Day 6: Glaciers and waterfalls
This was the day we were set to tour the ice caves, but were rescheduled due to the warmer weather starting to melt the ice. Instead the same company, Glacier Guides, booked us on to their morning glacier walking tour, ‘Glacier Wonders’.
Glacier walking on Falljökull
We arrived at their base early on a lovely sunny day to get kitted up with crampons and ice picks. A short bus ride delivered us to the foot of the Falljökull glacier tongue from where it was a short walk until we were on to the glacier proper.
As we stopped at the head of the glacier to put on our crampons, our guide explained the various safety rules for walking on the glacier, including that we must exactly follow his path, where he knew the glacier was safe and would not give way into a crevasse.
We crept along slightly gingerly knowing the very real dangers lurking on the glacier. Our guide taught us how to walk down the glacier (by digging in your heels and leaning back) and we walked along in the sun enjoying the views. We stopped to see glacier mice- small moss-covered pebbles that travel down the glacier and provide a micro-habitat for tiny organisms.
We also stopped to grab a quick drink of ice cold, super pure water from a glacial stream. A welcome relief from what is actually quite a tiring activity, despite the tour’s ‘easy’ rating! It was a great experience to be walking on a glacier, especially on such a sunny day. We had amazing views across the surrounding landscape from up on the glacier.
The end of the glacier walk marked the end of our time in Skaftafell and the South coast- it was time to head back inland to Þingvellir National Park for geysers and yet more waterfalls.
Geysir and Strokkur
The drive there was as spectacular as always and we got to see much of the landscape we had missed during our dark and wet journey Eastwards to Skogarfoss. On the way to the hotel we stopped at Geysir to see the Great Geysir and Strokkur erupting before the sun set. These geysers are so regular that you can stand for half an hour and see it go off over and over again. As a result, we got some great photos. There’s a café and gift shop opposite which sells some nice local products- it’s quite a good stop for souvenirs of your trip.
We continued on to the hotel (Hotel Gullfoss), a welcome break from all the walking and driving. We opted for dinner in the hotel (there isn’t much else around, just fields and waterfalls!) and had a few beers to accompany the meal. Another great day in this wonderful country! We went to bed extremely excited for the next day when we would be snorkelling between the American and Eurasian continental plates!