To me there is nothing better than getting outdoors and going for a nice long trek. I love the adventure, the physical challenge and exploring new places. I also have a certain proclivity towards glaciers. I think that they are amazing, though I have never actually seen one up close. Last month I got the chance to do just that.
I didn’t go to Iceland just for hiking, I was there on business. But over the weekend, I decided to get book a tour. There are several hiking and trekking tour companies in Iceland so it wasn’t hard. With the help of the front desk clerk at the hotel I was staying at, I got in touch with a company that offers tours right from Reykjavik; turns out that you don’t necessarily have to travel far to get out in nature or to commune with a glacier.
Anyways, I made my choice of tour operators and told them what I wanted to do. They suggested a tour that fit my time frame and desire to explore a glacier, in this case Sólheimajökull glacier. I think this translates as ‘sun home glacier,’ at least I think that is what it translates to with my rough knowledge of Icelandic. This particular glacier is located about two hours away from the capital city.
The tour company picked me up from my hotel in the morning and off we went. I was amazed at how quickly we were in the country – Reykjavik is not a very big capital city and most of Iceland is uninhabited. When we arrived at the glacier, I instantly fell in love. The weather was picture perfect and the contrasting colors of blue sky and the white glacier were outstanding.
We took a few minutes to go over a safety brief, put on our extra clothes and crampons and then we were off. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and told us all kinds of facts about Iceland, glaciers and such. But, what I liked best was when everyone stopped talking. Rarely in our busy lives do we get to experience absolute silence and that was one of the early pleasures of this glacier tour – we all stopped walking and talking and there it was, total silence. I turned my face to the sun and just soaked up this moment.
Later, we got to explore some crevasses and beautiful blue-white ice sculptures. When you touch this kind of ice, you are amazed by how smooth it is – like polished glass. We got to walk through long ridges that were like narrow ice hallways.
What struck me about this glacier was that it seemed to have a positive affect on everyone’s mood. It is kind of like the glacier is pumping out negative ions and it helps you feel content and grounded in that moment. I also think that the glacier, by the fact that it has been around for so long, imparts a certain sense of history and almost embodies a wise personality. Maybe it was just me, I tend to anthropomorphize everything.
One the way back to the city, our guide also stopped by two beautiful waterfalls, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Being from the western US, I am not used to seeing so much water and I was struck by the raw power and beauty of these falls. Raw power and beauty is a good analogy for Iceland in general.
All-in-all I was very satisfied with my Iceland hiking tour experience. This particular tour wasn’t very strenuous, so if you want something more physical, you can choose a different tour. I think that one day I would like to come back here and do one of their multi-day tours.