The scenic Mardalsfossen waterfall measures 655 m in total. The top part drops vertically down 297 m.
The cache is placed near the trail, at one of the places where you can view the waterfall in more or less full length. The trail goes on, so you can in fact continue until very close to the headwall. But as the proximity and water stain increases, parts of the waterfall becomes obscured and you will need a wide-angle lens on your camera anyway.
Mardalsfossen has been dammed since the early 1970's, but not without battle. In 1970 preservation of Mardalsfossen was the objective for activists using civil disobedience to protest against the project and stall it by occupying the construction site. The campaign attracted wide media coverage, but brought no particular changes to the scope of the project. Nevertheless it marks a milestone in the development of Norwegian hydroelectric power resources, emphasizing the dilemma between industrial prosperity and environmental authenticity.
The dams diverting the water are in the mountains behind the cliff and not visible from the valley. The power station is located near Åndalsnes, on the western side of the mountain range.
The new public awareness also brought an adjustment to the licensing terms so that between 20. june and 20. august, the paddle gates are opened to maintain a flow of 3 m3/s of water down the old riverbed and over the cliff. Of course this period will be the most beneficial for visits. In the rest of the year, there is not much more left than a mere shadow.
Down the western headwall there used to be another waterfall called Ytste Mardøla, which was also regulated into hydroelectric use by the aforementioned project. Only erratic reservoir overflow and melting water from below the dam brings it back to life even so often.
The area is in fact within a glacial cirque, with limited satellite horizon. It is advisable to obtain GPS fix before entry. The difficulity rating has been adjusted for the GPS conditions.
Parts of the trail, particularly the area around the cache, are rather rocky. Bicycles or trams are not appropriate. The walking distance is approx. 2km, with 250m ascent.
As this is one of the main tourist sights in the area, the site can be busy. Please muster the required stealth when you retrieve and return the box. It is possible to make it to the cache and back within an hour, but that leaves very little time to enjoy the area.
The box is a 0.6l Curver.
as well as a logbook and pencil.
2010 update: The toll is now NOK 30 for driving your car the last 2.5km from public road and to the parking area. It is possible to park your car by the old ferry slip if you prefer the longer walk.