Thursday, May 19, 2011

Iceland - Waterfalls

In Iceland, there are waterfalls everywhere. You cannot walk down a road without tripping over 4 of them, no joke. Honestly, the you get so used to seeing them that you stop taking notice after awhile, and I'm talking about examples with an honest 100ft+ drops. Here are three of note:

Glymur- Iceland's tallest waterfall, with a drop of 650ft. For the sake of comparison, the Space Needle in Seattle is 605ft tall, with guard rails at the observation deck, a luxury Glymur lacks. And the hike to see it is, interesting. I'll let Wikipedia do the talking:

The south side trail is strenuous and potential hazardous, passing along the edges of steep dropoffs...After crossing the river, the south trail climbs steeply with various muddy, rocky and loose areas. At times it skirts steep dropoffs...

I cannot imagine many trails like this can exist in the US just because it would be a lawsuit waiting to happen; the exposure at one of two points would seriously freak out anyone with the slightest fear of heights. But small adventure does it all for you, the gentle reader. My wife had to be convinced to come out to the narrow point overlooking the falls where I chose to stop and eat lunch. Probably because she watched me crawl on all fours to get there. Then again, she's a lot smarter than me.

Gullfoss- This one is easy, and is a big tourist attraction. We must have arrived early, as we had the entire place to ourselves. Then again, the wind was so strong I was nearly blown over while taking a photo. Twice. The sheer amount of water passing over this one is mind-boggling, and the sound is deafening. You cannot see the bottom either, so it appears to disappear into the earth.

Svartifoss- the name means the 'Black Fall' for obvious reasons. The crystalline shaped lava columns appear to break off with alarming regularity, judging by how many lie broken around the base of the falls. The new National Theatre in Reykjavik, which happened to be across the street from our hotel, is said to be inspired by these shapes:

But then again, it may have been inspired by bad dreams after eating too many Sheep's one is really sure.