One down, two to go

14 12 2015

Despite this being the middle of December winter is not really closing in. There is no snow and temperatures above zero are forecast for Christmas. Today I needed to find a cache for my “cache on every date of the year – round 2” activity. During November I was able to find caches on the dates of interest either on my way home from work at the beginning of the month or as the daylight hours diminished, on my way to work during the latter part of the month.

My goal will hopefully be met after three more finds, the one today and then two in February, on the 13th and finally on the 29th. As the sun doesn’t rise until 08:55 my journey to work is in the dark and of course as the sun sets at 14:37 it’s completely dark when I go home. In order to cache in daylight I had to do a quick lunchtime cache. The positives for today were that the sun was shining despite it just being a few degrees above the horizon and that there was a cache just a few minutes drive from my office. The negatives were that it was -7 C and a hard wind was blowing. Oh, and that I didn’t have the coords in my GPS and I realized as I left the office my smart phone needed charging. I happened to be driving past GZ a few months ago when cgocgo was placing the cache, even if I didn’t realize what he was doing at the time. I should have stopped and got an FTF but I suspect it hadn’t been published then. At least I knew what kind of object hosted the cache.

Ice piling up near the shore of Storsjön by the wind blowing across the open water

Ice piling up near the shore of Storsjön by the wind blowing across the open water

When I reached Sandvikens Jernverk #3 – Kraft 2nd Edition there was good parking and the hint gave me only a handful of places to search. With the wind howling across the open western stretch of water in Storsjön and the sun shining right into my eyes I located the cache in the last place I looked. Doesn’t that always seem to be the case? So with frozen fingers I signed the log strip and hurried back to the car where I turned the heater up to full and drove back to work. Another one ticked off and just two to go. Now I’m looking forward to a few days off work at Christmas and hopefully a chance to spend more than half an hour caching.


Ten Years After

10 04 2013

No, I’m not going to start talking about Stonedhenged or Cricklewood Green but about the ten years that I have been geocaching. It started with me wanting to buy a GPS receiver but not really knowing why I wanted one. I spent a few weeks hunting down a suitable unit and in the process read about geocaching. When my Garmin eTrex Legend arrived in the post from England I immediately registered with and discovered that there were very few geocaches in the Gävle area. There were about ten caches within 50km from home. Today there are nearly 800 active caches in the same area!

Anyway, it took me a couple of days of playing around with the unit before I made my first trek off into the wilds. Well, in reality it was a walk of a few hundred meters from Gävle Bro which is a rest area, restaurant and filling station on the E4 on the outskirts of Gävle proper.

The cache was Gavle-bro by Piggen and it is still active! It was placed on April 4th 2003, just nine days before I found it. I was the second to find it, one day after a cacher called Piggepunk, who has found a total of six caches and doesn’t seem to have been active since April 10th 2009 (exactly six years to the day after I started caching). I sometimes think that a FTF on my first ever cache find would have been fantastic, but STF is what I got and can’t be changed.

Since then I have continued to maintain an interest in geocaching that has been at a relatively good level and is the first hobby/sport/pastime that has kept my interest for so long!

Now, ten years after, I have found nearly 4000 caches, and yes I know, there are those who have found that many in a fraction of that time, and have found all 81 possible combinations of difficulty and terrain, and found a cache on every day of the year, and for every month they have been placed since the start of geocaching, not to mention being an extreme, extreme cacher. Hmm, do they have a life that includes anything else?

I guess that one of the characteristics of a cacher is the “nerd” factor. I enjoy statistics. How many boroughs in Sweden have I found caches? Can I find caches in them all? Can I fill the D/T matrix? I have only three to go. How many countries have I found caches in or will I find the last two caches for the Jasmer challenge? So here we go, some screenshots from GSAK which as many geocachers will know is a really great tool to keep track of caches. The wealth of support from “clever, intelligent and good looking” geocachers is amazing. There are some fantastic macros that generate the statistics that I enjoy reading and are shown below.

Here are a few milestones:
78 of the 81 D/T combinations.

Three D/T combinations to go

Three D/T combinations to go

Finds on all found dates of the year

A full 366 day find chart

A full 366 day find chart

Finds on all but one of the placed dates of the year

Just one date left to find

Just one date left to find

Finds on all but two of the placed months of the year (Jasmer Challenge)

Two months to go

Two months to go

A spontaneous thought on which is my all time favourite cache brings me to The 2 Towers I saw now that this was my 300th find two years after starting geocaching.

I wanted to celebrate my ten years of caching by placing a couple of caches. I willingly admit that I asked a caching team on the other side of the world if I could copy a couple of their caches as I found them fun and challenging. Unfortunately the rules for cache placement have changed and it wasn’t possible for the present reviwer in Sweden to accept them. For those of you who want to know what you will miss here are the two original caches.
New Zealand D/T Bingo 1 Line Challenge (Auckland)
New Zealand D/T Bingo 3 Line Challenge (Auckland)

So now I have to decide what I am going to do with the two caches that are located out in the Hemlingby naturreserve. 🙂

So my first ten years as a geocacher have seen many changes in the pastime/hobby/sport/obsession. Some of them are for the better and some are for the worse. I imagine that the next ten years will see even bigger changes. I’m looking forward to looking back on twenty years of geocaching. Now I have to get out and find some caches to finish off my various targets. The one I am looking forward to most is the completion of the Jasmer challenge. I will have to start saving so I can afford a long trip to either USA(Utah) or Australia. Is it worth it for some tupperware and a tick on a list. Keep following my blog and you will see.

Completion of the DOTY challenge

15 03 2012

My plan was to complete the DOTY challenge by finding Lantmäteriet. I thought it was fitting, as Lantmäteriet is the Swedish equivalent of the UK Ordnance Survey or the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) in the US. However, some of the best made plans don’t work out as expected. I woke early this morning and checked my mail. A new cache was launched not far from my office. Now that in itself is unusual as there are not so many active geocachers in the Sandviken ara but as I had got an FTF a couple of days ago at Borrsjöån and thought I had an FTF yesterday at Välkommen till Långängarna only to find that I had opened the log book at the wrong end and had been beaten to the FTF by about 90 minutes I was determined not to lose another FTF today so I set off from home at 06:30 and arrived at Ålsjön a couple of minutes before seven o’clock. Was I going to be first today or had another early bird beaten me to it? This time I checked both ends of the log book and made sure it really was empty.

Logging the FTF at Ålsjön 1 just after dawn.

So my 2850th find on the last DOTY was an FTF! It felt like a good way of completing the challenge. I did log a find for Lantmäteriet today as well but not until this evening.

Lantmäteriet by night

It was good to find a well stocked regular cache in town so I hope it stays there for some time.

A well stocked cache

Now that I have finally filled in all 366 DOTY I feel both happiness and a sense of relief. From now on I can hunt for caches when I feel like it and don’t need to be steered by the calendar.

The completed DOTY matrix

My next geocaching adventure will be Vårevent i Gävle. It’s the first time I have arranged an event so it won’t be anything spectacular, just a chance to meet some of the other cachers in and around Gävle that I know only by their nicknames, as well as those who I have met over the years. Hope to see you all there!


10 03 2012

As with the cache I found yesterday I had scouted out where I needed to go, not that I had needed to, as it was easy to find even without a GPS (Thank you Google Streetview). What was interesting though was that just three days ago I read a blog by Apeshaft that showed the building in question at GZ. Here it is again, with the old deaf and dumb school in new gothic style in the background. Today’s cache was called Prinsessan and was placed the day princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary was born.

Vallback school

I can hardly wait until the 15th to be able to fill in the single blank date on the DOTY matrix. Then I will start on other challenges. More of that after the 15th!

Just one date left to fill!

2 DOTY – nearly there

9 03 2012

Seven o’clock and people are on their way to work, dog owners are letting their beloved pooches stretch their legs and I am placing the kitchen steps next to a post. Now, of course, it’s not any old post chosen at random. It’s a special post because it is intimately linked with my “cache of the day”. Usually I mention which cache I find but to do so today would be a spoiler for those hunting it. Those of you who have found it know which one it is anyway. Just ask SR88! 🙂

Brains not brawn

So now I just have two dates to fill. I haven’t decided which cache to hunt for tomorrow but the final cache has been earmarked. Which one you may wonder? Read my blog on Thursday.

DOTY2 Nearly there!


7 03 2012

I woke early this morning so instead of looking for a cache after work I decided that I would take a short detour on my way to work. Rather than go for one of the “urban” caches in Gävle surrounded by all the other muggles on their way to work I decided to look for the nearest cache out of town. My choice was Ladan as it’s only 2km away from home. I can’t really say it’s on my way to work but not too much of a detour. So at ten minutes past seven the log was signed and as it was a healthy -6C I hurried back to the warmth of the geomobile parked just up the road from the barn.

A rather tired barn

I suspect that this is one of the easier Team Paraiba caches but I am looking forward to ticking off the other ones as well. Now there are only three more dates to fill and then there is spring to look forward to!

3 DOTY remaining

4 DOTY and finally ticked off a cache I’ve passed a thousand times!

6 03 2012

I live in Gävle and work in Sandviken which means that every working day for the past nearly five years I have passed within 400 m of the cache “Ruin in the wood. When it first came out I thought that I would stop off on my way home from work one day and grab it and that’s about as far as I developed my hunt for the cache until a summer day a couple of years ago when I actually left the motorway and drove to the closest point I could get to the cache. That’s when I realised that the last eighty meters or so so were why the terrain was listed as a T3.5. There was a wide stream and a flooded area followed by a high fence and a steep hill on the other side. As Plan A didn’t seem to be a goer I decided to resort to plan B which was to ignore the cache on my daily commute. 🙂

I was passing by on my way home from work today, heading for a cache in Gävle so that I could tick off today’s date when I thought. “Nu j**la, skall jag ta den”. As I had already driven past the right turn off I had to continue along the motorway to the next exit and then double back on myself until I could park the car in a suitable place. As my first attempt was from the North I decided to have a go from the South.
I slithered my way down an icy hill and found a rapidly running stream on one side and an area of frozen water on the other side where after the past few days high temperatures the ice look pretty untrustworthy. Just as I got to, what at first seemed to be a dead end, I found that there was a way between the two areas of water and then up a steep bank through unusual vegetation towards the cache. There were a lot of reed type plants but not in water. What I had judged from the offset to be 380m of nearly inpenetrable forest and quagmire turned out to be a manageable walk to GZ. On three sides of the land that the ruin stood on were steep slopes down to water. As most of it was frozen now I could only guess what it would look like in summer. One thought that crossed my mind was that it would be pretty darned hard to get across.

Cache and contents

Signed log book for the cache #Ruin in the wood"

Of course, I didn’t have a good camera with me so my phone camera had to do. The cache was found right where the GPS pointed and was in good shape after the winter. I almost did a little dance before making my way back to the car without getting any undue mishaps. So now I only have another four dates to fill in and plenty of local caches to choose from.

4 DOTY left and going well

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