Thursday, October 25, 2012

Iceland 1, All...

...packed and ready to go.

Here're some photos from the first day of my icelandic adventures.

Fair warning - there are a LOT of photos in this post (and yet, it's just a sliver of my selected favorites = go here to see more in the picasa album)

Departure Halifax

Flying into Boston for a 4 hr lay-over (on september 11th)

Who knew that Boston had beaches... like with sand and everything!?!

Transfer terminal

Discovering the joys of a pumpkin spiced Latte

Phase 2 - Boston to Reykjavik (overnight)

the approaching icelandic dawn

first encounter with the icelandic language (they do seem to have a nice, dry sense of humour)

pretty church, downtown Reykjavik

Managed to land, catch a bus to the tour pick-up point, and jump on my tour bus for the days activities... hiking over one of the newest mountains in the world!

Iceland has one of the most active Geo-thermal power generating industries in the world = very cheap heating and electricity

Pretty mountains

pretty-pretty mountains...

driving up the rocky "road" to get to our start point (kinda glad we had the 4X4 bus, and that the weather held - otherwise we'd be hiking just to get to the start of a 6 hr hike over a volcano)

our tour guide on the banks of a glacial-river

Footprints in the volcanic-ash...

taking the "lead"

starts as a simple "walk"

the mouldy hut where we stopped for a quick bite. You can see that the weather is already starting to close in (after starting in sun, we were now dealing with quite a kicking wind and approaching rain-clouds)

Guide leading the way over ash-covered ice and snow...

deceptively soft-ground... the eruption in 2010 is still felt today, as there's a huge amount of ash being blown around - covering everything 

Kevin used for scale (about an inch of ash blown over 8 inches of soft packed snow)

permanent Ice-caves (covered in ash from the 2010 eruption, like everything else)

Kevin hangs out on the "blue" ice



the "expensive" hut - used by larger private tours (that avoid walking, and travel in massively souped-up 4x4 trucks)

guide photography of the "reverse foot-prints"


Kevin reference of the "reverse footprint" *(regular footprints in the snow fill with ash - when the surrounding snow melts - it leaves perfectly shaped reliefs of the footprint)

Newest Mountain in the world (the red one) formed during the 2010 eruption of Mt Eyjafjallajokull; it's still hot enough that if you dig a foot down, you could cook an egg!

up and over the ridges

Ambient air temp hovering around 1deg C means that the "steam" you can see is actually caused by the temperature of the new ground (more than 2yrs after it was created)

blows your mind...

Pretty clouds? or something more threatening?

fantastic views on the way "down"

love a mountain skyline...


heading down the path can be a little dangerous in the rain = occasional chain to make you "feel" safer

precarious pathway...

stunning scenery 

don't get lost

more awesome clouds

ooh yeah - it's gonna rain.

spectacular views

yup - it's certainly pretty, and as always, photos simply can't do it justice.

guide framed by a rainbow in the rain...

tried to keep the lens dry... getting tricky though


I know that I haven't really written that much - but what can you say about a day like this.

it started in Halifax one afternoon, and finished the next night in Reykjavik.

I caught a bus to the airport - then a plane to Boston - another plane to Iceland - a bus from the airport - to a smaller bus that took me 2 hrs east - where I hiked for 6 hours over one of the newest mountains in the world - passing an active volcano that last erupted less than 3 yrs ago - through 4 distinct seasons of weather (summer-sun, winter-snow, fall wind, and spring showers) -  down into one of the most beautiful valleys I've ever seen in my life - before re-boarding the smaller bus for an hour long spine-shattering ride along a dry rock-bed - driving another 2 hrs back into town - and finally checking into my accommodation for the week.

I took over 1000 photos, and ate only a dry/stale sandwich and chocolate bar

it was one of the most awesome things I've ever done in my life.

next up, touring a glacier and looking at icebergs.