Iceland: A Dream of Hot Springs, Ice and Snow

Mary at Langjökull glacier in Iceland

Mary at Langjökull glacier in Iceland

I fulfilled a childhood dream a few weeks ago. I went to Iceland. Somehow the notion of a land where boiling water dances up from the ground while huge ice glaciers cover other parts enchanted me.  So my son Miles and I set off for an adventure.

We made sure we saw a glacier up close. And that was the real payoff of the trip because the wind was howling off the frozen snow about 60-70 miles per hour, and it was pouring down rain. I kid you not, I could barely walk the short distance because the wind made me stagger backward with each step. And the blowing rain made sure we were soaked head to toe. Up to then, we had been pretty well prepared, but only an insulated, water proof suit like ice fishermen sometimes wear would have kept us dry or warm. The glacier was so huge! It filled my entire range of vision with blinding, glaring white. I was thrilled!

Stokkur at Geysir, Iceland

Stokkur at Geysir, Iceland

Hot water also spews up violently from the earth in Iceland. The island is volcanic, with active eruptions every year or so.  Remember Eyafjallajökull? When the Vikings arrived in 874 A.D., they quickly discovered many hot springs and geysirs. The main geysir in Iceland today is not as impressive as Yellowstone, but a few still blast off with some regularity.

Me at Blue Lagoon hot springs. Water temp 100-107 F.

Me at Blue Lagoon hot springs. Water temp 100-108 F. I am applying white silica to my face.

Hot Spring Boiling From Ground

Hot Spring Boiling From Ground

Piping Hot Spring Water to Reykjavik for Home Heating

Piping Hot Spring Water to Reykjavik for Home Heating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The center of the island consists of lava mountains and glaciers. No trees, no animals, no towns, no roads for hundreds of miles. The volcanic hot springs and glaciers create rivers, however, and stunning waterfalls. Every thirty miles or so we had to stop for pictures. I’ll talk more about Vikings in another post, so stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Gullfoss, or Golden Falls. Again, the wind was 60 mph, so I didn't stay long.

Gullfoss, or Golden Falls. Again, the wind was 60 mph, so I didn’t stay long.

Lava Falls. A much gentler afternoon.

Lava Falls. A much gentler afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lava Field with Mountain Snow.

Lava Field with Mountain Snow.

 

 

11 thoughts on “Iceland: A Dream of Hot Springs, Ice and Snow

  1. Wonderful post! I love the pictures! I was in Iceland very briefly many years ago, while our flight stopped at the airport. We didn’t get to see any of this, of course, but there was a cold wind in July!

  2. Amazing adventure, Mary! It almost makes me want to visit there; how’re I’m currently in Scotland and that’s cold enough for me!

  3. Mary, I was in Iceland for 3 amazing days back in 2005. It was great. Was at some of the places you mentioned. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. What gorgeous pictures! This is rekindling my ambition to revisit. I went once, in the winter, to Reykjavik, a very indoors-y experience. I recall horizontal sleet and lots of darkness and a splendid art museum.

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