Today we had a glacier tour booked, but since it was all the way back in Skaftafell, we got up as usual, hopped in the car and drove off, going west this time so we could see the scenery from the other side as we zoomed by. Except for picking up a forlorn hitchhiker standing in the rain, it was a smooth and uneventful drive.
At skaftafell we had a quick lunch, put on all the warm clothes we had with us and reported to the glacier guides. They fitted us with safety harnesses, helmets, ice axes and crampons (kind of spikes to add to your boots) and off we went to the glacier. After a few demonstrations on how to use the equipment, we marched up a steep ridge and there began our walk on the ice.
Glaciers are not smooth as you might think, they are on fact crisscrossed by gullies and crevices, forming ridges and hills on the surface. It was interesting to note that though the guides seemed to know where we were going, the changeable nature of the glacier meant we couldn’t just follow a set path; one of the guides kept blazing a trail for us, even chopping steps where it was too steep. It was good exercise, I got hot after a little while despite the cold from the ice. It all felt adventurous in a safe touristic sort of way and above all the view was quite stunning. It was, all in all, a great experience.
Walking back down from the glacier
On the way back to Höfn we stopped by a couple of places we missed yesterday, you simply cannot get tired of the Icelandic landscape. After dinner we drove just a short distance out of town, and went for a soak in some open air hot tubs that just happen to be there; great after a day of walking around on a glacier.
A short stop on the way home, landscape is still stunning