Thirdeyemom

Lost in Iceland: A Day of Ice Trekking in Myrdalsjökull Glacier

Heading northeast on Iceland’s famous Ring Road instantly reminded me why I had always dreamed of visiting….

Ok…I lied.  I was initially going to write my next post about intimate, eccentric Reykjavik, a city of only 120,000 or so hearty souls, yet on a whim I changed my mind.  I took one look at my pictures from my first Icelandic adventure, ice trekking on a real, live glacier, that I felt I couldn’t contain my desire and thrill to write about this adventure first.  So, lovely, playful Reykjavik will have to wait.  Prepare yourself for a real glimpse at why Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice, and why the wild, stark dramatic beauty of this amazing country enraptures one’s heart and soul and makes any visitor immediately promise to come back again.  Hold on tight…..and hope you enjoy the ride!

The geography of Iceland is absolutely amazing.  Despite its long history of Vikings and Sagas, it is actually a geographically young country that is still forming.  It contains some of the largest glaciers in the world (glaciers cover about 10.9% of Iceland’s total landmass.  There are over 4,328 square miles of active glaciers).   Three enormous glaciers represent 11% of the entire ice mass:  Vatnajökull, Langjökull and Hofsjökull.  These glaciers are so incredibly huge, that in the winter time Icelanders get out their Land Cruisers and actually drive across them for fun!

Iceland also has over some of the most active, turbulent volcanoes in the world.  There are over 200 post-glacial volcanoes (over 30 of them have erupted since the country was settled in the 9th century AD, per Volcano Discovery (for more information, check out their volcano website at: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/iceland.html).  Recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland have caused airport closings and chaos throughout Europe.  On May 25th, The mighty Grímsvötn volcano erupted and wreaked havoc, just a little over a year after the powerful eruptions of the now world-famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

Besides volcanoes and glaciers, Iceland also prides herself in having the richest source of hot springs and geo-thermal activity in the world.   There are steam holes, geysers, bubbling mud holes and sulphuric precipitation.  Many Icelanders are known to hike to the top of a dormant volcano, swimsuit on and towel in hand, to take a dip in the hot, natural spring pool at the top of the mountain!  There is also the infamous “Blue Lagoon”, probably one of the largest, geothermal pools in the world where Icelanders and tourists alike bathe ensemble, coated in mud masks, drink beer and watch the world go by.

Iceland’s interior is uninhabitable; it is covered with glaciers, mountains and high plateaus which makes the support of any life impossible.  Therefore, all Icelanders live along or within easy reach of the coast.   A long, curvey group of roads circles the island. Although we didn’t make it all the way around, I was amazed and surprised by how much the topography and geography change.  There are endless amounts of things to see and do in Iceland, especially for the adventurous souls, which leads me to the topic of this post:  A Day of Ice Trekking in Myrdalsjökull Glacier.

The Myrdalsjökull Glacier is the fourth largest glacier in Iceland and is located about 96 miles southeast of Reykjavik.  Several adventure outfitters take the curious, adventurous and willing traveler on a full-day trip from Reykjavik which is pricey, but in my opinion, the best way to experience Iceland’s ice in the raw.

Here are some pictures from this epic, adventurous day.  Hope you enjoy!

Setting off early morning with the tour operator who of course drives a Land Cruiser, Iceland’s favorite vehicle!

En route following the Ring Road northeast towards Skogar, the magical Seljalandfoss waterfall, which can be seen from the highway:

Up close and personal with the Seljalandfoss waterfall, one of Iceland’s many incredible waterfalls:

As you get close, you can hear the water roar as it tumbles down and sprays all those who stand near:

As the drive continues, the scenery never ceases to amaze me.  It is God’s Country, a land so green and so beautiful that it almost hurts your eyes.  You pass through many small towns by the sea, farms loaded with white fluffy sheep, horses and hay, and nothing but green.  It is absolutely spectacular.  The beauty is stark, raw, mystical and unique.  Iceland is like no place I’d ever seen.  It is like no place on earth.

As we approached the glacier, I was curious about when I’d first be able to see it as the size and mass of Iceland’s glaciers is literally incomprehensible.  They are that big.  Unfortunately the weather began to change.  The clouds set in like a giant blanket overhead and rain began to fall lightly across the greening grass.  We arrived at the Myrdalsjökull Glacier shortly after our visit to the waterfall, just as the rain began to change from a drizzle to a downright pour.  Thankfully I was prepared.  I packed all my Gortex watergear which would definitely come in handy as we hiked the massive Myrdalsjökull Glacier.

The tongue of the glacier…there is no way possible to show the enormity of it!

The entrance to no man’s land…..

It goes on forever….

We get on our crampons in the pouring rain and set foot onto the glacier.  I’ve never walked on crampons before and we get a brief instruction on the techniques.  I felt like a penguin, it was hilarious, but once I got used to it, it was actually quite fun and such an amazing way to see the glacier.

Here is a photo from on top of the glacier:  The terminus of the glacier ends in a tiny pool of water and a river.

We see our first 100 foot crevasse.  Wouldn’t want to fall in there!  But the colors of blues are so intensely beautiful….

The clouds and rain set in and then the wind picks up speed and it was FREEZING, WET and MISERABLE!  But we were walking on a glacier so what could one expect?

A larger crevasse….

The stark beauty of the place felt like no place on Earth….

And the ice formations were unbelievable…

The rain still is pouring and I am freezing cold…yet the thrill of walking on ice from before mankind felt surreal.

And the colors of contrast between the dirty, ancient ice juxtaposed against the verdant green fields was spectacular in itself.

After 90 minutes of walking in severe wind and rain, we headed back to the terminus of the glacier and thankfully climbed into the warm, dry bus that will take us back to town.

It was an experience I’ll never forget….to be completely lost in Iceland and wandering….”Is Anybody Out There?” (A popular quote sold on t-shirts, mugs and postcards from Iceland).  After being there, I understood what this quote was all about!

Stay tuned…..more Icelandic posts are on the way!

105 comments

  1. I certainly wouldn’t want to fall down those crevasses! It looks very cold indeed.
    (I love all the information you provide with your travels stories – great stuff!)

  2. Thanks Karyn! The cold actually sounds GREAT right now as it is 105 degrees F here in Minneapolis!!!!! Land of EXTREME temps.! We are all sweltering hot so looking at these icy pictures makes me feel better.

    When I get a chance, I’m definitely going to through in posts about my two weeks in New Zealand as it is by far one of my favorite countries I’ve been to. Thanks for your support! 🙂 I enjoy reading your posts as well! You are busy!

    • Yay know I’ll have opinions on your NZ posts for sure! Hope the heat isn’t too exhausting for you. Mild winter here so far, so not complaining.
      Yep busy. Meant to be racing out the door. Better do that. 🙂

    • Hmmm…maybe my nose was plugged! This was two years ago so I am writing off memory. But you are right, I should have remembered that. See what happens when you have young kids! you are forgetful….I will try to refresh my memory as now it is ringing a bell. Again, I was so cold and wet that my memory could have been frozen! ha ha….thanks for the comment!

  3. Lu

    I’ve been wanting and waiting to go to Iceland for ages – we’re “planning” a trip for this summer… fingers crossed! Your photos are beautiful and certainly convey the start beauty of this amazing geological/geographical island!

    • Thanks so much! What a nice suprise! Today is my son’s last day of Kindergarten and then I received this news. Always makes you happy to know that all the effort you put into your blog is being enjoyed by others! Thanks again! 🙂

  4. I absolutely love this post!! I went on my first icelandic adventure last october and it blew my mind! It is like visiting the end of the world, for sure. We drove around the entire country in nine days and experienced all the varied landscapes that you’ve mentioned. I never got to hike on a glacier though, that’s so awesome! Looks like an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience. Stunning photos. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Wow! You are so lucky to have had the chance to do the entire island! I want to definitely go back and do more hiking. There is so much to see! Did you write about your experiences on your blog? I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for your comment!

      • I’ve been dreaming of going back as well! There’s way too much to see. We saw a lot but it was so rushed. Plus we missed a lot of things because it was off season. I didn’t document it via my blog cause my blog is pretty new unfortunately. I’ve got a ton of photos laying around though. All the best 🙂

  5. Great photos!

    Isn’t it dangerous to be driving across those glaciers with all those crevasses around? Or do the locals like a challenge?!

    You sound like my husband . . . He believes there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad equipment!

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    • Thanks! Yes I would imagine it is quite dangerous but from what I recall, Icelanders are crazy adventurers and in for the challenge. Living here in Minnesota, we have over 10,000 lakes and they are frozen each winter for months. It is quite common for us to drive around the lakes on the ice for amusement (well, when I was a teenager of course) and there are even some lakes which trucks drive over! Maddening world isn’t it!

  6. jacquelincangro

    I was in Iceland one year ago this week! I didn’t get to Myrdalsjökull Glacier, but I did hike on a glacier on the western side of the island. I also went to the Latrabjarg Bird Cliffs which was one of the very favorite things we did.
    Looking forward to more posts!

    • Thank you! I’m glad you liked the pics. As for the pressed, I have no idea actually. This is the second one of mine that got pressed. My earlier one on Argentina titled Hike to Mount Fitz Roy was the first and it was a surprise. I think it is a bit of luck and there i actually some advice in Word Press under the help section on attracting readers. It said to write frequently, with passion and have an enticing title. Hopefully that helps and keep writing!

  7. Great post! I really enjoyed the pictures of the crevasses and ice formations. This is one of the few Fresh Pressed I actually read all the way through!

  8. Beautiful pictures… Amazing. Reminds me of the time I saw a volcano erupt on Hawaii. Similar experience, different temperature.

  9. Great post – Reykjavik is a nice town and well worth seeing but Iceland’s glaciers are amazing. I’ve done ice treks in Norway and the Alps but not when I was here. These icefields are vast!!

  10. jan

    hi,

    nice pics, i have a question; did you add the bigger pics in this wordpress? And how much space do you have? Or do you have another photo album?

    • Thanks! I did do the first upgrade for photo storage with Word Press. I think is costs about $20 or so. It is under the upgrade information. That just gives me more storage and as I already have a ton of posts, I still have 90% space remaining. I felt like it was worth the upgrade. As for the size, I don’t know why the pictures are coming up so large sometimes. I’m not that technologically savvy and am just learning WordPress so this is actually a mystery to me. Some photos I am scanning and the sizes and resolution are different on those ones (like the pics from South Africa which I took before digital cameras existed). Hope this info helps!

  11. Jennifer Burden

    Fantastic post, as usual! And, congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!

    About this post:

    “There is also the infamous “Blue Lagoon”, probably one of the largest, geothermal pools in the world where Icelanders and tourists alike bathe ensemble, coated in mud masks, drink beer and watch the world go by.”

    Sign me up!!!

    I like coming to your blog for an adventure. 🙂

    Jen Burden

  12. Awesome shots! Still kicking myself for not going on a glacier hike in Iceland. If you’ve got time, you should head up to Mytvan in the north east. or Silfra just outside of Reykjavik. It’s worth it.

  13. This is an awesome record! Amazing photographs and really passionate account to boot! Makes me want to convince my Fiance of a honeymoon trek!
    Thank you so much for posting and sharing these!

  14. I have one word to describe the pictures of the falls: PARADISIACAL. I felt like I was transported to paradise through those pictures. Nice adventure, by the way!

  15. Gorgeous pix! I especially love the crevasse shots. I’ve been to Iceland several times and especially love the green moss. This time of year, the rivers run a bright blue, as the glaciers melt. The landscape changes with the seasons and the countryside looks completely different. Thank you for showing me a part of the country, I hadn’t the fortune to explore. I hope you have many more visits in your future.

  16. i never been visiting any waterfall yet but your photo make me fall in love to have a visit there too. If i not mistake iceland now is having serious mount eruption of lava, hopefully over it soon. I read newspaper say the gas is unhealthy for people and environment as these gas contain what….I not sure about it but if danger to human better stay away for while.

    Thank
    Regards
    Abraham
    Founder of Acer 11.6 Netbook
    Cuisinart TOB-195

    • Yes I sure did, right on the glacier with my cheap digital camera. Can you imagine how amazing they would be if I was a professional photographer! Just goes to show you that nature is unbelievable!

  17. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
    Those pics are magnificent. When I looked at the waterfall pic, I could actually hear the roar of the water in my head 🙂

  18. What a fabulous post; thanks so much for sharing! Iceland has been at the very top of my extensive travel wishlist for a long time, for the landscape, unique culture and awesome language. Have you learned any Icelandic, or do you know much about it? Being a huge language nerd, I’d relish the chance to geek out on a very, very old language that has changed so little over the course of time. I’m excited to see your next few posts!

    • Thanks! Yes, Iceland by far was one of my favorite places I’ve been. It’s been two years now and I dream of going back someday with my husband as it is such a magical place. I love languages too and did not learn any Icelandic. With such a small population of people, I hope the language can be preserved. The sagas would be amazing to read too!

  19. Hi
    nice snapshots….
    the waterfall is too beautifull
    about glacier,
    it looks like someone freeze the cloud & wind together……
    Hope u enjoy a lot!!!!!

  20. What a wonderful experience you had in Iceland! The photos are beautiful! I’ve always been curious about Iceland, but with many people saying that there’s not much to see, my family and I never decided to book a trip for Iceland. But, because of this post of yours, I think we should give the place a visit soon. Thanks for this! 🙂

    • Iceland is by far one of my most favorite places of all and depending on what you like to do, it is an outdoor paradise! There is tons to do and see!

  21. I’m stunned. Gorgeous pics. The only views I know of Icelnd is what I know from ATopGear! Those ice formations a utterly gorgeous. Thanks so much.

    • Thanks! Check out my posts on Argentina too as I have lots of cool mountain and glacier shots. Also, the Nepal ones are amazing too. Glad you enjoyed! 🙂

  22. Im planning on visiting Iceland in August-ish and im concerned about clothing a bit. Ill bring layers, but how cold does it get?
    Also were you provided these boots by your tour company?

    • I went in August (it was actually two years ago) and we had excellent weather. During the day, it was jeans or long pants, long sleeve shirt and a fleece. There is an amazing Icelandic shop called 66 NORTH which is like the “North Face” in the US that sells all the gear you’ll need if you don’t have a chance to get it at home. I highly recommend waterproof coat and pants if you plan on doing any hiking and then layers. It actually is not that cold. I am from Minnesota and our winters are very very cold. So Iceland was nothing too bad. Just the glacier hike was freezing. We actually did get a magical day that hit 80 degrees,the irst one in twenty years. But overall I’d say it is from 50-60 F which is perfect. Just be prepared for rain. You’ll be great! As for the boots, I have my own hiking shoes but the company did provide the crampons to go over them. Have fun! you will LOVE it!!!!! 🙂

  23. Great post! it was kind of funny…i was about to announce my photography website update with new images from Iceland on my blog, and I saw this one showcased by WordPress!
    In any case, really glad you enjoyed the trip to Iceland…it is indeed a magical place, where magical images can be taken!
    rafael, photographer

    • Thanks for the comment! I will have to check out your site! I am by no means a professional photography and actually take all my photos using my $200 digital camera. I am still shocked at how good some of my picutres come out. I can only imagine what the same photos would look like by a professional photographer who is trained and artistically creative. Can’t wait to see your photos!

  24. Looks like an amazing place!! Your so lucky you get to have so many adventures around the world. Iceland is so beautiful… one of these days I’ll travel there. You are an awesome writer. I had fun looking through your posts this morning. Thanks for sharing your exciting life with the world!!

    • Thanks so much for the nice comments! It makes all the time I spend doing these posts worthwhile…to know that others have read them, liked them and want to visit these wonderful places! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reading them…it keeps me writing! 🙂

  25. Pingback: Lost in Iceland: A Day of Ice Trekking in Myrdalsjökull Glacier (via thirdeyemom) «

  26. I went to Iceland when I was younger – an incredible experience. Seeing all your photos brings back a lot of memories and maybe I shall have to go find all the photos from my trip.

    It is as you say a stunning country, standing behind Seljalandfoss was one of the highlights of my trip , there was another incredibly large waterfall that I saw but its name eludes me. Although I think I have seen my quota of waterfalls for the rest of my life after the trip to Iceland.

    I personally didn’t go hiking on the glaciers but I did visit the Blue Lagoon as well as witnessing the strokkur geysir (if memory serves me correctly) – if I ever go back though I shall have to go hiking in the glaciers – looks like a worthwhile trip

  27. AD

    Thanks for sharing! Reminds me of my extended trip around the country a few years ago. It definitely is a land of extremes, unique and quite beautiful.

  28. ‎”Sometimes nature can be more surreal than any fiction.”

    You might want to view this video

    of a Jellyfish lake in Palau. This is the second time I shared the link on a nature/trip-related blog entry, but I can’t help it. I just wanna share how magical nature is. 🙂 The photo of the crevasse is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing these!

    • Thanks for the comment! I actually am originally an “Anderson” (my maiden name) as my grandfather’s family came to Minnesota from Sweden. I’ve always dreamed of going to Sweden….it is on my long list of places I want to travel to. Here in Minnesota, if you open the phone book, it is loaded with “sons” ….there are many swedish jokes here! Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  29. These pictures are amazing. It’s always been my dream to go to Iceland, and I am trying to plan a trip there within the next year or two. At least I can live vicariously through this post until then. 🙂

  30. Iceland is high on my list, but my wife rolls her eyes on this one. Same for Antarctica. I like the photos, one day I will get her there, but I can’t let her read your post about the freezing cold rain. 🙂 I see in the comments section that you have spent 2 weeks in New Zealand. I will sign up and look for your post on that trip.
    By the way it is cool 94 in Fort Lauderdale. Who knew you would need to go to Florida to get away from the heat!

  31. Iceland really wasn’t that cold except for the glacier hike. It was generally perfect 60-70 degrees. If your wife doesn’t like cold, don’t hike southern Patagonia! Now that can get seriously cold but then again, I am from and live in Minnesota where I run year round in zero degree temps. It was 113 degrees here last week so it is extreme temps! As for New Zealand, one of my favorite places ever as well as Nepal. The trekking is fabulous. I haven’t written about that one yet. I’ll get there but I did write about my two week trek in Nepal as well as Argentina. Check it out!

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  33. You do! Wow, I’m impressed! I was surprised to look in my inbox that day as it was my son’s last day of Kindergarten (a huge milestone) and my parents were here for his school concert. I opened my email, and there it was….a zillion emails! I have not noticed that there is a little group of people who comment on FP but I guess that makes sense. I admit that I look at them every day and use them to find new blogs to read. I love reading other people’s blogs and by the way, I love your blog and am so glad I learned about it! 🙂

  34. I wanted to come to iceland too but i thought that’s a long trip and i come to the conclusion that miao village it’s more interesting. For years i wanted to visit this beautiful country, Iceland…

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  37. Susie Varga

    Hi There! This is an amazing blog and would love to email you as I am planning on taking a trip this October. Would you mind shooting me a quick email so that I can get some pointers some advice? susie.varga@hotmail.com thanks so much!

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  39. Pingback: A Sea of Ice: Iceland’s Myrdalsjökull Glacier | Thirdeyemom

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