Thursday, March 8, 2012

Iceland, Day 2

We were just outside waiting for Ethan's bus and I saw a city bus drive by with the IcelandAir ad on it "only 7 hours from Seattle to Iceland!" and realized I'm behind on this again.

So, day 2 in Iceland was Thursday, which was the big glacier hike day.  We found ourselves hanging out in the Hilton lobby in the morning, with a big crowd of people, all dressed in layers and wearing boots, so we were pretty sure everyone was heading to the same place. I suspect I had on the best socks under my boots:

 Our big bus eventually arrived, and we headed off across the mountains to the glacier.  Just a bit outside of Reykjavik was the first mountain pass, and our view looked like this:

But pretty soon we were past all the snow and back to the lowlands of Iceland. Which pretty much looked like this:
Eventually we stopped for a yummy lunch of Icelandic meat (lamb) soup. Super yummy!
And we got fitted for crampons, and thankfully the guide noticed that most of the group was wearing warm clothes but not waterproof clothes, and they handed out waterproof pants. Thank goodness.
Then it was back on to the big bus and off toward the glacier, with a stop at a famous and pretty waterfall:
After driving past the volcano that caused all the air travel uproar in 2010 (but that apparently had almost no effect on the local area, other than an abundance of volcanic ash) we were at the glacier. And I started second guessing the wisdom of this decision.
First view

I was a bit comforted by the fact that I was traveling with a large group that was, shall we say, more in the range of my physical fitness than my husband's. So I didn't think I would be slowing them down too much. After stopping at the edge of the glacier for our insanely patient guide to show us how to put on our crampons (which most of us screwed up repeatedly), we were off! 

Our guide, explaining that this overhang was a tunnel the week before

The black stuff you see is volcanic ash.  It was really pretty up on the glacier. A bit more strenuous than the "leisurely walk" that was advertised, but worth the climb.  It wasn't even very cold on the glacier, just very, very, very wet.  Between the rain falling from the sky and the glacier melting since it was above freezing, we were absolutely soaked.  Thank goodness for the waterproof pants, as that was pretty much the only dry spot on my body.  

Going up was challenging, but I knew going down would be worse as I 1) have a crazy fear of falling and 2) this makes me not walk properly when I'm going down inclines and I generally fall. I was actually praying that when I fell I wouldn't hurt myself or anyone else, and when I fell a few minutes later I was fine.  Daniel and the guide, both of whom and gently been telling me that I needed to stomp harder to get a better grip with the crampons, both refrained from 'I told you sos'.

Eventually we were down and were wet, but happy to have risen to the challenge.
After a stop by another waterfall:

We were then off to a delicious dinner of lobster soup. Oh, and beer. Definitely beer.
Then we ended our night with a failed hunting trip for the Northern Lights and at midnight rolled back into our hotel, exhausted, wet and so thrilled to have had the adventure. Not bad for an overweight city girl, I think :)

1 comment:

Maggie said...

I had to go get a blanket just to read this. BRRRR