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[Latest update: 07/01/2017]
Did you READ PART 1? 🙂
– 16th of August, Day 7 –
“The glacier is the most complete picture of our lives. It represents what we are eternal and ephemeral, permanent and mutable.”
Juremir Machado da Silva
We left Höfn hostel and were almost dragged down by the wind: today it blows at 70 km/h, faster than every driver here.
We drive again toward the glacier lagoon: we didn’t get enough last night.
Nevertheless, during daytime it is not the same. There are probably more tourists here, than inhabitants in all of Iceland. Furthermore, in front of such a large amount of people the seals remain hidden from view.
Discovering the Glacier Lagoon: the amphibious-vehicle excursion
Therefore, we book an amphibious-vehicle excursion in order to get a glimpse of them and to better explore this surreal place. I had really high expectations, but in retrospect, I would have skipped this aquatic experience. On one hand, we didn’t see more than what we could already see from the shore, but on the other hand, at least the guide was absorbing and enthusiastic. He let us see and touch thousand-year old crystals, whose transparent nature is due to the lack of air inside.
In addiction, he told us that the lake developed only about 80 years ago, and it moves forward 200-300 m every year. That really gives me the creeps.
Global warming and the resulting melting glaciers, are real phenomena, and by exploring these lands you become more aware of this phenomenon.
As soon we get out of our car, we catch a glimpse of icebergs laying on a black-sand beach: we have lost for words, again..
Unfortunately, we are in a rush: we have a glacier trekking in Falljökull and Virkisjökull waiting for us! 🙂
Glacier trekking in Iceland
These small ice caps belong to Vatnajökull National Park, whose surface occupies about 10% of Iceland and hides some active volcanoes. And yes, while most people in August are busy getting a tan, we take a walk on subglacial volcanoes that may wake up at any moment.
Venturing onto glaciers without any guide, is absolutely forbidden here, therefore we entrust a guide from Glacier wonders – Arctic adventures. We opted for the easiest path, both for saving money and time. Lead by our really noteworthy guide, and by using crampons and ice-axes we climb between 100 and 200 m high. They show us moulins, crevasses within a glacier through which water enters from the surface, and mosses with water bear living inside, a bacterium that can live everywhere, even on other planets!
Furthermore, they let us drink the glacier water: I have never tried water as clear and tasty as that one.
Even on these ice tongues, effects of global warming are evident: these small glaciers retreat at least 50 m every year. Nevertheless, our Icelandic Virgilio, doesn’t seem very worried about it: according to him, nature is much more powerful than the mankind, and it will restore equilibrium. He said that after volcanic eruptions, lapilli goes into the next atmospheric layer, where there is no wind; and by almost overshadowing the sun, temperature decreases of many degrees become commonplace.The glaciation of 1600 is his historical reference point.
After exploring this wild land, the Icelander’s theory doesn’t sound so awkward: these amazing people, in effect, have to face an alive und ungovernable nature, continual snow-storms and volcanic eruptions, which we only find out about when they influence our air traffic.
After this once in a lifetime experiences overdose, we drive again south-east towards, this time on the way to Skógar, seeking other enchanted landscapes…