Trip Report3 Weeks in Iceland - Horses, Glaciers, Hot Springs, Lava, and Rain (Update 2)
I just got back from a good 3 week trip to Iceland where I got to see the sights, do a little climbing, and spend a lot of time in the hot springs. Here's my trip report!
I was sitting around one day during school and wanted to throw in the towel. I'd had enough and was getting a little crazy. That night I was trying to do some homework and failing miserably. I turned to my girlfriend Shasta and said, "I can't take it, were going to Iceland and then at Christmas, Hawaii." Suddenly homework was easier and I seemed to be able to relax a lot better. I don't know why I said Iceland, I really didn't know anything about the place, but it sure felt nice to have that resting comfortably over my head.
So I did my normal amount of planning, which meant I occasionally looked at pictures of things I'd like to see and really didn't bother reading up on anything about the country. I figured I'd find out what the place was like when I got there.
The flight was direct from Anchorage to Reykjavik, Iceland and somehow I had managed to not sleep at all the night before and that left that specific flight feeling more like someone trying to pour warm molasses over my head as I walked through endless hallways that make up every airport I've ever been in. I was never quite sure if I was awake or asleep, but it didn't matter as I hadn't missed my flight.
Upon landing we promply we cruised around Reykjavik trying to buy some food and other things but for some reason everything was closed. It was early so we waited, and waited. It didn't seem like anyone was going to open, even though it was long past their "We open at __" time so we headed to a campsite and fell asleep. We would find out the next day that we had arrived on Iceland's Independence Day. No wonder everything was closed!
We finally got around to checking out the sites, which are generally everywhere so we just drove around and stopped at anything that looked neat. They have a lot of geothermal activity.
Continuing our drive we came to the end of Rekyjanes Peninsula.
Which has the oldest lighthouse in Iceland.
This is another coloful lighthouse.
The next day we headed off slightly inland toward Pingvellir
These guys are serious about their rock stackings.
After cruising through Reykjavik at a time when everything happened to actually be open, we found a hot springs book and began our mission to go to all that we could. Our first one was this little guy. The picture made it look like it would fit a few people...we were hoping this was not going to be a common theme.
There are not that many trees in Iceland but they do exist. In fact, heres a little forest!
Heres a big waterfall called Gullfoss. They have a ton of waterfalls and this post will include many of the popular ones. So if you don't like waterfalls you may have to skip a few. Oh, and you're a bit sick, who doesn't like waterfalls?
Near Gullfoss is Geysir, which is the geysir that all others are named after. Pretty cool, although I don't think its gone off for quite a while.
Then there was this guy, Stokker, which went off every 5-8 minutes. Pretty cool.
They have some pretty cool camping. This one, spelled incorrectly by me, is Alfaksied.
This area was called Seltun, the water boiled and bubbled at your feet.
Also it rained, continuously. I don't think it had stopped since we landed.
Their lakes had the most amazing blue colors at times. It looked like the one in Butte, Montana. Only, you know, it wouldn't kill you to fall in it.
We managed to find another hot spring that was full of algea and not to hot. Well, we were 0-2 at this point.
Awesome Icelandic art.
We decided that maybe the good hot springs took time to get to and we began the hike three miles to one we had heard was really good. The hike was up over a mountain and along the valley. Iceland constantly reminded me of Hatcher Pass (Alaska), partially because of the rain but also the surrounding area. You could see the hot springs steaming ahead, I wish Hatcher's was like that.
Jump in, the waters warm...
We finally made it up to the spring and with the exception of just a few people, we almost had it to ourselves. There are lots of areas in the river that you can go. The higher up stream you sit, the hotter it is. We spent and hour moving along the river from hot to cold and back again.
Then we saw someone come over the hill. Uh oh a few more people were coming up. Then something weird happened. It was like buffalo stampeding across the land. What was once a night quiet hot spring turned into Disneyland within the span of about 10 minutes.
Time to go!
Continuing the drive I would randomly pull off on a dirt road and find myself crawling up a mountain. The little diesel Polo did an awesome job and we early on named it Red Bandit.
We camped just near the base of this waterfall, it was beautiful and quite unique.
This is Seljalandsfoss and there are a lot of pictures of it here in a row. It was one of the three things I had in my mind that I wanted to take pictures of in Iceland. Also we managed to hunt down some blue sky!
Our campsite between the two waterfalls.
Rainbows and waterfalls!
Lets get another angle on it...
Went back for some nighttime shooting. Also, I somehow forgot to pack the tripod so all the night shots and long exposures were a bit interesting. This ones taken at after midnight.
We were still on a high from our last hot spring so we decided to try another one that looked pretty neat. It sat in a valley that seemed to explode with waterfalls and green.
It turned out to be amazing and somehow we got it to ourselves for a good 40 minutes.
We stopped at this beach for just a minute and ended up staying over an hour. Also we finally got to climb a little rock!
We brought our climbing gear but didn't end up changing into our shoes here. It was all slab and the minimus shoes did a decent job.
Some really awesome climbing on amazing features.
The gravel base made a decent crashpad too.
Shasta contemplating which way to go.
Most of the rock was pretty solid with some steep hard climbing.
Shasta in the cave
We went around the corner to an even steeper section that had a really neat roof problem in it. I could only manage about 3 moves in but someone stronger could probably work their way out.
This was the one I worked on for a bit.
Requiring a bit of a swing.
Shasta gave it a try too.
Then we went and climbed something a little easier.
On to more scenery.
Then we headed off to one of the other things I wanted to see when I went to Iceland. Large basalt columns on the ocean.
Which of course we have to climb.
Then it was time to continue on and head toward the glaciers and other waterfalls.
There was lots to see in the highlands but we only had Red Bandit, now if I had been driving one of these babys!
We camped that night somewhere along the way. Thats the end of days 1-5! I am still editing and uploading the photos of the other days and will post them as I get them up!
This photo is for the trip report thumbnail.
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