Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Going cavewoman, or The signpost special edition

Someone told me there are caves in Stockholm, and since then - we are talking maybe three years - I have googled and asked people very casually. Most had never heard about them, until my scout friend one day said: I have been there! And lent me a head lamp. So I went! And this is the first place where I got lost. May I present: the right turn after bus stop Väpnarstigen.
But a man with two German shepherds pointed to a secret path that would save me some time. You just turn left after the garage.
Klövberget is the part of Tyresta national park where the caves are. People also go climbing on the steep mountains and one teenager hurried past saying"I spent the night in a hammock but forgot to take down the ropes".
It's a calm and rather cute area, no notes.
A deer crossed the road and looked equally calm.
I had to ask for directions twice, as internet was of no use, and even the locals were in doubt. "It's quite a walk... 2-3 kilometers". Hmppff. That's over in a jiffy!
I even brought a book. And a helmet. In a bag I had sewn myself, adding some finishing touches on the bus.
But THIS ought to be where the rave happens!
Please note - this is just Swedish pre-summer. This luxury, of constant sun and 23-26 degrees for the past three weeks, is some kind of Guinness record.
Passing by a group of people (you will soon realize their importance), I followed the boardwalk and was excited at the 1) sight of cliffs 2) this sign, which tells you not to set up a fire, as that will make stones fall down. This meant it was dangerous and very hands-on.
About boats.
And this is so untrue. "Grotta" is "cave" in Swedish. First: there are more than one. I visited three, I think. Second: that's all you get. The entrances are difficult to find - people were wandering around looking for them and asking each other. Perfect ice breaker.
But I didn't know this yet, I was embracing myself for getting in to something cold and slippery and fantastic.
This visualises the problem quite well. The path ends here. Then your intuition takes you left, but then you are left to your own senses and I am just not gifted with X-ray vision or a hunch for behind which huge lump of rock is an opening one could squeeze through. For, I knew there are parts one had to squeeze through.

Like, and now what?
Best hippie tent I have ever seen.
A family just came out from a cave, so I followed them
and got to know Carina, who also was on the lookout for more caves.
I am not complaining, just stating facts, and this was amazing.
But then - cave or not cave? How close shall we approach?
We even went up - because I imagined there would be a hole with ropes one could wire oneself down with, as friend said before.
I googled that the caves all seemed to be at the "base", which we interpreted to be down, and when we went to the caves we already knew, we met that group, if you remember? They were looking at the botanic specialties of the place and one of them had a parrot on his shoulder. I cut in: "Do you know where they caves are?" and we got instructions,
which did us no use. We kept searching.
But fun it was, and we were happy to come back again soon.
Important lesson: there are no shortcuts. You think you will get out on the other side, but it's often an illusion, and - equally important - the other way around.
Films one could think of: 127 days. National Treasure II (I really was hoping for an arrow.) Lara Croft - Tomb Raider. Especially the Lara film was credible, as birds actually came flying out from parts of the cave and I tried to interpret it as a sign, in vain.
Here we made huge plans:
it was time namely time to go and catch the bus, which tours seldom, and then my scout friend texted me that she will show me more of the 360 meters of the cave system very soon. Can't wait.

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