Not a whole lot of time to write this Sunday morning — it’s about 10:30 and we’re getting ready to head out for a day of exploration. We’ll drive about two hours into the interior, toward one of western Iceland’s highest mountains, which we’ve heard has unusual lava caves underneath.
This morning got off to a strange start. With our blackout blinds closed, we both woke up feeling pretty rested, and Shawn checked his watch to see that it was already 10 a.m. I went downstairs to start getting ready, wondering how it was that we slept 11 hours. When I checked my Blackberry, I saw that it was only 4 in the morning. Shawn had his watch upside down!
The point is that you can’t really go by what it looks like outside. The photo on the left was taken from our room last night when we returned from dinner at 11 p.m. This is as dark as it gets this time of year, which is great because late yesterday afternoon, we were able to take our time as we scaled the crevasse leading to the top of Glymur, Iceland’s highest waterfall. It took us about two hours to get to the top of the 70-story-high waterfall in what was one of the toughest hikes I’ve ever done.
The view from the top is what made it all worth while.
Imagine: A waterfall, crashing down into a narrow, almost prehistoric crack in the Earth that a glacier slowly cut into the ground over millions of years. Mist floats up through the chasm as birds that look like seagulls coast through the cool air, gobbling up thick, fat gnat-like bugs. The walls of this narrow valley are green and lush, covered in moss and hanging plants. In horizontal bands that run along the mountain walls, the birds keep tidy nests, touching down every few minutes after flying up to get a quick bite of lunch.
There are a couple other pictures here, including the view looking back where we hiked from. We started about a mile in from the edge of the fjord. Amazing.
One more unusual thing about Iceland that I discovered this morning. There seem to be only two temperatures of water here — cold, as in what we think of as Cold: Straight Out of the Ground, and hot, as in what the Icelanders consider to be Hot: Straight Out of the Ground. In other words, when you see the steam rising from the bathroom sink, watch the heck out!
(Click on any of the photos to see a full-sized version)