New Zealand in the rain

18 01 2018

I arrived at 05:00 on Tuesday morning (9th Jan) after a flight route that took me from Stockholm to Dubai then Melbourne and finally Christchurch. It was one of the shorter routes that I have taken. Over the years I have had long stops in Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo and of course, Sydney and Auckland. I think that this month´s stay is the fifteenth.

Tuesday was spent with getting a few practicalities sorted out, such as a local SIM card for my phone and toiletries including sun blocker. I have experience of leaky containers in my luggage before and try to avoid fluids as far as possible.

I was raring to go on Wednesday but was met with four days of continuous rain. Grrr! It did, however, give me chance to do some planning and booking of accommodation through ‘airbnb’. The concept sounds fine, but I had no idea what the reality would be like. I had my handheld comm radio with me and spent some time studying the manual, something I never seemed to be able to find time for earlier. As I am staying with good friends who live close to the flight path into Christchurch airport I have been listening to the traffic communications.

I finally got to do some geocaching on Saturday, in the rain of course, and that was an event with a nearby cache followed by a part of a mystery trail for mysts that I had solved over the past couple of years.

The event was Come and Visit Australia in November, 2018 hosted by GeocachingVictoria. Even in pouring rain at least 13 geocachers with families were there. Luckily I logged the cache Sure to Rise – Again! (Canterbury) at the event site as the one I found there in 2005 (Sure Thing (Canterbury)) was archived in 2009, replaced by another one in 2010, which also got archived and finally replaced by this third cache in 2012. Let’s see how long this one lasts.

The event was great in that I was able to connect a few more faces to geocaching nicknames as well as meeting people I know. I was also the fortunate winner of a geocoin promoting the mega event in Australia in November.It will follow me around until then. Let’s see where it gets. Geocoin The Alexandra Event 2017 Geocoin.

A wet event. That’s me holding up the geocoin I won.

As the rain eased off in the afternoon I decided to do some of the “Ahhh! Fresh Breath series” on the Old West Road, west of Christchurch. In total I have solved a couple of hundred mystery caches in the area before I came. Now all I have to do is find them.

The weather forecast for the coming few days is sun, sun, sun but as I write this att 21:00 on 18/1 it is pouring down again.

Advertisements




Souvenirs and more

3 08 2015

I have been back at work for three weeks and that has really slowed down my geocaching activities. Well, that’s not really true, I just feel too lethargic after work to make the effort to find any caches. Not a good sign. The number of unfound caches both in my home town of Gävle and close to work in Sandviken is increasing at an alarming rate. Some of them are brilliant but the majority are micros in boring places and I think that is contributing to my lack of effort to get out there and find them.

We are also encountering the “Myst syndrome”. Some may even say a plague. Of course, many cachers love the time they spend on solving mathematical, logical, picture or puzzles with really obscure thinking behind them and the cache itself is just a bonus. I still prefer to put coordinates into my GPS and go where it points me, but some of the puzzles are creative and fun to solve.

I visited the TBT trail between Åshammar and Alsjön on two occasions even though my intention was to complete the trail on one visit as it is not so long. On the first visit I lost time by talking to a guy I bumped into in the forest on a mushroom hunt and I hadn’t seen for some years. On the second one my passage was somewhat hampered by a huge boulder in the middle of the road that wasn’t there on my first trip. It seems that the landowner does this on quite a few roads in the area. Luckily I managed to squeeze by without scraping the car or driving into the ditch.

Something tells me traffic is not welcome here.

Something tells me traffic is not welcome here.

There are still a large number of PET tubes or bison caches hanging in trees in the area that I may look for if I have time.

As seems to be the case now, geoaching.com arrange some kind of promotion in August with different themes. This year it’s a road trip with five souvenirs to collect and a sixth bonus souvenir for collecting the first five. The first three were easy to achieve and surprisingly enough so was finding an earthcache. It’s a little strange that there aren’t more in Sweden considering the geology of the land. I found Ol-Larsbergen just to the west of Ockelbo, so not too long a drive from work. It was an interesting area.

Ol-Larsberget - the site of the nearest earthcache

Ol-Larsberget – the site of the nearest earthcache

From there I drove over to the ZGO trail but gave up after several DNF’s. It seems that in addition to caches having “walked” a couple of them had been replaced and my PQ had been downloaded before the move. The ground clearance of my car was a little too low for me to risk going on so I turned around. Perhaps it will be easier from the other end, or I will have to walk/bike. More on that trail later.

So now I have four of the souvenirs and next weekend I will hopefully be able to claim the fifth souvenir. Of course, that one is for finding a mystery cache. Luckily it’s not a problem as I have solved a number of mysts ready for me to get out and sign the logbooks.

Geocaching Road Trip 2015 souvenirs.

Geocaching Road Trip 2015 souvenirs.





Bear Lake

9 03 2015

I completed the 366 dates of the year challenge a couple of years ago but decided late last year in a moment of boredom that I could at least have two finds as a minimum on every date. If I didn’t miss any dates, even though that’s unlikely, I should be able to complete the second round on 29th February 2016, another leap year. Theoretically I should easily have been able to find a cache on the few dates each month where I have gaps but life tends to get in the way and I still have plenty of dates to work on. I started with 64 dates and have now whittled that down to twenty five.

Yesterday was one such day so I decided to look for not one cache, but seven on the mystery trail around Björsjön or in geocaching terms Bear Lake. It wasn’t a day with 13 C and sun that SMHI forecast a couple of days ago but it was around 10C and cloudy which was still quite pleasant for walking.

MadChicken placed a series of caches around the lake late last year and after solving a couple of the easy mysteries I decided that I would wait until I had solved them all before going out to the lake. Two of the caches are still on my unsolved list but I decided to go out to the lake anyway. On some days it is not possible to drive to the lake and on others it is. Today the barrier at the Järvsta end of the road was up so I drove in and parked close to the first trail head. What struck me most was that there was no snow, or very little at least, in the forest. Some short stretches of path had some ice on them where the snow had been packed by walkers but otherwise it was dry underfoot.

A snow free forest at the beginning of March

A snow free forest at the beginning of March

The first cache was Bear Lake #9 – Blues Brothers which told me I was doing the series in reverse! It was quickly located even if my GPS pointed me a little off GZ. As I approached Bear Lake #8 – Battlefield I realized why. The batteries were dying and that’s why the coords were way out. A fresh set of batteries cured that problem. I was busy changing batteries as I skirted a fallen tree so wasn’t really looking around me. I turned back after about ten meters and saw that I had walked under a fallen tree that was precariously leaning against a tree by the path. It could easily have fallen in the one of the many gusts of wind that yesterday brought with it. Beware, you who walk here in the next few days.

Don't walk under the tree!

Don’t walk under the tree!

Cache finds three and four for the day Bear Lake #7 – Picross II and Bear Lake #4 – C64 demanded a good search method as they were also not quite where my GPS was pointing, but nonetheless easy to spot when you looked in the right direction. The only hinder on the way was a bridge of sorts over a fast flowing stream that was more than half a meter deep. Luckily none of the tree trunks rotated or slipped so I got to the other side without getting wet.

Rather rickety bridge

Rather rickety bridge

This was where the fun stopped though. The remaining three caches in the series that I had solved had not been entered onto my GPS correctly which was quite evident from where the GPS was pointing me as it differed completely from what I remembered seeing on the map after I had solved the mysteries. Never mind. I enjoyed the walk which took me about an hour including the time needed to hunt for the caches and will come back here again after solving the final two mysteries. I can then log all five caches that remain.

I look forward to seeing more trails like this and of course now that more paths are open after the winter I will continue to build on my series in Hemlingby, the last one being Hemlingby Trail #13 – Child Proof





A walk in the forest

22 04 2014

It’s spring and the time that geocachers come out of their winter hibernation and start strewing caches all over town and country. I now have 48 cache within 5km from home that I need to find. Nearly half are mysteries that are on my “hold” list. The situation 5km from work is better, only 23 caches to find and no unsolved mysteries. However, just to the west of Sandviken where I work there are many more new caches to find due to new and active cachers in the area.

Trails between Sandviken and Åshammar

Trails between Sandviken and Åshammar

As it was such fine weather over Easter my partner and I decided to go for a walk and collect some caches at the same time. Of course a thermos of coffee and some sandwiches were taken along. The aim of the day was to find the cache on the Tuna Trail. The area is called Tuna and as far as I know there is not relation to the fish of the same name. I was half hoping that the barrier across the road would be open but guessed that it may not be. It wasn’t so we walked around the track. Getting back to the barrier some hours later we found it open. Murphy’s law of course. The caches were a mix of small and micro and their hiding places were mostly a mix of under rocks or hanging in trees.

A typical cache.

A typical cache.

A typical view along the Tuna trail

A typical view along the Tuna trail

We found 14 of the fifteen caches. The DNF was on a cache in a tree. Despite climbing up the tree I didn’t see the cache. Slightly irritating is that we met a fellow goecacher on the second trail we followed from Ludvika. A guy with the nickname Sharkoak. He found the cache later in the day. Duh. I heard later from DanPia that one of the FTFers thought it would be fun to place the cache much higher up the tree than the CO intended. I never understand why some people can’t respect the CO’s placement of caches.

The second track we followed was somewhat shorter and had just ten caches. One of them on the track – The shorter twin had a T4 rating but we found the cache on the ground. There was a long branch lying on the ground next to it and a short branch on the tree that looked like the likely place for the cache to be hung, if judging the wire loop on the cache was anything to go by. A few minutes of attempting to get the cache back in position failed by just a few centimeters. A little way along the track we met Sharkoak, who’s nickname and today’s date we had seen in all the caches so far. He was carrying a strap and explained that he had knocked the cache down from the tree but was too short to put it back. We continued on to the remaining caches and on the way back noted that the cache was hanging in the tree again.

The cache should have been hanging on the lowest branch but we found it on the ground

The cache should have been hanging on the lowest branch but we found it on the ground


Apparently it was a busy day as several other well known geocachers were on the trail the same day but we didn’t meet them. One of them, IrreVilse, I met at the CITO event in Gävle the weekend after and we updated each other on what we had been up to. I got a hint on a cache of mine that needs some maintenance so that will have to be done next week.





Midsummer on Flinsberget

22 06 2013

Early Midsummer Eve morning the weather on the coast was not brilliant. In principle the sky was mostly blue but there were grey clouds on the horizon. The temperature was around 14C, it wasn’t raining but looked as though it could do any moment. As dancing round maypoles pretending to be frogs is no longer on our list of favourite pastimes and the pickled herring with a beer and auquavit or two would put paid to any chance of driving afterwards we decided to drive towards Hedemora and this series of nearly 30 caches on a 7 km track round Flinsberget. I had meant to do this the previous weekend but other activities got a higher priority. It turned out that we made the right choise of place to be.

We arrived at the car park just after 9 am and had a quick cup of coffee at the Fadderuttanstugan before starting off. Of course there was a cache at the cottage – an old one placed by Trang in 2008 called simply Flinsberget. After drinking our coffee we followed the track uphill reading all the signboards as we walked on. It was then I noticed that we had missed Vandringsled #1 Informationstavla as that was on a different track, but I decided that as it was so close to the car park I could do it at the end of our walk.

The first kilometer was a climb of just over 100 meters but the track was fine and the sun was shining, there was a light breeze and there were birds singing and insects buzzing. A perfect day for walking! I stopped to take some photographs and found that my camera was not functioning properly. Compact digital cameras and I don’t seem to get along too well. This is my fourth or fifth camera over not so many more years. They seem to live until the guarantee runs out then break down. I got a lens error message and a very blurred photo. Later on it packed up completely, then as inexplicably started working again.

Photos of the best views were blurred

Photos of the best views were blurred

Approaching Storabborsjön

Approaching Storabborsjön

We passed the closed cottage at Stora Aborrtjärn which seemed to belong to some kind of organisation as it was definitely not a private cottage. There was no-one there so we stopped at a bench by the lake for our lunch.

Our lunch stop. It was now quite warm and the rest was appreciated

Our lunch stop. It was now quite warm and the rest was appreciated

As we were sitting there a dragonfly repeatedly landed on a twig a couple of meters in front of me. I tried to get a close up of it as the translucent wings glittered in the sun. I took several photos but the camera wasn’t cooperating. This is the best I got.

I just couldn't get the camera to focus :-(

I just couldn’t get the camera to focus 😦

The trail followed a dirt road for about another kilomter before going back into the woods and down to Skärsjöskäret. It’s an unusual name for a lake and a real tongue twister to pronounce.

What a mouthful! Not for English tongues.

What a mouthful! Not for English tongues.

The trail then wound past a couple of springs with Lilla Aborrtjärn lying between them. The cache, Vandringsled #17 Råkälla, was tricky to find and when it finally appeared it was obvious that it had been replaced at some point as the log strip differed to the rest of the series.

A sign at one of the springs

A sign at one of the springs

This was the 2nd spring we passed

This was the 2nd spring we passed

It was on this next stretch that a capercaillie (tjäder for my Swedish readers) flew up right in front of me and gave me a bit of a fright. Apart from that and other much smaller birds we didn’t see any wildlife. However, the sign seemed to indicate that unusual pink animals were to be seen here.

This sign warned us of dangerous animals?

This sign warned us of dangerous animals?

Obviously there are a fair number of moose in the area as the salt lick was well used.

A well used salt lick

A well used salt lick

When we got back to the car we had found 27 of the 28 cache in the series and just had to find #1. When I got to GZ there was obvious signs of searching in the very clearly hinted spot. I didn’t find the cache though so I suspect it has gone. We found a couple of other caches in the area not belonging to the trail so at the end of the walk we went home with thirty finds and had a great walk finding them. Thanks Svedjan for the trail.

Thirty new smileys on the geocaching map.

Thirty new smileys on the geocaching map.





Sala trails

26 03 2012

It’s been an intensive weekend. I spent Saturday in the forests to the northwest of Sala and Sunday at an event I organised in Hemlingby, Gävle.

Firstly, the trip to Sala. If you live anywhere in Sweden the name Sabolina is synonymous with hundreds of placed caches, mostly in the area centred on Möklinta. Never heard of Möklinta? Don’t worry, if you blink as you pass through you may miss it. In other words it’s a typical small Swedish village. Over the past couple of months I have been finding single caches on predetermined dates in order to fill my DOTY matrix. This weekend I just wanted to be greedy and find loads of caches! I have done sections of the powertrail that follows Dalälven and get really bored with the “in and out of the car” business. When I was on holiday in New Zealand this January I did a PT with just over 50 caches on foot – a 25km walk and enjoyed it.

What I decided to do was walk the Old Trailroad series of 17 caches and then try to cut across the forest to the top end of the Snapsätra series then back down to my car. What I didn’t count on was a big military depot being in the way. That’s why my route wasn’t quite a triangular loop. The other caches not on the turquoise track belong to other Sabolina trails and these I visited by car so I didn’t need to walk back anywhere to collect it. The loop I did consisted of forty one caches over a 14km walk.

Walked the turquoise trail of 14km


Most of it was on pretty flat ground so it wasn’t strenuous going. One of the first caches on the Old Trailroad was at the other side of a ditch and when I was jumping back over I caught my foot in a root as I launched myself and ended up on my knees at the other side of the ditch with a pulled calf muscle. I though that my caching day would end there but the pain eased off and I could limp off to get further caches. A further five caches along the trail and I though I was going to get a DNF. The difference between Old Trailroad 12 and earlier caches was that the tree where the cache was located was much larger. Most of the previous caches were at chest to eye level. It took me a while before my gaze headed upwards and I spotted the cache about 6m up in the tree! There were two choices, get it or forget it. I took off my rucksack and went for it hoping that my pulled calf muscle wouldn’t let me down. It didn’t.

You can just see the yellow capped PET preform at the top of the tree trunk

It still don’t know if the cache was intentionally placed that high or if one of the earlier finders “spiced things up” a little. I can’t see Sabolina putting it there though. The rest of the series was straightforward and at the end of the trail I noted the presence of a depot and where the old railway went in.

End of the line


The final cache was hidden under a fishplate on the last remaining 100m or so of track that hadn’t been pulled up.

I couldn’t see an easy way to get across to the northernmost cache of the Snapsätra trail as there was the big depot in the way and the roads north of the forests didn’t go in quite the right direction. I backtracked to Old Trailroad 13 which was south of the obstacle and headed into the forest aiming for the 10km track that was marked on the map. It was fairly open terrain and the track was easy to find. I stopped at the highest point for a cup of coffee and a sandwich from my rucksack.

I joined the Snapsätra trail at #2 and headed north towards #8. I had just reached #6 when a car came from the north. It turned out to be JimmyP who I know by name but hadn’t met before. We stopped and had a chat and compared notes before continuing on our separate ways. I finished the Snapsätra series and found myself suddenly doing a new series called “Strå” with 20 caches in it on my way back to the car.
Once back at the car which I had parked at the start of the Old Trailroad I had my lunch and made a note of JimmyP’s geomobile TB number. He was parked next to me and presumably walking the Old Trailroad. I had told him about the climb up the tree so I had to check the logs later to see if he had done the climb. Yes, of course he had!

Liverleaf or Blåsippor


Spring is really with us now as was shown by being able to find liverleaf “blåsippor” (Hepatica nobilis) in various places along the trail as well as bullfinches “domherre” (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) and other small birds perched in the trees keeping an eye on me.

The second part of the day was a typical in and out of the car trail which I am not too fond of. It tends to boost the numbers so I was able to find another 40 caches or so but not as quickly as you might think. It took me four and a half hours of walking to find the first forty caches, which included stopping for coffee then lunch, perhaps 30 minutes, but three hours of virtually non-stop caching using the car in order to find a similar number of caches. I met another three cachers in a car & I guess that they were able to do the same stretch in a shorter time as they had a dedicated driver and two hunters. Who were they? Rabarbapapa, Nicke Nyfiken and Buster???.

I had an enjoyable day out and on the way back home as I was passing through Möklinta with my eyes open I spotted MrZZ so stopped to have a chat with him and Sabolina. It gave me the chance to thank them for the effort they put into creating and maintaining all those caches.








%d bloggers like this: