By the time you read this, I will already be dead.
But it kind of feels that way, since at the time of writing this my computer’s return date has been pushed back AGAIN to Friday, which means it’ll be sometime after that that I can upload the pictures I want to include in this blog. So I might be 80 by the time this gets published.
Anyway, the trip per weekend trend continues, this time to Fjaðrárgljúfur. I can’t pronounce it either. Fjaðrárgljúfur is a canyon in the south of Iceland, about an hour past Vík.
So… yeah. I forgot to do the map for the Jökulsárlón trip, and it’s harder than I thought to change circle colors, which means each trip now gets its own color!
We made a couple of stops along the way to see some familiar faces, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, plus yet another view of the black sand beaches in Vík. It’s amazing how many different vantage points you can find when you keep making wrong turns.
Seljalandsfoss was a completely different experience this time, since we parked on the opposite side of the fall from last time and discovered some trails we had no previous knowledge of. The first one brought us up to a lovely view of the top of a smaller waterfall and was quite precarious. At various points there were chains secured into the ground for hikers to grab hold of and wooden planks jammed into the sides of inclines to serve as secure and comforting bridges.
The experience was rendered complete by the discovery that Manuel is the dad friend who gets wildly concerned when you stand too close to the edge. We may have shaved about two and a half years off his life in the quest for Insta-worthy pics.
After seeing the top of the waterfall, we made like the water and fell approximately 30 meters to the bottom. Not really, we walked down, but the wordplay was tempting and I am weak. Anyway, the bottom of the waterfall was on the other side of a crevice in the rock, and in order to get inside you had to hop across some rocks extending from the river bottom (or really challenge the claims your shoes make about being waterproof, but I chose the former). Luckily, both I and my camera survived to see the interior of this pseudo-cavern, and I can prove it.
Invigorated by our waterfall scaling success, we spotted another trail up the side of the cliff and decided to give that one a go. By “we,” I mean Manuel, Ally, and I, AKA the apparently least clever members of our group. What happened is we ended up on top of Seljalandsfoss with no clear idea of why or how, let alone how we intended to get back down. And for all the sheep poop we saw up there, there were no sheep to be found.
Hopefully the pictures prove that it was still totally worth it, even if we had to slide down some mud and make it look intentional before Luca got tired of waiting and drove away. But everything worked out: we were not left for dead and hopped in the car to get to Skógafoss.
Skógafoss was much the same as the last time I saw it, but the weather was not. I saw the sun this time. Usually I would be personally affronted by the audacity of this cosmic piece of shit to show its face, but on occasion the sun works with less odious elements of the universe and creates something beautiful.
What looks like the front of either a sympathy or confirmation card (plus miscellaneous tourists and Manuel) is a scene I actually saw in real life. I cannot overstate enough how surreal it was to me to stand under a literal rainbow with a huge ass waterfall drumming behind me. It seems like every weekend I have one of those moments where I suddenly realize how wild it is that I’m in Iceland and seeing with my own eyes these things that belong in a fantasy story.
Shortly after this photo was taken, we bid Skógafoss farewell and continued to the black sand beach– or so we thought. The same wrong turn that got us last week tricked us again, but since we had a canyon to get to we just accepted this juncture as our beach experience of the week. It was not disappointing.
After the beach, we hammered down and finally made it to Fjaðrárgljúfur. For a big ass hole in the ground, it’s actually quite beautiful. It’s also quite different from the waterfalls we saw, despite being made of the same basic ingredients: water and. . . falls? There were a lot of steep cliffs, is my point.
And while our resident geographer Ally could not tell us what mountains we were looking at along the drive, he could tell us that the waterfalls we were looking at were little baby falls, and much younger than the behemoths we saw earlier. Which we had guessed, so basically we’re all geographers now.
Other highlights of the trip included small caves, relatable signs about unstable cliffs, and annoying the bejeezus out of the other passengers with one of the most beautiful, inspiring songs ever written: Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
Enjoy having that stuck in your head for the rest of the day.