Geocaching involves people from all over the world secretly hiding and finding items, or hidden treasures, in the great outdoors. Iceland has jumped on this trend, adding a new layer to your classic sightseeing trips around the island.
See Also: Sustainable Tourism in Iceland
Imagine solving a riddle to gain GPS coordinates for buried treasure—except this treasure is a plastic container hidden under a loose rock or tied to the leg of an old bench. Such things are called ‘caches’ and often yield a piece of paper for people to record their names and dates of exploration. Clues, locations, and reactions are posted on geocaching.com.
Geocaching taps into our very real desire to be shaken out of our daily existence—to be surprised. By making you re-discover a familiar landscape for something hidden, this enriches the whole experience and very well intensifies our emotional response.
For many, the kaleidoscopic rainbow sculpture at Keflavik airport is their first or last geocache in Iceland; some cultures associate standing in a rainbow with wishes coming true. So, standing at the end of one such rainbow with cache in hand and the noise of flights landing or taking off, one would be remiss not to whisper a wish or even ruminate over what the future may hold.
And what future did these dreamers and wanderers see for themselves? Logbooks can show dates from years ago, with little scratchings declaring that some such person visited from Norway. Others simply show initials M.J.+D.E. Entries should be short–under two lines–to leave room for growth.
Some caches hold small mysterious objects left there by a previous traveller. The rule is simple: if you take something, leave something in its stead. Barring a catastrophic storm or theft, the cache will continue to be there long after you are gone. There is some comfort in that.
Symbolically, geocaching is a chance to be a part of something greater than ourselves: once you locate and excavate the container, you are at that precise moment in dialogue with the past and future, as well as the larger planet.
Perhaps the allure of geocaching has to do with keeping secrets. It may be tempting to take souvenirs from your travels around Iceland, and this is a mindful, non-destructive way to say “I was here.”
If you’re interested in trying this new, modern form of treasure hunting, why not pay a visit to geocaching.com? And if you have so happened to find a cache in Iceland, make sure to leave tales of your success in the facebook comments box below.