A glimpse of history: Border walk in Schlossberg – Additional material

August 24, 2018

This document contains a collection of pointers to additional material (books, TV documentaries etc) which relates to topics only touched on the surface in my project “A glimpse of history: Border walk in Schlossberg”. Most of the material is in German. Pointers to additional material (in particular in Slovenian or English) are very welcome – the document will then get updated.

The forgotten (Slovenian) minority/language

  1. Die vergessene Minderheit, TV documentary by Franz Leopold Schmelzer about the Slovenian minority, in German, 1992, translated title “The forgotten minority”.

  2. Stajerska: Die andere Steiermark”, TV documentary by Franz Leopold Schmelzer about the Slovenian Styria, in German, 1996, translated title “The forgotten Lower Styria (Stajerska).

  3. Gabriel Haring, Unterdrückt – verdrängt – verschwunden: Das Schicksal des Slowenischen in der südlichen Steiermark seit den 1930er Jahren, in German, translated title “Oppressed – displaced – disappeared: The fate of the Slovene language in Southern Styria since the 1930s”, Diploma Thesis, University of Graz, 2014.

  4. Christian Promitzer, Verlorene Brüder. Geschichte der zweisprachigen Region Leutschach in der südlichen Steiermark (19. – 20. Jahrhundert), in German, translated title “Lost brother. History of the bilingual region Leutschach in southern Styria (19-th and 20-th century), PhD Thesis, University of Graz, 1996, no online version available, paper version can be borrowed in the Library of the University of Graz.

  5. Christian Promitzer, How Not to Constitute a Minority: The Slovenians in Austrian Styria at the End of World War Two, in: 1945 – A Break with the Past. A History of Central European Countries at the End of World War Two, Zdenko Čepič (editor), Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino – Institute for Contemporary History, Ljubljana, 2008, pp. 101 – 122.
  6. Pavelhaus/Pavlovi hiša, Museum and home base of the “Article VII culture association” (Artikel-VII-Kulturverein für Steiermark” which represents the Slovenian minority in Styria.

  7. Anton Šantel, Grenzenlos zweisprachig. Die Erinnerungen des Keuschlersohnes Anton Šantel (1845-1920) an seine Kindheit in Leutschach und Jugend in Marburg, Klaus-Jürgen Hermanik and Christian Promitzer (editors), German translation by Andrea Haberl-Zemljič, Leykam, Graz 2002.

    Memories of Anton Šantel about his youth in Leutschach.

  8. Eva Menasse, Aufruhr im Gasthof, Die Slowenen, die Steiermark und der Artikel Sieben, FAZ, June 6, 1998, not available free of charge.

    There is a freely available Slovenian translation however by Katarina Bogataj.

Josef Schleich

  1. Das Reisebüro des Josef Schleich, TV documentary on Josef Schleich (in German), translated title “The travel agency of Josef Schleich”.
  2. Das Reisebüro des Josef Schleich, Medienbegleitheft”, in German, Supplementary material on the TV documentary, targeted to classroom use, Austrian Ministry for Education, 2002.
  3. Hannelore Fröhlich, Judenretter – Abenteurer – Lebemann: Mein Vater Josef Schleich – Spurensuche einer Tochter”, in German, LIT Verlag, Berlin-Münster-Wien-Zürich-London, LIT Premium Band 5, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8258-0923-2.
  4. Walter Brunner, Josef Schleich “Judenschlepper” aus Graz 1938-1941. Eine Dokumentation, in German, LIT Verlag, Berlin-Münster-Wien-Zürich-London, Series “Forschungen zur geschichtlichen Landeskunde der Steiermark”, Volume 78, 2017, ISBN 978-3-643-50785-3.

    This book is the most detailed account of Josef Schleich that is available. Parts of the book are available via google search.

  5. Das seltsame Reisebüro des Josef Schleich, Newspaper article, in German, Kleine Zeitung, 2013.
  6. Robert R. Weiss, Der steirische Schindler, German and some English.

Life in the border region

  1. Edda Engelke, Jeder Flüchtling ist eine Schwächung der Volksdemokratie, in German, LIT Verlag, Berlin-Münster-Wien-Zürich-London, Series “Forschungen zur geschichtlichen Landeskunde der Steiermark”, Volume 56, 2011, ISBN 978-3-643-50364-0.

    This book deals with the story of the thousands of refugees who crossed illegally from Yugoslavia to Austria in the 1950-ies. The book is mainly based on transcripts of the Styrian Security Directorate. These documents have sunken into oblivition and were found by chance by a police officer in a Schlossberg tunnel more than 50 years later. Parts of the book are available via google search.

  2. Steiermark verbunden über alle Grenzen”, TV documentary by Gernot Lercher, in German, translated title “Styria – connected across all boundaries”.

    The documentary reports about the Tertinjek family and their home the Serschenhof, on the Remschnigg. Full version of the documentary.

  3. Information on the Styrian whine road (in German)
  4. A MTB tour along smuggling routes in the Styria-Slovenian border region, description in German.
  5. Die schmerzhafte Teilung der Steiermark, in German, translated title “The painful separation of Styria”, Newspaper article, by Helmut Konrad, Kleine Zeitung, 2018.

WW2 and after

  1. Heimo Halbrainer, Erinnerungszeichen für PartisanInnen in der Steiermark, in German, in Jahrbuch 2009: Schwerpunkt Bewaffneter Widerstand – Widerstand im Militär, Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes.

  2. Zdenko Čepič, The War is Over. What Now? A Reflection on the End of World War Two, in: 1945 – A Break with the Past. A History of Central European Countries at the End of World War Two, Zdenko Čepič (editor), Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino – Institute for Contemporary History, Ljubljana, 2008, pp. 5-20.

  3. Aleš Gabrič, Opposition in Slovenia in 1945, in: 1945 – A Break with the Past. A History of Central European Countries at the End of World War Two, Zdenko Čepič (editor), Inštitut za novejšo zgodovino – Institute for Contemporary History, Ljubljana, 2008, 181-192.

  4. Großkopfete Slowenen, Der Spiegel, July 19, 1947.
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Wandermultis mehret Euch – Wer macht mit?

March 14, 2017

Ausgangslage: Wandermulticaches sind Mangelware

Vielfach lese ich in Cachebeschreibungen Aussagen wie “Graz braucht mehr einfache Traditionals”. Ich denke nicht, dass irgendeine Gegend eine bestimmte Art von Caches braucht, weder Traditionals, noch Multicaches noch Rätselcaches.

Bei Betrachtung der Cachekarte der Steiermark fällt auf, dass Multicaches, die zu einem längeren Spaziergang oder zu einer Wanderung einladen, rar gesät sind. Da diese Art Caches meine Favoriten sind, bedaure ich dies sehr.

Ich freue mich über jeden neu versteckten Multicache, der zum Spazieren oder Wandern einlädt und über jeden altbewährten, der vom Verstecker weiterhin gewartet wird.

Seit längerer Zeit bin ich über die Flut an Drive-In Caches und Rätselcaches, deren Absolvierung keine wesentlichen Bewegungsaktivitäten involviert, frustriert. Da Jammern und Frustschieben zu keiner Besserung führen, habe ich darüber nachgedacht welchen aktiven Beitrag ich selbst leisten kann.

Ziel: Erhöhung der Anzahl der Wandermulticaches

In einem ersten Schritt habe habe ich für mich beschlossen mich auf das Verstecken von Multicaches der von mir präferierten Art zu konzentrieren. Meine letzen vier Caches sowie ein fünfter, der kurz vor der Finalisierung steht, und weitere geplante gehören alle dieser vom Aussterben bedrohten Cachespezies an.

Nun möchte ich einen Schritt weiterzugehen und in diesem Blog Beitrag versuchen andere Liebhaber von Spazier- und Wandermulticaches dazu zu motivieren Caches zu verstecken bei denen das Wandern/Spazieren und die Natur im Vordergrund stehen und nicht das Lösen von Rätseln, Öffnen von kreativen Behältern, Suchen nach raffiniert versteckten Caches, Finden von möglichst vielen Caches pro Tag etc.

Vielleicht gelingt es uns Fans von Wandermulticaches 2017 für uns persönlich zum Jahr der Wandermulticaches zu machen. Dafür würden es schon reichen, wenn sich nur eine kleine Gruppe von Cachern aktiv beteiligt und jeder neu versteckte Cache dieser Art stellt einen Gewinn dar und setzt dem Trend zum Massencachen und dem Trend nette Spazier- und Wanderrouten mit einer Cachedose alle paar 100m zu versehen etwas entgegen.

Mögliche Beiträge

Die wichtigste Schiene der Beteiligung ist sicherlich das Verstecken eines oder mehrerer Spazier- oder Wandermulticaches.

Ich kann mir aber daneben auch andere Ideen vorstellen, die befruchtend wirken könnten. Einige davon seien exemplarisch in der Folge aufgelistet:

  • Ein Event mit dem Ziel Erfahrungen, die die Gestaltung von Wandercaches betreffen, auszutauschen.
  • Ein Event (gegen Jahresende oder nächstes Jahr) am besten an einem Ort, der nur durch eine Wanderung erreichbar ist, bei dem die Teilnehmer in verschiedenen Kategorien (zB kurz 7km-14km, mittel 14km-21km, lang 21km-28km, extralang >28km – die Rolle der Zahl 7 hier ist exemplarisch zu verstehen und ein Tribut an meine ältesten Caches die dieses Jahr 2*7 Jahre alt werden) ihren Favoriten unter den neu versteckten Wandermulticaches küren.
  • Ein Logo gestalten, das jeder, der möchte, in seine Cachebeschreibung oder sein Profil aufnehmen könnte.
  • Vielleicht könnte es auch interessant sein jene mit Ideen für nette Spazier- oder Wandermulticaches haben, diese aber aus welchen Gründen nicht umsetzen können, mit Cachern (über das Internet oder auf persönlicher Ebene) zusammenzubringen, die die Umsetzung übernehmen könnten.

Es gibt sicher viele weitere Ideen.

Ablauf: Machst Du mit?

Ich bin kein Freund von Cacheprojekten bei denen alle Caches zentral koordiniert und mit Nummern versehen werden (wie Projekt P13 zum Megaevent in Thalheim) und einen einheitlichen Beschreibungsteil aufweisen. Ferner geht es mir um Qualität und nicht Quantität. Ich werde keine Liste von Caches erstellen, die vielleicht durch meinen Blog Eintrag angeregt wurden und ich möchte auch kein bevorzugtes Format für die Art der Gestaltung der Caches und der Beschreibungen vorgeben. Es ist jeder eingeladen mitzumachen, der sich angesprochen fühlt und es ist keine Mitteilung an mich oder sonst wen erforderlich, wenn jemand mitmachen möchte.

Du zögerst noch?

Wer gerne Wandermulticaches (oder auch bestimmte andere Cachetypen) suchen möchte, muss sich klar sein, dass Caches von anderen Geocachern versteckt werden. Gerade Verstecker von Wanderncaches machen das typischerweise nicht aus reiner Freude am kreativen Gestalten sondern um anderen die Gelegenheit zu geben Wandercaches zu besuchen.

(Pseudo)-Gründe, die ich oft höre, die angegeben werden, dass jemand zwar gerne Wandercaches besucht aber keine versteckt, sind u.a.

  • Mangelnde Erfahrung: Während in den frühen Jahren des Geocachings die meisten Geocacher sich recht frühzeitig entschieden haben selbst Caches zu verstecken, ist das mittlerweile vor allem wenn es nicht um kurze Traditionals geht leider selten geworden. Meiner Meinung nach braucht man nicht Hunderte oder gar Tausende Caches gefunden haben, um einen netten Wandermulticache zu verstecken. Es ist für das Verstecken von Spazier- und Wandercaches, die den Fokus auf die Bewegung in der Natur legen, nicht erforderlich möglichst viele Behälterarten, Versteckarten und sonstige Varianten gesehen zu haben. Wichtig ist vor allem eine nette Strecke auszusuchen – ansonsten reichen Basiskenntnisse in der GPS-Bedienung und die Auswahl eines soliden Standardcachebehälters. Sollte jemand Rat benötigen oder sich sicherer mit einem Vorabtest vor Veröffentlichung fühlen, so gibt es genug erfahrene Cacher, die dafür gerne zur Verfügung stehen.
  • Wohnen in der Stadt: Es ist nicht nötig im Umkreis des versteckten Caches zu wohnen wenn man nicht gerade einen Nano versteckt, der 20 mal im Monat besucht wird.
    Eine allfällig nötige Cachewartung kann auch mal ein paar Wochen warten und die Besucher von Wandercaches können sich auch leicht gegenseitig aushelfen, wenn es um kleinere Wartungstätigkeiten geht.

  • Mangel an besonderen Ideen: Kaum jemand isst täglich Kaviar. Wenn ich beim Cachen Entspannung und Ruhe suche, dann habe ich kein Bedürfnis an einer Aneinanderreihung von Highlights und speziellen Kreationen – ein ganz normaler netter Spaziergang oder eine nette Wanderung befriedigen mein Bedürfnis wunderbar, und ich scheine damit nicht allein zu sein.
  • Alle netten Plätze sind schon besetzt. Das stimmt in manchen Stadtgebieten aber sicher nicht für jene Gebiete die sich besonders gut für Wandercaches eignen. Hier gibt es auch (noch?) genügend Gebiete in denen auch keine Cacheserien in der Nähe liegen. Ideen für mögliche Routen lassen sich bei Bedarf auch über Wanderwegsportale wie outdooractive und bergfex sowie Wanderbücher und -broschüren finden.

Was ich (nicht) erwarte:

Ich erwarte mir keine Massen von Wandercaches (das wäre aus meiner Sicht auch gar nicht erstrebenswert), die aufgrund meines Beitrags oder aus anderen Gründen versteckt werden. Wenn jedoch auch nur 5 oder 10 Multicaches in der Steiermark versteckt werden, die zu einem netten Spaziergang oder einer netten Wanderung einladen (damit meine ich nicht 500m Weg zu einem Offsetmulti), die ansonsten vielleicht nicht versteckt worden wären, ist das ein Gewinn für alle Liebhaber solcher Caches und somit speziell auch für mich.


Kommentare, Ideen und das Weiterverbreiten dieses Beitrags sind ausdrücklich willkommen.

My experiences with the Advent calendar cache (Part 2)

December 27, 2016

This is the continuation of Part 1.

December 13: O my dear – not the sort of task that I enjoy. I decided to leave my office in the evening for a break and to visit the Landhaus courtyard. I took along the metal measuring tape I have in my office – I knew that it would not be an ideal tool but I had nothing better available.

When I was busy with measuring (none of my attempts fitted to the hint) another cacher who was accompanied by a Japanese woman approached. Together we then came to the conclusion to take the nearest number to our result (the same I had obtained alone) which matched the hint. I felt a bit like a burglar and was very glad that I could leave and was not approached by some official.

December 14: The coordinates for this task made me think at first in a wrong direction. Somehow the right idea did not show up in my mind and I started to feel very stupid. Then a told a friend that I’m sure that she would know the answer instantly and indeed 5 minutes later the reply came that she figured it out. Some remark made me then realize my dead end approach and from that point on the rest was easy. I really should have figured it out much more quickly as I have been in the area that is asked for and even in the Advent period. Quite ashaming how narrow-minded one can be when one thinks into the wrong direction. What was funny in addition is that a day later at night when returning home I realized that I pass each day one of the modern ones (not round) on my way to work and back home. As it is small I has caught my attention before.

December 15: When I saw this task I was quite unhappy. While I know many people who enjoy such word puzzles (so their usage is well justified as the advent calendar cache should appeal to many different types of cachers among which I’m certainly an outsider and a minority), I regard them as boring and time consuming (not to use the term waste of time). My evenings are sufficiently busy and if I have spare time, there are enough things available that I’m interested into which is not the case for such puzzles. I decided to delay solving the puzzle. I cannot recall when I exactly solved it. The fact that I did not have a printout available made things a bit more tiresome. I was very glad when I had finally obtained all required words and when the found number of letters matched the provided number.

December 16: At last at least a short outdoor task again. As going there by bicycle did not provide me with a reasonably long bicycle trip and it was not that cold today, I decided to first visit the cache at the Otto Moebes academy. This turned out to be more adventurous as expected as the gate was closed and I had to use an alternative approach to reach the target.

As today’s star task is regarded, my caching experience and my experience with the first advent calendar cache helped me. As I was not up to date with respect to the cache description and not aware of the hint, it took me a while until I found what needed to be found for today’s task. I once again felt like a burglar and was glad when I could leave. I still wonder how the donkeys managed to get access to the object. They seem to have many connections. Someone like me with almost no connections would not have such options.

December 17: An outdoor task but not a very motivating one for me. At midnight I was not motivated to think about the location. In the morning before starting for a walk I made the stupid mistake of first excluding the right location as I thought to know the building and remembered it to look differently. What I ignored is that things often create a different impression when it is dark and also that my visual memory is bad. After having excluded also all other options, I then returned to the location I had excluded early on.

After my 20km walk that led from Seiersberg to Strassgang along a partially unplanned route with a few back and forths, I decided to visit the Advent calendar location of the day by public transportation. Due to some tram incident I had to wait longer than planned. When I finally arrived at the target location I had to realize that the storage batteries of my camera were empty. I did not have brought along the precise description of what to do and writing down everything on the signs was quite cumbersome and so I tried to resort to a compromise solution. The time needed made me miss the next tram however and so I ended up with having to wait in the cold for quite some time. I then arrived back home later than planned and was quite hungry but satisfied when the result I obtained at home matched the hint and so it seemed likely that I had obtained the right result and did not need to visit the location again which I often pass in the warmer season by bicycle but not so much in winter time.

In any case I think that it is a good idea being reminded of the precious work of police, ambulance, firefighters etc which often have to work when others can enjoy spare time. This provides a positive resume for the day which also left with more unpleasant feelings as visiting the recent Skihasen caches made me once again feel very sad about how geocaching has devolved. It’s amazing how many favourite points and positive logs a cache series like the KLEINE WALDRUNDE series accumulates that has been hidden with the pure egoistic goal of cracking a difficult mystery cache by battleshipping. I prefer caches that are hidden to show nice locations and to give something back to other cachers, but apparently I meanwhile belong to a minority.

December 18: Due to the experiences from 2014 I have already been prepared to not being confronted with a hike today and so I was not disappointed as the O-Wanderer team. As today’s task seemed more appropriate for a walk in the evening I had to delay this task as I left for Vienna in the early afternoon. I finally took care of the task on December 21 (see my report there).

December 19: Having spent the day in Vienna and having went for two nice walks, it did not matter to me that today’s task was another indoor task. I took care of it on December 21. As I did not have a printout finding all ten mistakes by switching between the two drawings on a not very large screen was somehow tiresome. After a while I managed however to spot all ten mistakes. My first attempt to calculate the variable of the day provided garbage. I then read the description of what to do more carefully and realized that I had computed the wrong thing on the basis of the correctly identified locations of the ten mistakes. The new calculation provided me with the correct result.

December 20: Yet another indoor task. As I spent the morning in Vienna I did not mind it too much however. The task was taken care of after my return. Whether the last song counts as Christmas song is subject to debate but it was clear which song was meant. Unfortunately I made an unfortunate mistake when obtaining the variable T that made me invest time in the night of December 23 when some checksums were not ok and I first thought that I should adapt R before I realized the obvious mistake with T.

December 21: Today I decided to go to the inner city by bicycle in the afternoon around 3:30 pm. My primary goal was to take care of today’s task (finding the three donkeys at the crib trail) and of the task of December 18.

The secondary goal was to identify as many of the photo locations of the Gut beschützt in der Murvorstadt cache. I started out with the latter task as daylight was preferable there. I managed to find a number of locations before it got dark.

Now the time had come to switch to the December 18 task. I could have shortcutted that task considerably when it only were about obtaining R as I could recognize the majority of the locations. While some of the Christmas light decorations in Graz appeal to me, I do not like the modern ones and the red green parcels which are also part of this cache are not at all matching my ideas of a Christmas decoration as for me Christmas is not about parcels. I’m fond of old style, romantic Christmas light decoration as I for example encountered in the Black forest area in small villages.

The letterbox style clues were easy to follow and so I had no issues to follow the intended route to the end. There I hesitated for a moment which value to take for R and was confused as the greenhorns02. I could not spot any not shining stars and even walking around several times did not change this result. So I finally took the value for R which matched what I could see and continued with today’s task.

Unlike my experience in 2014 when I decided to visit the crib trail at the worst possible time (the morning of December 2014 when huge crowds of people were meeting there and had champage, sandwiches etc) today it was a much more pleasant exerience and the donkeys were also easier for me to find and only three needed to be found. I started from the end and close to the second donkey I met SonschiO with company. We shortly talked to each other and then each continued along our way. Soon I also found the last donkey. As I once again have not come well prepared I was not exactly sure whether I wrote down the right numbers. At home then everything made sense insofar as no negative number was obtained.

Though the text of today’s task somehow implicitely invited the cachers to attend the nearby Die längste Nacht event I refrained from going there. I have not been there since Gert has laid down organizing the events. The community has changed quite a lot since I started to cache and I do not feel comfortable any longer within the community (apart from the fact that I have a strong aversion against large groups of people and against the smell of hot alcohol). If I attend a Christmas event at all, I rather attend the Viennese gumbo style event which I perceive as less commercial (no booths around which sell things, no presents exchanged etc). I wonder what the limit for the price of presents at the Graz event will be in 5 years from now given the recent rate of rise (35 Euro maybe?).

Instead of attending the longest night event I rather decided to continue with
the Gut beschützt in der Murvorstadt cache and indeed I managed to finally spot all photo locations despite the darkness. I then delayed the visit to the final however to another day.

December 22: Another indoor task that did not let me end up enthusiastic. I quickly could identify the recipe containing the most calories but still had to obtain the exact numbers and to be sure I also checked the result for the other two recipes. I’m not really fond of cookies and never have been with the exception of one sort of Christmas cookies prepared by my grandmother (who passed away many years ago). It’s more stuff like pizza that makes me fight against a too high calory intake (but pizza typically does not play a role in Advent calendar cache tasks, that rather seems to belong to wir4da caches).

December 23: Shortly before midnight I was eager to look at what the description of today’s task had to offer and I also was waiting impatiently for the chance to check the variables I have obtained so far.

As I have expected in advance like in 2014 the task of visiting the mailbox of the Christkind would wait for today. The location of the mailbox is not ideal for me as it would be more efficient to take care of this task and visiting the final cache within the same trip. As I do not have mobile internet and wanted to check my coordinates however in advance I decided to visit the mailbox today. In order to increase the efficiency at least a bit I combined my visit with an appointment with one of the three donkeys to get hold of something he had kindly prepared for me.

Finally despite a delay caused by unexpected troubles I encountered during a maintenance visit for my cha­cun à son goût the appointment and obtaining the last variable for the Advent calendar cache worked out fine. I also had the pleasure to learn to know ifindnix63 who visited the mailbox together with one of the donkeys.

The check of the variables went less smoothly and kept me longer awake in the night as planned. At first I made a stupid calculation mistake which made me end up with three wrong check sums and only one correct one. After having spotted that mistake, two wrong ones remained and I step by step tried to eliminate those variables which should not be the ones to be blamed. I then thought that R should be to be blamed and increased it which resulted in four correct check sums. As it turned out one day later that was the wrong decision. R had been correct anyway and it was T who created the problem.

December 24:
Even though I did not plan to visit the final in the night and to take part in the event style happening, I was impatiently waiting for the final formula. I was much less organized than most of those who visited the cache in the night. I had to start typing in the variables and then I realized my mistake with T due to a lucky incident with regard how T is used in the formula.

After having corrected R and T, something reasonable resulted for the final coordinates however the first check ended up with a red light which was not surprising as I had a typo in my calculation for the North coordinates. After the correction of the typo everything was ok.

After having read the logs of those who took part in the night event I was very, very glad that I did not go there. Already driving up the road under these conditions at night would not really appeal to me but the parking situation would have the absolute horror for me as I often have already difficulties when no other car drivers I know have difficulties but here apparently also very experienced drivers had difficulties. Of course I also could have come by foot but then mobile internet would have been a necessity. Those who needed to stay at home until 00:00 and do not have cars or do not dare to drive to the starting point at this point of the time, could only meet with others who do not suffer from these deficiencies.

I finally visited the final in the morning of Christmas eve. I decided not to park at the recommended location and approached the final from a different location. I turned my walk in a nice round walk which was longer than required for just finding the cache. I enjoyed the idyllic hoarfrost forest very much. The cache container was quickly spotted. Unfortunately the previous finders had not found the time to put the red ribbon back where it is supposed to belong. It was lying on top of the container.

For sure I will miss the outdoor tasks during the next days. I will not miss that much the indoor style type of tasks. More or more I realize that what is my real interest is the physical outdoor activity and in particular hiking. All what distracts me from that is actually something which I typically do not enjoy.

Setting up the Advent calendar must have involved an incredible amount of time and energy on the side of the three donkeys. It’s admirable what they invested to provide the local community with a unique experience and to please so many cachers. That’s far more than some of those who have severely critized some of the donkeys and who are quite egoistic in their caching styles will ever manage to accomplish. Thank you very much at this point and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who managed to read my text until the end.

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My experiences with the Advent calendar cache (Part 1)

December 25, 2016

I decided to collect my personal notes for the Advent calendar cache at my personal blog site where I do not need to start a new post after having consumed 4000 characters and where I can write in my preferred language without being told by some people that German is the language to be used in Austria.

December 1: I looked at the task shortly after midnight but decided to delay the process of looking up the result of the soccer match that allegedly took place after having had some sleep. The next day A was quickly obtained.

December 2: I had hoped for a task getting me outdoors and was disappointed about what waited for me. I was overworked and impatient and this did not help at all when it came to writing down what the angel had to tell me. Switching back and forth between two windows (one with a table and one with the plugin) was also not very convenient and my bad visual memory did not help either. I’m sure that many enjoyed this task – I hated it. After having collected all letters, I then was not motivated to find the word manually by using my brain and resorted to a tool which brought me the required result quickly. The calculation was tiresome as I did not have a tool for it and had to do it by hand. Hopefully I did not introduce some mistake there.

December 3: In the first moment I was happy when I realized that after two indoor tasks finally some outdoor task waited for me. When I realized that the only meaningful strategy would involve to go to the inner city, my happyness more or less disappeared. After having returned from a cache trip in the Kalsdorf area I was in a reasonably good mood and decided to go by bicycle to the inner city. Public transportation is free in Graz on the Saturdays in Advent, but I prefer having a motivation for physical activity.

As the cache trip to Kalsdorf is regarded, I experienced two success stories (at the Seil 2.0) and at the Ohr am Wasser) where I managed to overcome my mental and physical issues and for once did not end up as the kind of loser, i.e. the only cacher failing to reach a cache that everyone else can get easily) and one failure at the Er-furt etc cache). The two positive experiences could compensate the negative one.
Before heading for the main square (the best point in my opinion when it comes to minimize the waiting time) I visited Stage 1 of my Artistical variations cache. It turned out that the signs are still there – the many people and the slow pace with which I could proceed made me very nervous however and made me wonder whether I better should have stayed at home. As there was no real hope that the area would be less crowded on another day I decided to stick with my original plan and tried to calm down as good as possible and to arrange myself with the many people who pushed and barged their way.
Having arrived at the main square I had to wait for about 10 minutes and 6 trams until I caught one from the list on the other side. I quickly moved over and boarded the tram. Then two other people boarded the tram and behaved very suspiciously and it was quickly evident that they had the same goal than myself but were better prepared. They quickly found what was needed and got off the tram before it continued its journey. After they had left, I had it easier to find the required number of the day. I guess that without having observed them I might have ended up with same fate than the O-Wanderer except that I would not have been that patient and rather had given up after one unsucessful try. In retrospect, it was not the only time this year that I became a victim of having somehow misunderstood some part of the formulation of what needs to be done to fulfill the daily task. Anyway, I was lucky today and could ride my bicycle back home quicker than originally expected.

December 4: Oh well, how much I had looked forward to the first advent hike/walk and how disappointed had I been when I realized that unlike the first walk in 2014 which I enjoyed the most among all 2014 advent calendar tasks the task for December 4 involved only an extremely short walk around lake Thal. So I changed my plan and decided to drive to the Bruck area and delay my visit to lake Thal to another day. When I read about the cacher masses that went around the lake on that day, I was even more glad about my decision. I finally obtained the variable D on December 10 (see my report for that day).

December 5: It was a hard day at work and it was quite cold in the evening, but the task of the day let me find the motivation to get on my bicycle. On the way to the Schlossberg area I visited the first stage of the Rhythmischer Spaziergang multi cache. At Geidorfplatz I came across a group of Krampuse along with one Saint Nicholas. Fortunately, the bad guys did not approach me – when I was a child I was very frightened to leave home at a December 5 when it was dark. After having collected the word I needed for the multi cache mentioned above I moved on to my main target.
I left my bicycle near the kiosk and continued for the last meters on foot. The torch I had brought (equipped with weak batteries) was fortunately strong enough to see what needs to be seen. I did not encounter a Krampus however at this location. My fingers were freezing and I quickly wanted to move on and so I jotted a number on a small piece of paper and then got on the bicycle again. After my return I needed about 5 minutes to have a normal feeling returning to my fingers (note to myself: bring better gloves for such activities). At home I then got doubts that maybe I had overlooked something and I asked for confirmation. Apparently I was not the only one who had doubts as later a hint was added which would have removed my slight doubts right from the start.

December 6: Like the day before it was a hard day at work and quite cold in the evening and without the daily task I would have went home without any detour. I have often been before at the Nikolaiplatz but I have never counted the number of screws before. I was very glad that I had my torch with me. With the help of the torch I was able to count the screws despite the very bright light from the lamps in the ground. I still think that a torch is more helpful than a pair of goggles. Without the hint I would have wondered however if the counting should start from scratch for the second lamp or whether the total number of screws should be determined. The hint made it clear.

December 7: While apparently many other cachers appreciate indoor tasks, I prefer the outdoor tasks by far. When I come across an outdoor task at midnight for the next day, I feel motivated – when I encounter an indoor task I somehow react disappointed as I know that such tasks will not motivate me to fit some extra physical activity into my daily schedule.
I prefer the prose of this author to his lyrics. With the two window technique (no printout available) it was a bit tiresome to obtain the required numbers. I hope that I did not introduce some mistake as I’m very bad at performing such routine work which I regard as boring.

December 8: It hardly could have come worse for this day. I have a very strong aversion against large shopping centres and large crowds of people. For me the parking areas also belong to the shopping centre and not only the shops and so I was not at all comforted by the fact that the task can be taken care without visiting a shop. Instead of visiting a horrible shopping centre I spent nice hours in the Weinitzen area with AnnaMoritz. Two days later after AnnaMoritz had left I decided to go to Seiersberg by bus (see my report for December 10).

December 9: After the return from a very nice hike in the Teichalm area I looked at the daily task and realized that it can come worse than on December 8, something unexpected for me. AnnaMoritz watched my first attempts to at least understand how the game is played. Everything went wrong and AnnaMoritz had a good laugh. I gave up very annoyed and for the very first time I was quite close to giving up the advent calendar endeavour permanently. Caching should be a way for me to reduce my stress level and to enjoy my leisure time and not to get annoyed. On the evening of December 10 I finally found however a way to obtain a value for I that looks reasonable. I never ever could get addicted to computer game of this type.

December 10: Some other obligation had brought me to the inner city and I did not have my bicycle with me. I then spontaneously decided to take bus 32 to Seiersberg to eventually take care of the December 8 task. When I arrived at the terminal stop of line 32 I hesitated a moment too long which of the two directions of bus 78 would lead me to the shopping centre (Puntigam would have been my guess and correct anyway) and so I missed the connection. I then decided to walk over to the shopping centre. The section along the main road was more pleasant despite the noise of the car traffic than later the time I spent in the area of the shopping centre which says a lot about the noise and hectic at such places. It appears that many kind of tourist shopping bus trips today had the shopping centre as their target – there were lots of people around who talked some Slavic languages (mainly Slovenian, but also other ones).

After my return from Seiersberg, I went to lake Thal. I started with the task for today and walked up to today’s coordinates. As I encountered a group of cachers chatting at the location I decided to move on and continue my walk further up and to revisit the location upon my return. I was not eager to having a chat and being shown the hideout. My plan fortunately worked out fine. When I returned I was alone.

It took me some minute to find the hideout on the ground. It would be absolutely impossible for me to climb up the tree even if my life or someone else’s life would depend on it. It’s not a matter of the season or of liking or not liking such tasks.

December 11: After the disappointment at December 4 I had asked one of the donkeys in advance whether for the next Sunday a longer walk would be offered and was delighted when the answer was yes. When the task for today was published, I was first considering to fit the required walk into a longer walk but then decided against it mainly because I rather wanted to start late for the walk in order to minimize the number of other cachers I would bump into. I was not in the mood for conversations and wanted to avoid the kind of event feeling which meanwhile is all too often created.

For that purpose I decided to start into the day with the new Von Dornhofen ins Himmelreich cache which I expected not to receive much attention after the FTF had been claimed and I was right. Including the sections to and from public transportation and a detour required by missing one of the photos I ended up with a relaxing 14km walk.

After my return I started off for today’s Advent calendar task. The distance and height meter data and my knowledge of the area had already provided me with a good guess where the route would lead me along. When I parked at the recommended parking location I encountered many cars with geocaching stickers and was glad that I had started late.

While I did not have issues with understanding the way the stage coordinates are obtained as it happened apparently to others, I need to admit that I do not like this sort of forms, even less when I do not use printouts but handwritten notes as today. I believe that the personal preferences depend a lot on the way people perform calculations and how they organize their caching along the way. The provided form collects the data in a manner which is not at all appealing to me so I did exactly what the creator of the table apparently wanted to keep us from: namely writing my own calculations on a margin of my note sheet. I use decimal points and not decimal commas – using points for digits to be inserted confuses my mind. Moreover, I prefer to calculate with integers when I calculate manually (in my head, not on paper) and use a holistic approach which is not calculating digit by digit. The set-up of the table is thus quite counter-intuitive for me and does not at all fit my approach. With more conventional stage descriptions the danger of making a mistake with my method is smaller than with these sort of tables.

Well after this general remarks, let me report on my experiences. I did not feel comfortable when it came to searching for the number at Stage 1. I did not want to out myself as geocacher and for muggles it must look very strange anyway if someone looks at road posts. So I was happy when I could head off. My guess into which direction to go was right and so I did not matter that I started to walk before I had finished the computations. On my way to Stage 2 I was asked about an elderly couple where the trail up there leads to. I answered their questions and then moved along. When I came close to my candidate coordinates, it became clear that I must have made a mistake but decided to use my intuition as most of the time my calculations are only slightly off. Indeed I found Stage 2 without any need to check and correct my calculation. So I could quickly move on.

What I obtained for the coordinates of the next stage fitted very well into my idea of the route. When I approached the stage I encountered a group of three young people there which I immediately recognized as geocachers. They were taking photos – one of them had climbed up the hideout object. I was very glad that this was not part of today’s task. I quickly wrote down the required variable and continued my walk to include the additional height meters. I calculated the next stage later as I knew the further approach and also decided to take a temporary timeout from dealing with today’s Advent calendar walk.

After the timeout I visited my target coordinates for Stage 4. The reception was a bit jumpy but with the help of the hint I decided for one target object but unfortunately overlooked the information there. It has been placed in a slightly mean manner. Soon to my surprise the group of the three cachers I met at Stage 3 showed up – I had believed that they had overtaken me as I took a different route and spent time with other things. They also overlooked what we needed to find. After having inspected also other object, I went back and finally spotted the information. Once again I then decided to head off without first calculating the next coordinates as I knew anyhow which route to follow and actually could have found the last stage also without coordinates.

I managed to arrive back at the starting point without the need to use a torch. All in all it was a nice walk and for me the highlight of this year’s advent calendar cache. As I know the area really well, the walk did not show me anything new, but I enjoyed it nevertheless even though 6km is still pretty short for me for a weekend walk when the weather is fine. I took care of that however by going for another walk today before this walk.

Some negative comments about the reachability of the starting point by public transportation surprised me. First, the starting point is reachable by bus on school days. Second, the way up from Fuss der Leber is not at all far. I decided to walk down from there after a much longer walk in a period where I had serious knee issues and felt pain. The way I was upbrought would not even have let me consider to order a taxi not even under these special conditions back then.

December 12: Well, another indoor task – not my favourites. Anyway, I quickly found what I believed to be the solution but was unsure whether I obtained the right solution before the task got reformulated and some hints got added.

To be continued.

Brief biographical sketch of Josef Krainer Senior

March 31, 2016

This text serves as a reference in my geocache along the Josef Krainer trail. It should provide a short biographical sketch of Josef Krainer for those who are not proficient in German. The text has been moved to my blog only to save space on the cache page.

Josef Krainer senior was born on February 16, 1903 in St Lorenzen bei Scheifling as illegitimate child of the maid servant Theresia Krainer and died on November 28, 1971 during a hunt due to a heart attack in Allerheiligen bei Wildon. He spent his childhood in Kobenz near Knittelfeld where his mother had married a farmer.

Josef Krainer had to leave school early and then earned his living as a woodcutter. Soon he became a spokesperson for the workers in agriculture and forestry and found his way into politics. Throughout his life he has held many positions in politics which culminated in his 23 years as Provincial Governor of Styria until his death. Other political positions he held are Chairmen of the Styrian Federation of Agricultural and Forestry Workers (1927-1936), member of the Federal Parlament of Styria (Landtag), 1934, President of the Styrian Chamber of Labour (1936), Vice-mayor of Graz (1937), Mayor of Gasselsdorf (1945-1950), Member of the Styrian government (1945-1948), Member of the Austrian Federal Council (1965-1968), Member of the Executive Board of the ÖVP (Austria’s People Party) (1958-1971).

In 1938 the first era of Krainer’s political career came to an end. He
was imprisoned by the Gestapo for three weeks. Due to his personal connections to Sigfried Uiberreither (his subordinate at the Social Insurance Institution for Farmers) he escaped the fate of some of his fellows (like Alfons Gorbach) who were sent to concentrations camps, but had to leave politics until after WWII. Krainer survived the war years as owner of a small farm and as associate of a small brick factory in Gasselsdorf near Gleinstätten (which later was mainly managed by his wife Josefa). In 1945 he escaped from getting imprisoned by the National Socialists with the help of two farmers in the area of Eibiswald.

Soon after the war Krainer could resume his political career. His era as provincial governor of Styria was mainly characterized by the years of the redevelopement after the war and the economic rise. Krainer played an important role in the process of modernization of the economy but also in the liberalization of the local art scene (for which Hanns Koren was particularly important).

Josef Krainer was known as a vigorous advocate of federalism and made the concerns and problems of the province of Styria better heard in Vienna. In the time of his era influential statespersons like Queen Elisabeth II, Nikita Khrushchev and Josip Tito visited Graz. Despite his moderate school education Josef Krainer was known for being able to communicate well also with scientists and artists. Probably due to this life story (very poor origin, new start after the war) he stayed more grounded than most modern politicians and never lost the contact to ordinary people.

Whatever one might think of the political ideas and opinions of Josef Krainer (some are certainly debatable), he undoubtably was very important for the development of Styria during his era.

The name of Josef Krainer is still present in today’s Styria almost 45 years after his death. A large number of streets, schools, parks and other types of locations are named after him. Moreover, the Josef Krainer prizes awarded on a yearly basis have been established in his memory (for details consult the webpage of the Gedenkwerk. A number of monuments (e.g. in Graz, Eibiswald, Mittergrub and St Lorenzen) have been erected to honor Josef Krainer’s life time contributions.

For further information about Krainer’s life and for literature references see the links below (note however that knowledge of German is required for all of them).

Short Biography of Josef Krainer at the ÖCV (Österreichischer Cartellverband) site

Politicum 113

Eibiswald Krainer

Lärchener Stipfel – Presse article

The private Josef Krainer (interview with his son)

ORF documentary on occasion of the 40-th anniversary of Krainer’s death

Das ist nicht mehr meine Geocaching-Welt oder ich brauche keinen IBAN für mich

March 2, 2016

Ausnahmsweise verfasse ich aufgrund des zu erwartenden Leserkreises diesen Blog-Beitrag auf deutsch. Während offenbar viele Geocacher in meiner Gegend sich aktuell mit der Aussage “Dosen sind da, um gefunden zu werden” identifizieren, frage ich mich immer stärker, ob deren Geocaching Verständnis überhaupt noch einen Schnittbereich mit dem meinigen hat.

Keiner meiner eigenen Geocaches wurde mit dem Ziel versteckt, jemand anderem die Möglichkeit eine Dose zu finden zu bieten und ich bin noch nie mit dem Ziel zum Geocaching gestartet eine Dose zu finden. In meiner Küche oder anderen Räumen meiner Wohnung befinden sich ausreichend Dosen – diese verwende ich zB um Nahrungsmittel, Schrauben und andere Gegenstände aufzubewahren. Manchmal muss ich eine Dose suchen, aber das ist immer eine Notwendigkeit um sie dann zu verwenden und kein Hobby von mir.

Wenn ich mich zum Geocachen aufmache, tue ich das, weil ich draussen in der Natur Entspannung finden möchte, mich mehr bewegen möchte als das in meinem Alltag der Fall ist und weil ich schöne Gegenden erleben/besuchen möchte und neue Plätze kennenlernen möchte oder neues über altbekannte Plätze lernen möchte.

Wenn ich einen Wandercache für andere erstelle oder mich selbst auf die  Suche nach einem solchen aufmache, ist mir lieber wenn die Cacheaktivität am Ende einer schönen Wanderung mit einem Misserfolg bei der Suche nach der Dose endet als wenn die Wanderung ausfällt aber die Dosensuche von Erfolg gekrönt ist. Keiner meiner Caches ist wegen der Dose versteckt worden. Ich stehe dazu, dass es mich nicht freut, wenn einer meiner Cacherbehälter gefunden wird – ich freue mich wenn sich jemand auf das einläßt, was meinen Cache ausmacht. Meine Caches sind erstellt, um bestimmte Erlebnisse und Erkenntnisse zu vermitteln und nicht um eine Suche nach Behältern wie nach Ostereiern anzubieten. Der Behälter am Ende fungiert bei meinen Caches nur dazu, mir zu erlauben die Datenbank von Groundspeak zu verwenden.

Also: An all jene, die Dosen suchen wollen, bleibt weg von meinen Caches. Sie richten sich nicht an Dosensucher. Wenn ihr mehr Dosen finden wollt, versteckt Euch untereinander halt noch mehr solche und archiviert noch schneller alte Caches und ersetzt sie durch neue am selben Ort – Eurer Punktekonto oder was auch immer Euch antreibt wird es Euch danken.

Es gibt viele Rätselcaches, die ich zwar relativ leicht lösen könnte, die mir aber zu mühselig sind, und es gibt viele, die mir zu schwierig sind. Beide Arten lasse ich meistens liegen. Ich sehe keinen Sinn dahinter die Aufgaben von anderen erledigen zu lassen und dann an einen oft belanglosen Ort zu hetzen, um meist einen Minizettel zu signieren. Wenn mich das Thema Kino, Fernsehserie X oder was auch immer nicht interessiert, kann ich ebenso gut auf einen Cache verzichten, dessen Sinn es ist sich genau mit diesen Dingen auseinanderzusetzen.

Ein Rätsel, das den Namen Rätsel verdient, hat es meist in sich, dass man eben nicht vorgegeben bekommt, was zu tun ist. Das Raussuchen welche Filme eines Regisseurs was enthalten, ist eine Recherche, aber kein Rätsellösen. Ein Geschichtetest ist auch kein Rätsel.

Der Sinn eines Rätselcaches ist nicht vorrangig eine weitere Such- und Fundmöglichkeit für jene anzubieten, denen es vornehmlich um die Suche nach Cachebehältern geht. Für den Zielkreis, dem es nur um Cachebehälter geht, gibt es den Cachetyp Traditional. Dieser wäre auch angebracht, wenn ein Verstecker einen “Cache für alle” verstecken will – eine Verkleidung in ein Pseudorätsel ist nicht nötig und nur Verpackung in einer Welt in der Verpackung leider vielfach mehr wert ist als Inhalt. Ein langweiliger Platz wird durch ein triviales Pseudorätsel auch nicht spannender, und jene, die einfach einen täglichen Cache wollen, erfüllt ein Traditional denselben Zweck.

Für meinen persönlichen Geschmack gibt es zuviele neue Rätselcaches rundum Graz. Allerdings sind mir hier leichte nicht lieber als schwere und Traditionals an faden Plätzen nicht lieber als Rätselcaches an faden Plätzen. Mir gehen Caches ab die mich mindestens 2 Stunden (besser länger) in der Natur mit Bewegungsaktivitäten (und nicht Puzzles, Telefonieren, geduldspielereien etc) beschäftigen.

Jene, die sich aktuell ach so bitter darüber beschweren, wenn ein Verstecker eines Rätselcaches, den die Mehrheit nicht lösen kann, diesen als nicht so schwer bezeichnet, sollten vielleicht ein wenig in sich gehen und überlegen, dass leicht und schwer sehr subjektive Begriffe sind. Wie oft ist es mir schon so gegangen, dass ich einen Cache nicht erreichen kann, wo man ein Stück auf eine Mauer oder einen Baum klettern müsste und mir mitgeteilt wurde, dass dies so einfach sei wie auf eine Leiter zu steigen. Ja, für die meisten, die es können, ist es wirklich so leicht – für mich trotzdem unschaffbar. Dennoch käme ich niemals auf die Idee mich über die Existenz solcher Caches zu beschweren oder gar Caches zu verstecken, die sich über bestimmte Klettercaches lustig machen. Es wäre auch nicht richtig, diejenigen, die meinen dass jene Kletteraufgaben, die ich nicht schaffe, ganz einfach sind, zu unterstellen sie seien arrogant – sie haben einfach keine Vorstellung davon, dass etwas, das für sie leicht ist, für andere eben schwer sein kann. Es entspricht auch nicht meinem Verständnis von Geocachen mir Logerlaubnis einzuholen, weil ich einen Cache nicht erreichen kann oder mir jemand mitzunehmen, der mir das Logbuch reicht.

Der Sinn eines Klettercaches ist nun mal, dass man zum Versteck klettert und nicht dass ein Behälter am Boden liegt oder man anderen das Klettern überlässt. Ein Cache am Boden ist sicher für eine größere Anzahl an Cachern erreichbar, aber das kann nicht der zentrale Maßstab und das zentrale Ziel sein. Ganz ähnlich ist das bei Rätselcaches oder bei Wandercaches, die mehr Zeit/Kondition/Erfahrung etc erfordern als sie jemand aufzuweisen hat. Es wird wohl lange brauchen bis jemand Graz-Monaco auf ehrliche Weise findet, aber wieso sollte es nicht so einen Cache geben? Das gleiche gilt für noch so schwere Rätselcaches. Welchen Wert hat ein Fundlog unabhängig davon wie er zustandekommt?
Welchen Wert hat zB ein Fund eines Caches durch Absuchen eines Planquadrats wirklich?

Ich bin zutiefst traurig wie mit Cachern umgegangen wird die viel für die lokale Community geleistet haben. Manche scheinen mir angetrieben durch den eigenen Frust, weil sie bestimmte Rätselcaches nicht lösen können (die konkreten Anlaßfälle habe ich auch nicht gelöst aber was macht das auch?), auf einem Auge blind zu sein. Methoden, wie sie derzeit von einer nicht kleinen Gruppe von Cachern angewendet werden, um Caches auf ihre Fundliste zu bekommen, die sie mit normalen Methoden nicht schaffen, sind in meinen Augen die deutlich größere Bedrohung für die lokale Cacherszene denn ein paar Rätselcaches, die man eben nicht lösen kann. Das Selbstwertgefühl von Cachern sollte nicht davon abhängen, welche und wieviele Caches man erfolgreich beendet hat. Man muss nicht jeden Tag einen Cache finden und man muss nicht jeden Cache um die Heimatkoordinaten versuchen zu bewältigen.

Ich bin zutiefst traurig, dass sich die Szene in der Steiermark mittlerweile so entwickelt hat, dass sich der Grossteil der Cacheverstecker von früher zurückgezogen hat und dass auch unter den noch aktiven Cachern gerade unter jenen, die meine Vorliebe für Wandermulticaches teilen, so starker Frust herrscht, dass kaum noch solche Caches versteckt werden und manche versteckte Caches nicht veröffentlichen aus Frust über das Benehmen großer Gruppen von Cachern, das von der Mehrheit hingenommen wird oder runtergeschluckt wird.

Powertrails halte ich grundsätzlich für entbehrlich – solche wie den Warmduscher-Trail noch mehr, weil sie einige dazubringen auf einem Auge blind zu sein und nicht zu sehen, wer essentiellen Anteil daran hat, dass es zu manchen verbalen Grobheiten gekommen ist (den Ausgangspunkt bildeten Handlungen, die deutlich schlimmer waren, als sie verbale Grobheiten je darstellen können).

Es ist traurig, dass man im Gegensatz zu den Anfangsjahren ohnehin kaum mehr glauben kann, was in Logs berichtet wird. Soviele Lügen wie in Geocaching Logs in bezug auf besuchte Stationen, gelöste Rätsel, Suchzeit, Lösungsmethoden etc sind mir noch nie anderswo im Leben untergekommen. Es zählen vielfach nur mehr die Funde und das Online-Loggen derselben. Es werden auch Funde geloggt, wenn keine Dose vor Ort ist oder keine gefunden wurde, oder es werden gleich neue Behälter versteckt.

DNFs, Misserfolge, Scheitern – all das hat für viele keinen Platz in der Geocaching-Welt dabei gehört dies genauso zum Leben wie Erfolg und andere positive Ausprägungen.

Die Geocaching-Welt in der fast alles auf Punkte, Banner, Ranglisten etc reduziert wird, hat nichts mehr mit meiner Geocaching-Welt zu tun. Statt die Punkte- und Wettbewerbsmanie nur auf Geocaching zu beschränken, wird dieser Wahnsinn nun auch auf Bereiche wie Müllsammeln ausgedehnt. Umweltbewußtsein ist ein wichtiger Wert für mich, aber mitzuzählen wie oft man Müll aufhebt und entsorgt und dies als tolle Idee unter Cachern zu verbreiten (was offensichtlich ja gut zu funktionieren scheint), läßt mich noch stärker als bisher fragen, wie stark sich die Sucht nach Punkten, Wettbewerb, Geltung etc auch in die Kernbereiche des Geocachings ausgebreitet hat. Wer Müll einsammelt um Punkte zu erwerben, hat mein Bedauern. Das Green Smiley Projekt ist ähnlich marktschreierisch und in seiner Art entbehrlich wie seinerzeit das Project 2013 anlässlich des gleichnamigen Mega-Events. Mit diesem Stil der groben Klinge wird man viele, denen die Umwelt ein Anliegen ist, abschrecken und sicher nicht mit ins Boot bekommen.

 

 

 

 

Finishing off my Vulkanland project with a 3 days hike

March 31, 2013

Last year in Autumn I started my Vulkanland project
and spent seven days to get until Stage 20 of this unique multi cache in the Vulkanland area in South-East Styria.

In the first three days of the week before Easter I undertook a three days hike under winterly conditions (snow) together with AnnaMoritz and visited the remaining stages and managed to reach the final on March 27, 2013. It was a unique and superb experience and my first multi day hike in Winter and my first 30km+ hike on a Winter day. I cannot describe in words what it means to me that I managed to walk around the Vulkanland and cope with all the challenges that were involved. What might appear to be easy and is easy to some of those who have finished the cache before me, was quite a challenge for me and provided me with a special experience after the success. I’m sad that my logs that were meant only to report on my experiences cause frustration at the side of some cachers. It was not my intent to cause negative feelings to someone – I was just feeling happy and wanted to share my experiences and my joy. Somehow I end up to cause negative feelings even when I’m overly positive and not depressed or frustrated myself.

I’m indebted to the founders of the new free Austrian geocaching forum even though I’m not registered there as without the existence of that forum I would not have got into a renewed contact with AnnaMoritz (with whom I have exchanged some mails already 2 years ago) my wonderful companion over these three special days. Without her support and encouragement it would not have been possible for me to achieve what I achieved given the quite challenging terrain conditions due to the snow.

My hike around the Vulkanland reminded me once again that I live in a very beautiful region of Austria which is quite diverse. This cache shows the diversity of the Vulkanland. Somehow I wish I’d be a poet and could write a poem or a song describing the beauty of the Vulkanland and the elements which can be experienced there, something along the lines of the song
Agua, fuego, tierra y viento
by Mercedes Sosa which she dedicated to her home continent.

Reports on my experiences during the last three days of my Vulkanland project can be found in my logs that are linked below. Maybe I will add a few further experiences when I find the time to write them down and when some time has past. At the moment I’m still too overwhelmed by the experience of the last three days (yes, I know that might sound quite strange to fit, healthy, sportive persons for whom running long distances and many height meters under all conditions is something as normal as it is for me to solve a linear equation in two variables).

In any case, the Vulkanland cache made it evident to me that I still appreciate geocaching as a motivational aid for me to be physically active despite my physical limitations and in the case of this cache also as a means for setting out for new horizons and daring things I would not have thought that I would be able to manage. I’m am greatly indebted to all persons who have encouraged me or helped me on my way over the last say at least 15 years of my life.

It also became clear to me that I really need to select the right caches in order to still enjoy geocaching. Unfortunately those caches become more and more rare in my area as the preferences of most local cachers differ so much from my own preferences. I enjoy hiking and the peace of nature and I’m not eager to run around with a knapsack filled with a large tool box like it is required for caches like the
Tools am Zaun series that is received so enthusiastically by the community.

Here are the links to my logs.

Am I a couch potato?

February 25, 2013

Recently I came across a discussion in a regional geocaching forum dealing with a via ferrata route in Riegersburg which is not open to the public free of charge, but is accessible only for members of a booked tour. There one participant wrote that paying 40 Euro for being able to experience this route might perhaps be of interest to couch potatoes whose feet have not touched a summit for years and who wish to get a small adrenaline rush.
(For those who want to look up the discussion, here is the
link.)

This made me once again wonder to which group of people I belong to. Actually, I would not be able to master the concerned via ferrata, not even with the 5 best guides of the world helping me at the same time (holding my hands will not help either). However, I do not regard myself as a couch potato and have never done so even though I’m sure that many people put me into that group when they see me or meet me at occasions where physical activities are performed.

A typical definition of couch potato stresses that the concerned person spends much (too much) time on a sofa (usually in front of a TV set). Well, I’m not all a fan of watching TV and while I have to sit a lot due to my job, I typically do not sit that often on a couch or a sofa. At least during the last say 15 years I tried to be physically as active as possible for me.

I enjoy walking, hiking and riding a bicycle and I love forests and mountains (well, probably serious mountaineers would call most of those where I have been rather hills than mountains, but that’s certainly subjective). I admit that probably I would even fail at the most easy via ferrata and such routes as the ones in Riegersburg are completely out of my reach (this is also true for the ones that are accessible to the public). Does this turn me into a couch potato? Is everyone who has motoric deficits or difficulties a couch potato? I could easily imagine some couch potatoes who are able to master physical challenges where I would fail completely. Why does it happen so frequently that one is told that a via ferrata like the Geopold route in Riegersburg is within everyone’s reach while for example claiming that solving complex differential equations is within everyone’s reach will certainly be judged as an absurd statement by (almost) everyone? What’s the difference?

BTW: I guess I would be willing to pay much more than 40 Euro for an experience that would be unique for me and I have already paid more for much more basic things than a guided tour of a non-trivial via ferrata.

Comments of readers on their perception of couch potatoes are welcome.

My Vulkanland project

October 23, 2012

My new project for the last 3 months of 2012 and for the next year is to walk around the Vulkanland. I plan to follow the route suggested by this geocache

Vulkanland

This cache involves a walk of at least 170km around the so-called Vulkanland, a region in South-East Styria. I will have to split up my walk into many individual legs and due to a bad public transportation infrastructure and my inability to cope with long legs, I will end up with much more than 170km walked in the end (not a bad thing – as this provides me with more physical exercise after all of which I’m in urgent need, even more after having experienced a very difficult phase in my life).

So far I have completed seven (update December 1) legs and I get more and more excited. Some of the legs that involve quite some height meters will offer a considerable challenge for my knee, but I hope to be able to reach my goal sometime in 2013. I’m not the type of person who is proud of him/herself, but if I manage to finish this cache, I will value it as an accomplishment for a person who apparently has been “considerable restricted” already since birth time.
I recently came across this log for a cache that requires climbing up a tree. I need to admit that I never ever in my life was able to climb up a tree, also not in my childhood. So somehow also people who do not manage which appears to be standard for almost all other people, are not complete losers.

I will report about my experiences on my way at a later time.
For the time being I just provide links to my logs existing so far.

Part 1 for Leg 1
Part 2 for Leg 1
Part 1 for Leg 2
Part 2 for Leg 2
Part 1 for Leg 3
Part 2 for Leg 3
Part 3 for Leg 3
Part 1 for Leg 4
Part 2 for Leg 4
Part 3 for Leg 4
Part 1 for Leg 5
Part 2 for Leg 5
Part 1 for Leg 6
Part 2 for Leg 6
Part 3 for Leg 6
Part 1 for Leg 7
Part 2 for Leg 7
Part 3 for Leg 7

I recommend this tour in particular to all those who need a temorary timeout from their daily live and want to have time for themselves to think over diverse issues in life.

The smallest mountain of the world can still be quite hard for me …..

May 8, 2011

Yesterday I decided to spend my afternoon at the Schoeckl. I went to the Schoecklkreuz by car and started there my hike. On my way I visited four caches,
Schöcklland # 7,
Der kleinste Berg der Welt,
Schöcklland # 4 and
Schöcklland # 5.

The most spectacular and by far hardest one for me was the second one. In October 2009 I ran out of time and failed in finding the right location. This time I already knew where I had to go, but was quite sceptical whether I would be able to reach the small summit cross. Despite quite some descent parts as I approached the cache from the summit area, my knee that uses to cause me troubles periodically behaved reasonably well. Since no other people were around at the smallest mountain of the world, I decided to give it a try and to see what I am still able to achieve. Fortunately, no one observed me how I fighted with the location. Getting up the first slope was easy. The first barrier was getting up to the second level passing a narrow part. Being able to use both legs in an equivalent way certainly would have helped, but after a while I managed to reach the second level. Now it really became difficult for me. I had hoped that the cache container would be reachable for me from this level, but it was not. So I had to find a strategy to get up one level higher. With a trial and error approach I had to reject many strategies until I found one that got me up high enough. My appearance certainly must have been quite inelegant and I would not have been able to provide one of these proud summit photographs that other cachers had uploaded where they are standing on top of the small summit. I refrained from standing up at the summit. I would have only managed this by first getting both knees up and then standing up from there which would have costed me too much energy and would have meant an unnecessary risk for me, in particular as no one was there to assist me. In this moment I again missed my dear friend Alice even more than I normally do. Getting down again without anyone telling me where I should put the next step and having to fight with my handicaps at the same time, also turned getting down into a serious challenge for me. Overall I surely invested about 25 minutes in getting up and down again. Note this only includes the time directly at the cache location. I am sure that others manage to reach the cache location from the summit and go back to the summit in this time.

It was a nice feeling to have reached the cache despite the difficult conditions. The cache, however, brought me to my current limits and I felt quite exhausted when I was back at the safe ground.

While I do understand that caches like this one are very attractive for a large group of cachers, I would prefer if there existed more caches that bring the cachers to a nice area, invite for an easy walk and are hidden in easily accessible area. Unfortunately, it appears that such caches are often regarded as boring by my fellow geocachers who seem to prefer drive-ins or caches which include some spectacular aspect. Sometimes I am asking myself why even caches that are reachable by an easy walk until up to the cache, are so often hidden in a way that they exclude cachers who cannot cope with higher terrain ratings or are hidden in a way that searching for the cache takes up the major part of the cache hunt.

All in all it was nice to have walked up the Schoeckl after quite a long break. The Schoeckl has its attractions at all seasons. Currently the green meadows and the many spring flowers (oxlips, crocus, Spring gentiane etc) provide a special feeling.

I realized that my fitness level is very low at the moment. I had to walk much slower than in earlier years and I seriously got out of breath when walking back to the summit. Anyhow, during the recent months I learnt to adapt my expectations about myself and about life in general. In any case it was my highest mountain (the real Schoeckl, not its small counterpart that caused me troubles to get up to) since quite some time. So it was a nice afternoon and a good day for me. The quiet evening atmosphere that I experienced on the descent back to my car was also something special for me. On sunny weekends the Schoeckl can be quite crowded, but in the evening the area gets much more quiet.

Apart from enjoying a nice afternoon, I also took the opportunity to get a map of the permanent orienteering course that has been established on the Schoeckl plateau last autumn by some very active orienteers. Yesterday, I only passed by some of the posts of the course by chance. I will come another time to visit the whole course.