a TB that I had picked up the previous weekend and continued on to Epicentrum which was quickly retrieved.

Between the main road RV68 and Flughem was a mini power trail consisting of ten PET preforms. Nothing special but it’s nice to add numbers to my finds list. The first of the Flughem caches was a simple mystery, but a well composed and interesting one. I really had a laugh when I found the cache. So appropriate. I won’t post a photo here as it will spoil the fun for future visitors. I parked my car at the suggested spot and made my way to the letterbox hybrid at Flughems Kalle. Again this was a well thought out cache and a great container. I never understand why visitors to letterbox hybrids are too lazy to bring a stamp with them. It’s a small investment and makes the logbook much more interesting to look at than just a nick or in best case just the cache’s own stamp.

A well filled cache at Flughems Kalle.

It was now that the real geocaching fun started. In the early days of geoaching regular size containers were placed somewhere out in the forest usually under a rock and you were expected to bush bash to get to them. Sometimes there was a path leading close by. Usually, the path was found once you had reached the cache through bush bashing. I now felt some nostalgia.

The starting point for Vitheten i det lilla korset was quickly located. Behind the cache were the remains of old mining activity. After the reading the cache page and activating a vast array of detecting devices, well my smrtphone and GPS I continued along teh path wondering what would happen. Pip! Data started flowing from out of nowhere and I suddenly knew that I had a few hundred meters walk to the cache.

The white cross at the start of Vitheten i det lilla korset

That’s where the fun started. I didn’t have a paper map with me and the maps on my smartphone and GPS don’t show paths in the forest, so I kept on walking but after a while realised I was heading south and the cache was to the west. I found a track and started following it. Suddenly there was no track just a steep slope strewn with mossy boulders and a fence at the top. I realised I was on the south side of the limestone quarry. I continued on wondering where on earth the cache was going to be. A sweaty twenty minutes later I arrived at GZ. What a view. It was 24 C and a perfect place for a cup of coffee and a sandwich – if I had thought to bring something with me. This shouldn’t be hard I thought, there aren’t too many hiding places. After 20 minutes of futile searching I decided to “phone a friend”. I started with the CO only to find that the number I called had been transferred to someone else. He doesn’t work here any longer. I called Ironhawk67, X_1, Gustafs Lisa, Olleoljud and noone answered. It was then I considered giving up but I made another circuit around GZ. Nothing but mounting frustration. An idea popped into my head. Geocaching app message to the CO. Another circuit, this take anticlockwise around GZ. Yeah! There it was, hiding away under a stone overhang in a bed of moss and heather. Thirty seven minutes of my life had gone into finding the cache. Yes!

The logbook for Vitheten i det lilla korset

Well, as I was here and sweaty but pleased to have finally found the cache I set off up another hill towards Mot Körbergsklack #09 where there was a great view over the surroundings.

The wind shelter at the top of Körbergsklack.

Of course after I found the cache I also found some well defind paths, which made it a lot easier for me to find the next few caches before getting back to the car 47 minutes later (according to my GPS tracklog). Amongst the caches I found were the earthcache Klapperstensfältet vid Körberget, a very old and wizened spruce, that according to the photo in the cache description was quite impressive a century ago Krypgranen vid körbergets fot and a multicache at the limestone quarry Kalkbrottet.

A rather wizened creeping spruce.

I didn’t try to get too close to the edge of the quarry as it seemed to be a long drop down to the water. It was far easier getting back to the car from where I was. I just followed a clearly marked trail and once back in the car, the AC was immediately turned on so I could cool down. I enjoy warm days but this one came as a surprise and I don’t think my body was ready for it. The tracklog and elevation plot from Google Earth show in principle where I stopped on my wander through the forest. The limestone quarry can’t be seen but it’s in the centre of the “circle” that my route took.

Google Earth elevation and speed plot

A walk around Flughem starting at my car to the right and climbing to the highest point at the top left.





Forest trails

11 04 2017

It doesn’t seem so long since I last posted about our trip to Tenerife but nearly a month has passed. Since then I have found a steady stream of caches and planned for a new geocaching adventure that will add a new geocaching country to my list. However, nothing much of the day to day caching has been of great interest. A couple of new forest trails have turned up and my muggle partner and I have enjoyed a few hours walking in the forest along dirt roads. They are good if you wish to get some exercise but showing pictures from a forest with little in way of redeeming features like nice views from hills and over lakes isn’t so enthralling.

Our first walk in the forest was on the “Skogsdoft” trail, #1 – #10. This is a trail some 20 km by road to the west of Gävle.The sun was shining but it was still quite cold in the forest and the road was frozen to a great extent. There was, however, no snow in amongst the trees so getting to the caches was quite easy. We didn’t meet anyone on this walk.

Our second walk in the forest was just a few kilometers to the south of Gävle and here on the “End of the road Trail” we not only found all caches #1 – #10 but we met a fellow geocacher, Paraiba, at the final cache. Cache #4 was placed in a tree by the CO, a tree that had fallen offer for a logging company, so the FTF hunters had quickly passed by. At first sight I can understand why, but suddenly as I looked at the devastation and piles of lopped off branches my eye caught something that was out of place and it turned out to be the log book so this gave me an FTF, which is a rather unusual occurence for me these days.

FTF on a cache that a logging company had destroyed

Our third and final walk was on Sunday and again this was a warm and sunny day. The dirt roads had more or less dried up and once again we bumped into a fellow geocacher, madchicken, who was doing the complete trail från #1-#30 in a clockwise direction whilst we were doing the caches #30 – #11 in an anticlockwise direction. I reality we had planned to walk back the same way that we had come as it was shorter and we needed to revisit a couple of caches where we had failed to find anything. The additional help from Madchicken was a welcome bonus. He found one that I DNF’d on and I found the other so we were both happy.

Madchicken is in there somewhere

There is a great shelter nearby Skogsdoft #27 that has plenty of wood and a stove ready for use. In addtion there was a sign showing the history of the road, that I found to be quite interesting.

Well built shelter near Skogsdoft #27

Information about the forest road

The final short trail I did was “Skogslänk” and this was done by car early on Monday morning on my way to work and netted a further four FTF’s.

The week after Easter will be spent abroad and for those who are interested googling the image of a triskellion may give a clue to which country I mean.





Tenerife

15 03 2017

What could be better than a break from the Swedish winter with a holiday abroad? Somewhere where there was some sun and warmth? A few years ago (2014) we had a weeks holiday on Lanzarote in February and were disappointed by the cool weather (about 15C) that we had. This time we chose Tenerife with a definite geocaching goal in mind and that was to find a cache at a higher altitude than my previous record which is somewhere just under 3000 m. We were not disappointed with the weather either. Every day was between 25 -30 C in the shade due to hot winds blowing in from Africa. I saw that the week after we were there that the temperatures had dropped to around 15C so we were very lucky.

We stayed in Puerto de la Cruz on the northern coast of the island and didn’t find the bus transfer from the airport in the south to be a problem. It gave us some free sightseeing and a feel for what the island looked like. Our arrival day (Sunday) was used to install us in the hotel and eat dinner so no geocaching was on the cards. In fact, with the exception of the cache on Teide there was no real pressure to find caches.

There are not so very many caches in the town but there were a couple that had a high number of favourite points so I made a not of those as potential places to visit. The first cache find was a few hundred metres from the hotel Mirador la Paz which gave us a great view out over the town and the pools at Martianez. From there we walked across town as far as Castillo de San Felipe before returning back to the hotel.

View from Mirador la Paz

Castillo de San Felipe

Tracklog from 20170306 – Walk around Puerto de la Cruz

I had read that there were many walking tracks on the island and on the Tuesday after visiting the botanical gardens we started a walk up the hill towards La Orotava, This was a neat little climb of 337 meters in just over 3 km so a break at Vati was welcomed. The reward for reaching La Orotava was a great tapas lunch.

La Orotrava, a small town 4km up the hill from Puerto de la Cruz

Tracklog from 20170307 – La Orotrava

To get to Teide there are several choices, the easy ones being to rent a car or take a guided tour by bus. As I had just had a shoulder operation driving was out of the question so we took the guided bus tour. That meant missing out on a lot of caches (mostly eathcaches to my big disappointment) along the route but it did get us to the top cable car station on Teide. That was at 3500+ meters. To get to the peak you need a special permit and there were none available for the next couple of months and organised tours with the permit included are only on Sundays which didn’t allow us to take that choice. I thought I wasn’t going to find the micro Mount Teide (3528 m.a.s.l) amongst all the rocks by the path so was very relieved when I did. The second cache Pico del Teide eluded me (and a few others even though it was apparently found the same day I was there.

The Teide volcano as seen from Mirador de la Ruleta

The cable car at Teide takes you up over 1000 m in just a few minutes

The slope up Teide is getting close to 45 degrees. I’m glad there was a cable car!

The crater of Teide is about 45km wide

There are a lot of earthcaches in the area but as we didn’t have a car or possibility to stop the bus we had to be content with logging Piedra de la Rosa / Steinerne Rose) on the fly as the bus drove past and LA TARTA (TENERIFFA) at a rest stop.

Basalt rose stone formation

ds8300 in front of the earthcache La Tarta

Thursday was a lazy day but on Friday we made a 17 km walk along part of the “Ramblas de Castro”, a costal walkway. I would of liked to walk further but the temperature was over 30C so we decided it was not such a good idea without more training first. On the way to the entrance of the walkway we passed through town and found a couple of traditionals, Tree of Life #8 and Loro Parque where I picked up a couple of travelbugs to take back to Sweden.

A cache with TB’s at Loro Parque

When we reached the nature reserve that Ramblas de Castro passes through the first cache on my list was Pirates Treasure / Piratenschatz which by the description and number of favourite points was a fun cache. It was housed in an old deserted water tunnel of which there are thousands on the island. I was expecting a bit of a crawl but I only needed to go in a dozen or so metres before finding the cache. Nice one for kids actually. At about the same place it was possible to log the earthcache EC Erosion at Work and take a few photos.

The coast at Ramblas de Castro

From here we continued on to the island’s cache with the most favourite points – El Gordo (Lost Place). I love both Urban Exploration (UE) and Industrial Architecture and this cache hit the spot. I would have loved to go down to the building but the area was fenced off.

ds8300 with El Gordo (The lost place) in the background

Fascinating old ruins at El Gordo (The lost place)

The locked gate at the top of the path down to El Gordo (The lost place)

The lost place as seen from the locked gate

Tracklog from 20170310 – Ramblas de Castro

I found a couple more caches during the week but all in all, we had a lazy time and recharged our batteries in the best possible manner.





Belated geocaching targets 2017

30 01 2017

I’m not going to make it hard for myself this year. I am rolling over targets from 2016 as I didn’t meet most of them last year. Some of them are easy and target #3 will no doubt be fun but the last target is one that will demand more diligence and hard work I’m sure. Anyway here is the short list that I have.

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.





Jälla nature reserve

23 01 2017

This is the second year in a row when I have not travelled to New Zealand in January. The difference between those years I do and those I don’t is clearly reflected in my geocaching stats. In 2015 when I last visited NZ I found 258 caches in the month and in 2016 when I stayed at home I found a mere three caches in the same period. Terrible!. This year is somewhat better as I have found thirteen caches and the month is not over yet so there is a slight hope for improvement. I was in Uppsala last week and had a couple of hours of daylight to spare so I decided to hunt for some caches with many favourite points. My eye fell on “Råg” and as there were a few other caches nearby I decided to head out that way.

Plenty of caches to choose from

Plenty of caches to choose from

I parked at the entrance to Jälla nature reserve noting that the paths were icy but not thinking too much about it until I had slithered about 200 m up the road. I then remembered that I had slip on studs (broddar) in the car and had to consider if I should turn round and collect them or not. As my GPS showed 900 m to Råg I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort. I didn’t have any problems but in hindsight I would have easily made up the time it would have taken to go back to the car and the walk would have been safer. I made a mental note for next time.

The first cache I arrived at was Trollstigen 3 and access to this was through a gap in a fence, between two posts held together by a belt. The cache was in a stump in the middle of a clearing and easy to find. From there I walked on to Trollstigen 4 which was hidden behind a wind shelter in a construction that is quite common in Uppsala. All I need to say is that someone works for a ventilation company!

Wind shelter at Trollstigen 4

Wind shelter at Trollstigen 4

As I approached Råg I saw a man standing in the forest. not doing anything, just standing there. He didn’t say anything or even move as I approached the cache and he was still standing there when I left.

Man standing in the forest

Man standing in the forest

Some say he is John Steinbeck’s character – The Cacher in the Rye and some say he is just a shadow of Micke from Team_Ese.

A quick check of my GPS and the OSM map showed that it was only slightly longer for me to get back to the car if I followed the path/ski track back with the added bonus that I would pass by half a dozen caches on the way.

With the exception of one cache where the CO needs to do some maintenance all were found and all were in good condition. As I approached the car the sun was dropping down behind the trees and the temperature started to drop.

Sun setting behind the trees

Sun setting behind the trees

I had had a great walk and found some fun caches. It’s an area well suited to geocaches and I am sure I will be back later in the year to find more of the many that there are in the area. I made a brief stop on my way home at a rest area on the E4 called Tre Ängar. There I found a fun little cache.

Not quite visible in the photo is the obligatory phot of the king and queen

Not quite visible in the photo is the obligatory photo of the king and queen








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