Glacier Hike: Day 2

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I figured when in Iceland, climb a glacier. Sounds crazy, no? It turned out to be one of the most thrilling and exciting days I’ve had in my life. I never thought of myself as outdoorsy or very active, but I had so much fun hiking Sólheimajökull glacier. I booked the tour through Reykjavik Excursions and decided to “Take a Walk on the Ice Side.”

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We left Reykjavik around 9 in the morning; a cold, wet, rainy day.  About two hours later driving south-east, we arrived at the beautiful landscape.

We were fitted with crampons, which is basically several toe picks to help grip the ice, an ice axe, and a harness…just in case someone decides to fall in to a crevasse. The crampons were really difficult to strap on, but I’m so thankful we were required to use them. The ice was slippery at times, and it was necessary to really stamp your feet on the ice. Safety first!

 

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It’s not an air guitar, it’s an ice guitar.

Our guide was the rugged, handsome, Kári (Cow-ree), who was about my age, was well versed in all things mountain.  He’s an active glacier/mountain guide on the weekends and spends the rest of his week studying mechanical engineering–cool! He informed us about the glacier and how each year they lose several meters due to global warming. It exists, people; I witnessed it first hand! He pointed off in to the horizon, and showed us where the glacier used to reach nearly five years ago. Now, it was just a small pond of water and dirt, how sad.  We walked for nearly two hours on the glacier, diving in to crevasses and taking pictures next to cool eroded ice sculptures.  The wind was strong, but it was surprisingly warm–I was only wearing two jackets and two layers of pants.

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After about two hours or so, we made our way back down the glacier. I noticed how many more tours were starting their tours, so I was very thankful to pick an early hike. It’s a pretty big glacier, but there were times it felt like we were the only ones on the mountain–I loved that!  We took off our gear, said our goodbyes and made a bee-line for the cafe and bathrooms. I grabbed a slice of Icelandic pizza and a much needed espresso before heading back to thebus.

The bus drove us about 45 back on the “1” towards two very famous waterfalls, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Anyone who successfully pronouces these names is a winner in my book.  I was pretty exhausted from the hike, so the waterfalls weren’t really all that exciting compared to walking on a glacier, but it’s quite majestic standing infront of–or behind, a huge waterfall; I felt so small.

The coolest part about the waterfalls was how close you were able to get to them. I walked behind Seljalandsfoss, which was pretty scary. There were about two “DANGER” signs, but for the most part, everyone was taking the trek. The rocks were very, very slippery so I made sure not to die… I’m surprised by how little safety procausions are in rural Iceland. I loved that we were able to get so close and experience the beauty from all sides.

The drive back to Reykjavik was a blurr, I was asleep for most of it. The landscapes on the drive were beautiful, but it was a pretty silent bus the whole way back.

When we got in to town, I made sure that lunch was my priority. We walked in to the first place we saw called Fish. The menu was simple, fish soup, fish stew or just a basic fish plate. There wasn’t many options, but I was so hungry, I didn’t even care. I decided to be adventurous and try the fish soup. LORD HAVE MERCY, it was the best thing I’d ever tasted. I’m not sure if it was due to the fact that my stomach was rumbling or the soup itself, but it was so heavenly. Every place in Iceland serves this amazing rye bread. I wish I could take a loaf home! I asked for more, dipping it in the soup was incredible.

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We scraped our plates and bowls clean, finished the meal with an espresso, and when we could walk, headed back to our hostels. NAP TIME!

The rest of the night was pretty low key, I got a crepe and planned our next few days. We decided that we will rent a car in the morning and head Southeast overnight to see the Secret Lagoon.

This was an amazing, unforgettable day. I can’t believe I hiked on a glacier!

 

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