Choosing activities in Iceland was a bit tricky, since we did have a limited time frame, and we did want to do everything. We decided on a hike up a glacier, since there was so many of them and it's not really any day a balmy-weather East Coaster gets to do that.
I'm not athletic by any stretch of the imagination, but that's never stopped me from doing something that requires dexterity.
As we got closer to the glacier, I found myself wondering how exactly I would be able to get on that thing.
This guy. I basically would follow a lanky, bearded Icelandic hottie pretty much anywhere. Including a place called Svínafellsjökull.
The crampons and ice pick helped as well.
Skaftafell Park is enormous- part of the largest park in Iceland. It's very volcanically active and the landscape is in constant flux.
Because the glacier is constantly moving and melting away in the warmer weather, the trail has to be modified and improvised. Ropes are used to clamber down from the mountainside onto the ice.
Once you're on, there's a lot of careful picking and placing your feet. There are huge gorges and cracks to work around.
Parts of the ice has quite a bit of gravel and rocks from scraping the mountainside, and every few minutes a landslide could be heard and more rocks tumble down onto the ice.
It was a sunny day, and the tinkling of melting ice was all around, echoing through the ice below. Far from being solid, glaciers are full of swiss-cheese holes as the meltwater forms rivers through them.
There were a few spots where you had to be tied in to climb.
It was a little nerve-racking, but not quite so bad once you are up there.
The vertigo was totally worth it.
I did double up on the wool socks since your feet tend to get quite cold being on the ice, but I over-layered otherwise and was pretty toasty. Gloves would have been a swell idea as touching the ice meant you got covered in tiny cuts.
It was a challenging climb, but I managed to keep my neck unbroken. Check out Glacier Guides- they leave from the visitor center in the park, and they were fantastically competent.