Iceland- Glacier Hike and Waterfall Rainbows — 4/15/2016

Today is our last full day in Iceland, and we may have saved the best for last. Today we hiked the Sólheimajökull glacier. Located two hours east of Reykjavik in the center of southern Iceland, Sólheimajökull is currently about 8 km (about 5 miles) long, and 1–2 km wide (0.6–1.2 miles). Incredibly, the glacier is shrinking at a rate of about 60 meters every year. According to our glacier hike guide, Icelandic scientists believe that if the glaciers continue shrinking at this rate, all of Iceland’s glaciers will be completely melted in 150 years.

Sólheimajökull. 5 years ago, the lake you see here was completely covered by the glacier.

We were given metal spikes to fasten under boots called crampons and an ice pick. My crampons worked well and made it easy to scale the glacier. Meredith’s crampons did not work as well.

One of the four times Mere popped a flat tire and required roadside assistance from our guide.

The ice picks helped us keep our balance, but to quote our tour guide, they were “mostly used for looking completely badass”.

Completely badass? You decide.

The coolest part of the glacier was an ice cave that formed near the bottom. The cave glistened in different hues of blue- the top half shone cotton candy blue, transitioning to a deep turquoise at the floor of the cave.

Holding an ice pick for a while might have went to my head.

On our way back to Reykjavik, we stopped to hike two waterfalls. The first waterfall we explored was Skógafoss, a massive waterfall about 60 meters (200 feet) high.

Skógafoss. I took this pic from a hidden path I found halfway up the stairs to the waterfall’s peak.

Seljalandsfoss was our second stop and is about the same height as Skógafoss. The differentiating feature of this waterfall is you can walk behind the waterfall so you are situated with your back to the mountain, looking through the waterfall out at the surrounding valley.

If you look closely there is a second rainbow on the left.

Our last stop was at Eyjafjallajökull (say that five times fast). This is the volcano that erupted in 2010 and famously delayed air travel all over the world when billowing clouds of ash spewed from its crater. So, if you had travel plans impacted by Iceland’s volcanic eruption, you can blame this guy.

Eyjafjallajökull is beautiful when it isn’t delaying half the world’s flights.

Tomorrow we fly home to Washington, DC. It will be hard to say goodbye to Iceland’s natural beauty. As always, thanks for reading.

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