Eyjafjallajokul Volcano and the Waterfall Trail

The most exciting trip to date was the on the weekend after. Our plan was to hike between the ridge that connects the volcano Eyjafjallajokull (The 2010 Eruption) with the icecap Myrdalsjokull. Kirsten, Noah, Leslie and I rented an old Nissan and drove south along the ring road to a small town named Skogar. Skogar is a tiny town known for being at the foot of the famous waterfall Skogafoss. We followed a staircase to the top of the falls and then proceeded hiking up north towards the interior. The hike led us up the Skoga River alongside countless waterfalls. The scenery transitioned from sheep filled green grasslands to a black sand moonscape. The higher we hiked, the colder and more lifeless it became. We made camp in the shelter of a small hill next to an outlet channel of a glacier. Unbeknownst to us until the next morning was the fact that the black sand we were sleeping on was covering part of the glacier. The reason we were so cold that night was because we were sleeping directly on ice. After making a dinner we huddled around the small camp stove using it to warm out hands. We managed to endure the cold long enough to get a show of the northern lights.

The next morning we packed up and set out again. We continued towards the ridge reaching a bright red peak that had formed from the initial fissure eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in 2010. We climbed to the top and found a small thermal vent that was still venting heat from the Eruption. Instead of using the camping stove to heat our lunch we found a flat rock and cooked our hot dogs with the heat of the Earth. With lunch finished we curved around the mountain and descended across a lava field, which was extremely dicult to cross. Every edge was very sharp and loose. At the edge of the lava field laid a tongue of an outlet glacier from Myrdalsjokull. We eagerly approached it, but Noah who was in front begun to sink in a deep mud bog. The regolith near the edge of the glacier was completely saturated with water and proved a real challenge to cross. Once onto the glacier we were able to see numerous moulans, which are ice caves that bring water from the surface of the glacier to the glacier bed. Seeing glacial hydrology in action after learning about it in Montana was really satisfying. On the way down we saw the farmers rounding up sheep for the winter. This tradition is called Retir. Our two-day hike was about 24 miles. It was tiring, but completely worth the effort. When we got back to Reykjavik we decided to treat ourselves and got delicious blue cheese burgers in a dark rundown bar.

skogar1 skogar2-Raphael

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