Treasure Hunting

THE GLOBAL GAME OF GEOCACHING hit Lofoten few years ago, and today, more than one hundred treasure troves are waiting for you to find them here on Moskenesøy alone. It is a super fun activity for singles, couples, groups, and families alike.

GEOCACHING IS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE, especially for hoarders, orienteering geeks, and mystery nerds. It is an engaging way to explore a new environment, it triggers your most tenacious puzzle-solving impulse, and it provides you with countless hours of outdoor entertainment.

As a geocacher, you are not alone. Three million players participate worldwide, and in the geocaching forum, enthusiasts share their adventures and discuss the infinite intricacies of the game. Welcome to the universe of high-tech treasure hunting.

THIS IS HOW IT WORKS. All you need is a pen, paper or a notebook, and a smartphone with GPS.

SIGN UP FOR A FREE ACCOUNT at the geocaching WEBSITE. Fill in your profile. Download the app to your phone and open it. Up comes a list of caches in your vicinity which are all rated in terms of difficulty and physical effort involved. Some are hidden right next to the road, typically at popular viewpoints. Others are tucked away somewhere along a hiking trail way up in the mountains. Start with an easy one to get the hang of it.

TRADITIONAL CACHES provide you with the GPS location of a treasure trove. The trick is to actually find it, though. Some boxes are quite conspicuous, others elude even the most enthusiastic players. Sometimes people line up several traditional caches for instance along a hiking trail.

MULTI-CACHES send you by more than one location to pick up clues about the position of a single box. The app issues a starting point and prompts you to perform a task related to certain clues in the immediate environment. The result of that task is likely the first digits in a GPS position. Write them down. Then you are given subtle directions to the next point of interest where you are supposed to figure out the next digits until you are finally there.

MYSTERY CACHES are … a mystery. They are obstacle courses with a plethora of different kinds of puzzles that you need to solve to get to the location of a hidden cache.

EARTH CACHES are not physical items, but places where you can learn some fun facts about the planet. To complete these, you must go to the location and look for the answer to a question on the information page. The topic could be local geology, mountain formations, erosion, or other fodder for brainiacs.

LETTERBOXING is a variety of geocaching more akin to the oldfashioned, pre-internet, analogue treasure hunt. Instead of GPS information, you are given a set of verbal directions from a starting point that lead to a letterbox. You can stamp your entry in the logbook, and receive a stamp for your collection.

CACHES VARY IN SIZE, from matchboxes or smaller to barrels or bigger. But the idea is always the same. The treasure inside is an assortment of silly, cute, pretty, ugly, or weird bric-a-brac with no monetary value whatsoever. Feel free to replace an object and keep it as a trophy.

SOME ITEMS WANT TO TRAVEL. The so-called travel bugs or trackables beg you to bring them to another location. “Take me to Paris,” it might say. If you are moving in that direction, you may bring the travel bug along and stash it in a cache closer to the desired destination. Travel bugs are usually fitted with QR labels or other kinds of code that make them trackable in the app.

BEHAVE CAUTIOUSLY, especially in residential areas. Your prowling may look suspicious to muggles, the geocaching term for members of the general public. Avoid being intrusive, and please be respectful of sacred places like churches and graveyards.

LOG YOUR PROGRESS. When you are done laughing and admiring the oftentimes endearing care and attention someone invested in giving you this experience, you enter your name and date in the logbook and then close and conceal the cache again. Finally, you are invited to make a note about your success (or lack thereof) in the app and share your adventure with other users.

CONGRATULATIONS, you are now officially an accomplished geocacher and no longer a mere muggle.