Small glimpses of light in the dark December

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

–          Eleanor Roosevelt

Up here where we live, close to a longitude of 60° north, we have just passed the shortest days of the year and the lack of snow don’t make it any better. We have around 5h 40min of daylight each day at the moment. The lack of daylight is a small problem when it comes to normal geocaching and a flashlight is needed even to find the simple traffic-sign caches. The darkness is also an obstacle for geocachers that wishes to place new geocaches during this time of the year so some creativeness has been used when placing a few of the caches my son and I visited a few days ago.

This cache was made by hanging reflecting Christmas gifts to mark a path through a pitch black forest.
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Another cache that we visited had no marked path but once close to it there was no way to miss it as it even had its own light powered by solar cells and batteries.WP_000269 (2)

Caches like these make it easier to accept the lack of daylight. Looking forward to our Thailand trip in February and my Las Vegas trip in May or my Boston trip in June also helps with the winter. I think I need to start looking for caches at those locations just to create a bit of sunshine in my mind.

Who stole the winter?

Below are a few pictures from when my son and I visited my parents a few weeks ago. There is something missing in these pictures, can you see what is missing? Snow! There is no snow in the pictures! Rain and fog but no snow. I admit it was easier to find the geocache than if there had been snow but stil, this is not a real Winter.

Mid December. Rain 10 degrees warm and rain.

Mid December. Rain 10 degrees warm and rain.

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Normally we have around ½ m (2’) of snow and -5 to -15 degrees C at this time of the year but this year we have green grass and 5 to 10 degrees warm. Even if snow makes some geocaches harder it also makes some walks in the woods easier when the ground is frozen solid. The snow also helps lighten up the dark winter.

Tales from the trail VII

Temporis fila.
Child of time.

That was a favorite expression of Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linne) he used to take his students out into the nature, let them collect the plants they thought where interesting, and show them to Carolus who would tell them about their findings. I’m quite confident that if Carolus Linnaeus lived today he would be a geocacher.

Today my son came home from a weekend at the short stay away home, where he lives in regular intervals to let us recharge a little extra, and of course we had to go out geocaching. Today we decided to walk in Carolus Linnaeus footsteps, more or less, and keyed in the coordinates for one of the Carolus Linnaeus multicaches that exist close to our home. I’ve told about one of the other multis in this series over here. The multicaches teaches you about Carolus Linnaeus and what he saw in his time while you follow one of the paths he used to take with his students out from the city and out into the nature. These multis always end with a nice walk over field or into the forest.

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Today we also felt the fall is closing in, it’s still warm and summer but the air starts to feel a bit fresher with the slightest hint of chilliness when the sun sets for the night. I have also noticed that a few trees have started to lose the chlorophyll in its leaf. And there are bugs, lots of bugs. I had an orange t-shirt while we were out today and bugs and small beetles were pull to it like magnets. This weekend I even found myself being the main meal for 3 ticks, and I haven’t had ticks in many years despite geocaching.

And here are a few bugs for all computer nerds, like me, out there. Remember Form.A, Cascade and all the other computer viruses that was created because someone was smart enough to do it and wanted to show it? When there was no underground economy that tried to infect computers to earn money? Well, look at what I found in a drawer at work today.

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What do you want to do today?

This morning, right after breakfast, my son was a little anxious and kept pulling my arm and it was quite obvious he tried to tell me something. I didn’t understand what he wanted, or perhaps I did, so I asked him to get his Ipad and show me what he wanted. Within seconds he had it in his hand and tapped two pictures before he gave it to me. “Geocaching” and “By Car” was what he told me and by that he decided how we spent this Saturday morning. For someone who can’t speak, verbally or with sign language, he’s starting to get good at telling us what he wants.

Geocaching + By Car

Geocaching + By Car

Challenge accomplished!

I think I have meantioned it before bur it’s wort meantioning again. When I’m out geocaching with my son then the trip is the goal, not the cache itself, and since the trip is the goal we prefer caches that has atleast some scenery along the way. Park and grabs to make it to our found lists but almost always just because it was on it’s way to something “better”.

I guess our preferences shows in our found statistics and the fact that we managed to log the challenge cache GC3DPB3 as second visitor in almost 1½ year after it was published. That’s something special over here where a new cache often has it’s first find within hours after it is published and ten finds or more during the first week. Requirements for logging GC3DPB3 was to first have logged geocaches within atlest 25 nature preserves within Uppsala county.

Hazelnut forest at Hagalund nature preserve

Hazelnut forest at Hagalund nature preserve

Pursuing your dreams

Dreams are a bit like geocaching, you have a goal and just need to figure out how to get there.

A while ago I wrote about having a bucketlist and I listed some caches that I’d really want to visit and show to my son if I was given the opportunity. Well, I figured out that the opportunity will not just be given, it had to be taken.

After our short road trip to southern Sweden, while my son was away at the short stay away home, I packed our rucksacks and planed the drive. We were going to visit GCGWED, Njupeskär Vattenfall! Number three on our bucketlist!

An early morning we left home and a 6 hours drive and 4 hours hike with a 300+ feet climb and 20 kg in my rucksack we arrived at our “basecamp” by the lake Rösjön. We had a wonderful hike even if we had to break up half a day earlier than expected. In the end I think we walked 30-35 km, sometimes in really bad terrain, during the 48 hours we spent on our adventure.

In the end I think that a new world opened up for us, I need to tweak our hiking gear a little with a portable toilet that I can carry outside my rucksack, but other than that I don’t think there is anything that can stop us from longer hikes into the wilderness of Sweden.

Now on to plan next adventures. We have Thailand in March and I’ll see if I can bring my son to Boston in June but there is so much time to fun things in untill then … and then there is the ultimate journey to plan, the one that my wife just shakes her head at when I bring it up 🙂

Our Basecamp

Our Basecamp

Plenty of cloudberries around to eat while we were walking.

Plenty of cloudberries around to eat while we were walking.

Terrain slowed us down at some places.

Terrain slowed us down at some places.

Geocaching in the evening. This is close to 10pm while we are on our way back to basecamp.

Geocaching in the evening. This is close to 10pm while we are on our way back to basecamp.

Don't know why but people enjoy building with stones.

Don’t know why but people enjoy building with stones.

On our way to visit the waterfall once we got down from the mountain again.

On our way to visit the waterfall once we got down from the mountain again.

Thats about 90 meters of falling water.

Thats about 90 meters of falling water.

This is probably the picture with worst quality but that has the most to tell. This picture is what told me that my son enjoyed our adventure and even if I'm still limping it was totally worth it.

This is probably the picture with worst quality but that has the most to tell. This picture is what told me that my son enjoyed our adventure and even if I’m still limping it was totally worth it.

Mossbylund part 2

The journey between Marstrand and Mossbylund was uneventful and once there we prepared for a week of relaxing, some sightseeing and not so much geocaching. Ystad is the closest town and it has a nice centrum perfect for strolling around, complete with small alleys, lots of roses and a medieval greyfriars abbey.WP_000044 (2)

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Mossbylund, the hotel where we are staying, is just 100 meters from a nice beach so there was a lot of bathing for the kids, less for me as the temperature was only 16⁰C (61⁰F).

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During our stay in Mossbylund we did short visits at Ale stenar, a megalithic monument, and Smygehuk, the southernmost point in Sweden. At Smygehuk there were some old coast defense facilities but they were all dismantled and left for geocachers to roam around in.

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On our way back home we visited the Kolmården wildlife park and stayed there over the night. The best attraction at Kolmården was the low-going cableway that gets you really close to the animals.

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