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.

Tales from the trail VIII

Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple…

– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The fall is here. No question about it. We still have around 20 °C (68 °F) in the days but the temperature quickly falls when the sun set and at the time I get up in the morning the temperature is down at 5-8 °C (41-46 °F). The fact that the sun is traveling the skies in a lower and lower orbit and the hint of gold and blood in the maple leafs is other telltale signs.

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Another sign is the migrating species. Today me and my son went for some geocaching close to my work (free parking is always nice) but had to abandon the idea quickly once we got there. One of the migrating species that spends the winter here had returned in large herds and there was no way one could sneak past them. Noisy as seagulls, littering as a magpie and as lost as a duck in a shopping mall. I’m sure you have guess the species by know. The students are back in town, and as all years first week is full of “get to know each others”-games and drinking. Well, I’m glad they are back because without them I wouldn’t have the job I have, lets hope they behave this semester so I get a nice and relaxed fall at work.
We left them alone with their rituals, the cache can wait another week and went for another a few km away instead.

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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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Tales from the trail VI

Yesterday I and my son tried our luck on a mystery cache. I’m normally not that fond of the mystery caches since I’m having a hard time to solve them. The cache we visited was one that was marked as a field puzzle, meaning you are supposed to go there and see what the challenge is. Barcodes and rebuses are normal types of field puzzles I’ve encountered earlier. What I saw at the location of the cache made me laugh a bit. It was a field puzzle, or actually a field jigsaw puzzle.

This was a mystery cache that even I could solve.

The completed field puzzle

The completed field puzzle

Coordinates on the backside of the puzzle

Coordinates on the backside of the puzzle

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

We are on an adventure!

Summer is here and with some time of from work we have big plans. This week we will spend as far south as you can get on the mainland in Sweden. We are attending a summer camp for autistic children and their families in Ystad, and we are counting on a lot of splashing in the water, geocaching and sightseeing.

Since Ystad is 8-10 hours drive from home we decided to divide the driving into 2 days and spend a night at Marstrand, a really wonderful place.

Thanks to geocaching we had planed the trip into 2-hour parts with a nice stop for lunch and coffee, and this alone, being able to plan a trip without knowing anything about the places along the road makes it worth getting a geocaching account.

Lunch was planned at a small hidden beach, just 5 minutes from the highway. This beach used to be a stop for the steamboat that was taking people around the lake Hjälmaren. A perfect place for some hotdogs on a disposable barbeque.

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Old steamboat stop

Next stop was for some coffee at a motel that was built to attract people passing by once when this road was more used than today. Long time ago it was futuristic and, when USA was far away and expensive to get to, the USA inspired design helped bringing customers. Today it more looked like it was lost in time.

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Futuristic motel complete with 60’s America-inspired decorations

Third stop for our first day on the adventure was at our destination for the day, the island of Marstrand. To get to the island we had to leave our car on the mainland and get on the wire-driven ferry, not that it was far between the mainland and the island but the ferry made it feel like it was more than 200 meters from mainland. A wonderful island in the far west of Sweden with some wonderful walkways around the island and just about enough geocaches to keep us busy until bedtime. Dinner was burgers but not just any burgers! For the adults they came with shrimp and lobster “coleslaw”, my son had his burger chopped into pieces and without any vegetables and for my daughter it came without vegetables or burger at all. Only french-fries for her. I know that some parents with autistic children avoid restaurants because of the menu, I’m just saying that if it costs more than McDonalds then they often can make special arrangements if you just ask.

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Burger without meat, bread or vegetables.

After dinner we went to discover what the island had to offer and found a fortress, a lighthouse and more than a few stunning views. I often find it hard to take photos that show what I see but I think the scenery at Marstrand made is impossible to take bad pictures.

WP_000014Small alleys at Marstrand, there is no cars on the island so there is no need for large streets.

WP_000016Walking into the Carlsten fortress

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Guest-harbor was full of boats today

Sunset over the ocean as we saw it from our hotel.

Sunset over the ocean as we saw it from our hotel.

We found a bench named "Bench for memories" and had to try it out.

We found a bench named “Bench for memories” and had to try it out.

The geocache we found here was named ´Summer paradise´and at close to 11pm we felt that this was a place to return to sometime

The geocache we found here was named ´Summer paradise´and at close to 11pm we felt that this was a place to return to sometime

That lighthouse was as far as we could go towards west. Absolute magnificent walk out there.

That lighthouse was as far as we could go towards west. Absolute magnificent walk out there.

A bit further and we are in Denmark.

A bit further and we are in Denmark.

Mossbylund 2013 – part 1

Is that a castle?

Castles aren’t what castles used to be in in the stories. Today me and my son visited Wik castle some 30-40 minute drive from home. The castle is situated in a beautiful park that was our actual goal as there are two multi-caches hidden there.

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The park consists mostly of oak and hazel, and even the old and dead oak was left alone so they would attract bugs and birds as an effort to preserve the wildlife in the area. The oak-trees blocked most of the direct sun out and kept the temperature at a perfect level for our 2 mile walk through the park.

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When on our way back to the car I noticed that one of my favorite “smelly” flowers was just starting to bloom, it’s the lilac shrub.

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Did I mention that the whole area is full of history? Just a couple of kilometers away from Wik castle I found this 11th century rune stone depicting an elk-hunt. In the picture is a hunter on skis and one riding a horse. You can also see the elk and a hunting falcon that just has attacked the elk.

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