Terii’s Cycling Babble

Comedy of Errors?
May 13, 2010, 7:47 am
Filed under: Day Rides

Well, I don’t know if yesterday’s ride really counts as a comedy of errors, but it certainly felt like it in some ways.  However, at least it wasn’t in the way that completely ruins the day.  And I have pictures!!!  Sorry if the first two are boring. *grin*

Stamp Booklet For Sverigeleden

My husband knows I’ve been kinda chaffing at the difficulty of my year cycle wise, so he told me to make cycle plans.  I sort of resisted since I didn’t want to completely wreck his vacation by making him drive all over the place.  However, I knew that he had joined a fly-fishing club a couple days before.  For a small yearly fee, you can fish at one of their two lakes (ponds really) without the need for a license.  They ask you release most of the fish, keeping only one per person to eat.  I decided that I could plot a route in the area near those lakes, Jens could drop me off somewhere along the way and pick me up.

So, I got maps printed, he got fishing things packed, we got the trike loaded and off we went.

Look! My First Stamp!!

Jens and I have had a slight contention over the stamp issue, mostly  him teasing me.  Last year, I rode through Sala which was one of the stamp points for the Sverigeleden booklet, but I didn’t have the booklet, they didn’t have the booklet, so I was out of luck.  My husband has been saying HE thinks I should do the ride again.  I’ve been saying, I already EARNED that stamp, I’m not going over 40 miles the same ground (granted, it was pretty) AGAIN.

Well, our drive yesteday took us through Sala and my husband was actually the one who suggested we stop and let me get the stamp!

So, that’s what we did.  I even managed to direct him to the closest place to park flawlessly from memory.  Of course, construction everywhere managed to make that a bit difficult.  There was one parking lot close and it was packed and half of it full of rubble and work machines.  So, I ended up jumping out of the car and heading to the Information Center alone.  With traffic backing up behind us as I got out, I didn’t take the time to dig out my camera to get photos of Sala.

Norrby Kyrka

Norrby Kyrka

Oh!  On the way into Sala, I made note of the church I took a picture of last year as I pedalled through there.  Norrby kyrka.  I rather like the design of this church, all the little detail on it.  Gothic maybe?  No clue architecture has never been a strong point for me.

The oldest parts of the church date from the 1300’s.  1887 an architect (his name if you click the church photo) designed the newer parts which is probably its appearance today.  Older interior details are a medieval baptismal font and painting from the 1500’s.

There!  Got two minor irritations out of the way in one trip! *laugh*

The day had started out pretty enough when we left Uppsala, but the further west we went, the denser a high cloud cover became.  By the time we reached Norberg where Jens was going to drop me off, it was on its way to being one of those gray sorts of day.  There didn’t really seem to be much of a threat of rain and thankfully, even without the sun it was plenty warm enough at almost 60 F.

Norberg Kyrka

It didn’t take us long to find the church in Norberg.  The little town of Norberg seems to have quite a long history in spite of its rather humble appearance.  The town can be traced firmly back to the 500’s AD though there are indications there has been settlement in the area clear back to the stone age.

I couldn’t really find a good angle to get a picture of the church as it was crowded around with so many buildings, so I settled for this one ‘bleah’ photo.  I didn’t look for rune stones either.  I was already pushing 1 pm and I wanted to ride and make sure Jens had time to find his lake and get a couple hours in.

My whole ride was almost scrapped.  As I was fiddling around with the trike while my husband tried to get Loke to go to the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to stop and scrape something off sidewalks as I made it out of town, my right knee started screaming.  Painful enough, even I almost screamed with it.

Still, Jens encouraged me to at least try.  He’d wait at the church for a bit for me either to decide I couldn’t ride and come back, or if it was too bad to make it back to the church, he’d come get me.  With a bit of trepidation, I agreed, though he had to help me get my right shoe on because I couldn’t even bend the knee enough to do it myself. *eye roll*

Actually, it didn’t seem that bad once I got going.  Of course, Loke was helping like crazy for the first bit, but I just took it easy and tried to pull on the pedals rather than push.  I think that was what made it possible.  Gotta love clipless pedals.

As we had driven into Norberg, I decided that I was going to cut about 5 miles off my original planned route.  On the maps, it had me going almost due east out of the town before doing a jig north-east and then to the south-east to pass another church before taking off south along a canal system.  But the 256 we came in on was smaller than I thought.  With my original route crossing it, it seemed more interesting to be able to use those 5 miles extra to check out the area along the canals.  Also, if my knee became too much a problem it would be much easier for my husband to find me on the same road we had come in on.

It was around this time that the ‘comedy of errors’ began.

My cell phone had been a bit low in battery when I woke up, so I put it on charge.  Normally, it gets full charge in around 20 minutes and that can last me a week or more.  It had over an hour to charge.  Yet after two miles when I stopped to give Loke water, I went to call Jens to tell him it looked like it was working out, it gave me a low battery warning.  What the -??  I almost could have screamed (for the second time that day).

Without phones to coordinate my location, it would have been near impossible for him to find me even with the maps.  I’m the navigator in our little family.  After letting Loke drink, I frantically looked at my maps and decided I could, in theory, just pedal down the 256 the entire way.  Granted, there wasn’t much in the way of churches and the like, but it had been pretty and would get me out and some mileage under my belt.

So, I called my husband and hurried explained the situation and that I was going to stay on the 256.  So, once he was done with what he was doing, all he had to do was drive back to Norberg and follow that road toward Sala and he’d find me.  We agreed.

I still wasn’t entirely happy with the plan, but the alternative was for me to sit there at the bus stop until Jens came right away.  So, on I went.

Just A Lake View

We had only gone around 4 miles when I saw a rather grimey sign I hadn’t been able to read as we whipped by in the car.  ‘Hyttruiner’.  Honestly, I had no idea what a hytt was, but I knew the word ‘ruiner’ and it was enough for me.  It was a dirt road, fairly well strewn with stones that I ended up bumping down.  Immediately off to the right was a huge barnlike structure.  When I say huge, I mean it.  Over fifty feet high, around same the wide and as long as the block we live on.  There was a section over-built the lower portion a bit with thick wooden beams helping to support it.  I actually felt nervous as I went by.  The structure was old and I could see parts of the beams holding up the overbuild were rotted away.  It almost felt like that portion could come down any moment.

Goes without saying, I didn’t stick around that spot to try and figure out how to get a picture of it.  I’m sure it will stand perfectly fine for decades more, but I still didn’t like it.

Though old and on the verge of partial collapse (to my eye at least), the building wasn’t what I would call a ruin.  Before I could even really wonder if that was the ‘hytt’, I rounded the curve in the road (and corner of the building) and saw proper ruins!  Nice old stone walls and these two peculiar large rusting structures.

Högfors Hytt (Ironworks) Ruins

Blast Furnace

Turns out ‘hytt’ means ironworks.  I’m generally not that fascinated by Industrial Era kind of things, but I was still quite happy to take a look at this one.  Probably because of the unique-ness of the building and for some reason parts of it reminded me of Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, Alabama.

I have many fond memories of that fort.  From the times my dad would take the family there when I was a girl before it was dug out from all the sand and open to the public to the SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) events held there when I was in my early 20’s.

Norberg Stream

Any way.  Högfors is one of the most recent ironworks in Sweden with construction completed in 1915.  The long charcoal shed was completed at the same time.  Hmmm.  Could that HUGE building I was eyeing warily be the charcoal shed?  Shed seems to be such a paltry term for something that could hold my entire apartment’s building.

Other than the two blast furnaces, there were also a sinter plant (no clue), a power station, foundry, flour mill, carpentry workshop, smithy, and a saw mill.  The entire work force comprised about 70 people.  The operation was shut down in 1953 and most of the structures demolished in 1974 though the blast furnaces remain.

In spite of the 20th century nature of the ruins here, there were reports of a blast furnace at Högfors in 1539 and also one of Sweden’s first forge hammers 5 years later.

Oh and Högfors (translates into high rapids) gets its name from the high waterfalls of the Norberg Stream as it passes through this area.  I didn’t see anything I would have called a waterfall though.

Another Smaller, Enigmatic Ruin

The first manor house in Högfors built by a Jacob de la Gardie who was commander in chief and iron master.  I might have seen it in a distant kind of way, it looked a bit like smaller, plainer version of Hammarskog.  Given I was feeling a bit in a rush because of the whole phone issue and wanting to stay on the 256 in case Jens was trying to find me, I didn’t spend long in the area and didn’t ride toward the big-ish looking white house.  I snapped my few photos (didn’t even read the information on the sign until now as I thankfully remembered to get a picture of it).

As I was wrestling my trike around to hurry back down the dirt road to the 256, the second part of the ‘comedy of errors’ appeared when my phone rang.  Obviously, it was Jens.  It turned out the lake thing was a bit more complicated than he had thought.  There wasn’t a clear trail to the lake and he was a bit nervous about getting lost in the woods.  He doesn’t mind the outdoors, and likes camping, but he’s the first to admit, he doens’t have much of a sense of direction in a forest.  Drop him in a city and he’s fine.

He knows that I’m a bit more of a woodsey girl with a decent sense of wild direction, so he wanted me to help.  In a way, it was a sort of solution to the phone issue though it meant cutting my ride short.  I was willing to help Jens find the lake… not to mention, we had my bike GPS to help us.  Even without roads, I could still mark the location of the car and get directional bearings from it.

Lots of Lakes Around Here

Since I still had a bit of lingering battery charge in my phone, I told Jens to head back to Norberg and then down the 256 toward Sala the same way we had arrived.  When he got out of Norberg, call me again and I would give him distance and landmarks to locate me.

 It wasn’t long before he did call and I started looking for a place to load the trike without blocking traffic.  Within a quarter mile, I found it.  A little tongue of land reaching out into a lake.  There were trees and about a dozen row boats in various stages of delapidation, even one that someone was rebuilding.  More convenient was the looping driveway so my husband could pull in, load the trike and us leave without fiddling with avoiding trees and boats.  Loke could poddle around in the lake as I sat in a chair and rested my knee.

That’s where he found us.  After that, it was a short drive to the place with his lake.  It was a very short, but very rough walk.  I fell once, but fortunately all the wood and ground I landed on was soft.  I’d brought my sneakers to replace my cycle shoes for when I was off the trike, but they are NOT good for rough terrain.  Even my cycle shoes might have been better.

The little lake was pretty, though more of a pond.  The only drawback were the mosquitos twice the size of the ones I grew up with in the southern US.  Once Jens was satisfied he could find the place without my help, we went back to the car.

All in all, it was a good day.  Loke and I got out to do what we like best.  My husband has found a place he can practice fly fishing without needing a license every time he turns around.  Fun for all!

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