Our second evening in Iceland, we camped just a stone's throw from Skogafoss, and opened our mobile home door in the morning to a view just like this. Welcome to Iceland! What a great place. The kids charged right into the base of the thing, just to see how wet they could get -- the spray of this baby is something else (pictures were hard to get without drops all over the lens). I'm glad they did, though, it gives you a little perspective on the size of the fall. Not small.
The little hamlet of Skogar below this fall sits in an interesting place: right between the massive glaciers covering Eyjafjallajokull volcano (I can pronounce that, can you?), which infamously interrupted flights to Europe in 2010 when it erupted, sending ash miles skyward; and the glacier covering Katla volcano, the most feared volcano in Iceland.
It is so beautiful for being in such a dangerous place. We decided to get up on top of the fall for a better look.
Which entailed climbing stairs - a lot of stairs. Four hundred forty-four, to be exact, at least according to Alden. (Have I mentioned that I did not see a single non-skinny Icelander? Nope, not a one.) But the view from the top was totally worth every huff & puff.
Rainbows and waterfalls, green hillsides and blue skies -- what is not to like? This place was amazing.
We decided to continue hiking up the Skogar river, on the trail that would eventually lead between the two volcanoes and their respective glacial caps, to Thorsmork, literally, "Thor's Forest" a small woodland nestled between the glaciers that is one of the few places in Iceland where you can actually see trees. We did not make it that far, but even the short hike we did rewarded in spades.
The domed, snow-capped mountain behind me, and which Alden is contemplating below, is Eyjafjallajokull, now calm and serene, a picturesque part of the landscape.
The Skogar was just quintessential Iceland, all the way along. Big volcanic chunks, green moss, bluest of blue water.
That mount in the background is Eyjafjallajokull. Looks so peaceful, doesn't it? Now you know why people actually settle near volcanos: they seem so harmless and are so scenic -- most of the time.
I don't know if you can see the people walking along it in the picture above, but can you get any more scenic than walking that trail along this river? It was awesome!
We returned, got back in our mobile home and proceeded along the flank of Katla volcano to Solheimajokull, a tounge of the massive Myrdalsjokull glacier/ice cap that covers Katla.
We were not allowed to venture too far without a guide, but it was fun to stand on a glacier, even if it is covered in fine black volcanic ash. And as for the coats, trust me, the wind blows down the face of that baby hard, and it is cold. We were glad to be all bundled up.
From there, we headed around the southeastern tip of Iceland to a place that shall remain infamous in Bailey lore -- VIK, home of the worst weather in Iceland, where every day feels like Hurricane Harvey. Moments before the picture below, I observed everyone putting on full rain pants and other heavy gear inside our mobile home, and uttered the now infamous words, "I think you're over-preparing for this." We then stepped out into howling rain, which the pictures do not show, but trust me, it was there, blowing so hard (horizontally in fact) that it was hard to see. The moment below was not really staged, they were just reacting to the wind as I tried to take their picture.
The grass next to Alden MAYBE gives you some indication of the fierce wind, and why Alden is clenching a post (mostly in jest, but he was light enough to blow away in that wind, even with all of his 86 pounds).
It was beautiful even in the fierce elements, which somehow made it all the more Iceland-like.
If you look close, you can see a skull face on that rock. No wonder this country largely still believes in trolls.
We hustled back to the Mobile Home, and headed north, around the point, hoping to escape the weather. Unfortunately, that would have to wait for another day. More to come . . .