Trip Start Aug 30, 2007
Trip End Sep 30, 2007

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Flag of Iceland  ,
Wednesday, September 5, 2007 all day, then an afternoon/evening hike...hop in the big big truck for the amazing river crossings.....rock and roll all the way there....lots of rainbows...never seen so many rainbows....probably because it's always rainy with the sun desperately trying to make it's presence known.......we bounce thru volcanic rubble until our bones feel dislodged....our hike starts with a surprise series of river crossings on these are glacial rivers which means COLD!!!  And there's really no crossing them without landing in them so shoes come off and toes freeze...and the other challenge is the cobbly floor of the river - hard to balance ...

Stina, our engaging Icelandic leader, says the rivers are flowing twice their normal volume...she's thinking that a hunk of the glacier at it's source probably broke off and started a major flow downstream.....she said that in the 6 years she's been here, she's seen the glacier get smaller, continuing to break off where it had been pretty stable for a long period.   Anyway, Stina has us crossing these freezing cold rivers not only once but 4 times, to get to the bottom of the crevice that we're going to hike is of course, breathtakingly beautiful...

The hike brings a nice sense of cooperation among the group....I'm really enjoying many different personalities but everybody seems really into being here and connecting up with other people...some faster than others but even the slowest are showing themselves.  Anyway, we do all these crossings to get to the double waterfall...absolutely gorgeous!!!  Moss covered walls, rain dripping from the cliffs towering above us...wedged into this sliver in the earth....this is the land of waterfalls and rainbows... the landscape is like what you've ever imagined to be Icelandic. You can just picture Vikings riding up the valleys on horseback.... It's really rugged and sparse...not at all gentle or soft but pretty stark and ferocious.  You can see how it might have set off the imaginations of the writers of legends...and what's wild is that the people and land bring the legends to life...they're generally tall and blonde and rugged and pretty earthy....and with history describing the formation of Iceland as rooted in legend...a story for everything...
So back to the hike....4 river crossings in and no less than 4 on the way out....but on the way out I just left my shoes on and saturated them....way easier and warmer...and besides I got tired of taking them off and on again so much.   Came back to stormy skies, a hot tub and pig and mutton meatballs...mmmmm.....hungry, .tired....blowing wind and pelting rain....whipping right around this cozy cabin... glad to have it ...
By the way did I mention that there really is no forest in Iceland?  You were right Jeff, even though they call it the Forest of Thor, there really aren't any trees....forests make up about 1% of the ground cover here - the trees are trying to grow but the process is painfully slow, there's some shrubs, about 25% cover....and then there's truly an abundance of moss ....that's one of the main things that makes the landscape look so's mostly exposed....

and one other relevant factoid...there is plenty of area that's not under ice (and plenty that is too)...but the story is that the locals wanted to call this Iceland and call Greenland (the truly icy/snowy one) by it's name because then people would want to visit Greenland and nobody would want to visit Iceland... that would keep outsiders away and the locals would have Iceland to themselves while all those unknowing fools would look to find the green in Greenland. 
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