Last week I posted some sunny pictures from Iceland. These are not the pictures I like to take of the dramatic weather that happens there but when the sun shines, it’s a delight and so I decided to share some of my sunny day pictures for a change. These pictures were taken of the Vatnajökull Glacier as it spills down from the massive volcano summit at two of many locations, the much photographed Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the not so often visited Hoffellsjökull. I say not so often visited, I mean by tourists. There are hot spring pools here that are very popular with local people.
The day we visited there were a plethora of huge oversize wheeled pick-up trucks, the bigger the wheels the better apparently, as is the way with some Icelandic men and I have to say, probably unfairly, a certain piece of banjo music came into my mind. I’m sure in reality, they’d have been very welcoming (no not welcoming in the “Deliverance” sense) if I’d stripped off to my shorts in the sub-zero temperatures and joined them in the wooden tubs fed by the hot springs but I had photographs that needed taking. Maybe next time.
For those of you not of a certain age, I apologise for the movie reference made in this post but can recommend the film Deliverance, made in 1972 with Burt Reynolds, John Voight and Ned Beatty. A very scary movie with a brilliant bit of banjo playing at the beginning. Look up Duelling Banjos on YouTube if you’re not familiar. The film follows three guys who decide to take a canoe trip into back woods USA with terrifying results.
..And now I feel old. I’ve just realised that when I was a youngster they’d only just mastered sound on films 4o odd years old and certainly hadn’t cracked the colour equation yet.
But I digress, here are some pictures of these two beautiful locations. Glaciers can look downright grey and dirty and not at all attractive in the summer months but in winter, they are stunning.. :-)
This is a photograph taken at Jokulsarlon, Iceland’s famous glacial lagoon. There are others but this is the one that most people visit. Here huge chunks of ice break free from the Vatnajökull glacier and float in the lagoon somtimes for many years before they are finally washed out to sea..
I’ve posted before about Jökulsárlón. Jökulsárlón is a glacial lake fed by the same glacier, Vatnajökull, that I spoke about in my last post. Huge icebergs that calve from the glacier edge, float in this lake, some for many years until finally, currents send them on their way to the sea. You can see my first post from the lake here. It was also at Jökulsárlón that I saw the seals lazing on the ice and I posted those photographs here.
Visiting for the second time, I found my way onto the beach where some of these icebergs, having made it to the sea, are then washed up onto the black volcanic sand. Huge diamond like chunks of ice litter the beach for hundreds of yards. I happily spent a couple of hours, watching the action of the waves on these huge blocks of ice. These are the photographs I took whilst contemplating this beautiful spectacle.
Leaving the lake behind we soon hit the blizzard that was looming on the horizon in the photographs above. Looking for petrol, we came upon a frozen waterfall, Systrafoss, (sister falls) cascading down smooth rock at Kirkjubæjarklaustur. With the snow falling so heavily, we clearly weren’t seeing it at its best and is definitely on the list of places to visit next time..
Whilst we were in Höfn, we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with Vatnajökull at Skafafell. Vatnajökull is the glacier that sits atop the volcano that erupted recently at Bárðarbunga. It was fascinating to see the shapes in the ice, freshly dusted with an icing sugar like powdering of snow. Glaciers can appear very grey and dirty looking in the summer but in winter, they look their best.
Heading out to the glacier there was a track of sorts but this quickly diminished and we were left with the task of finding our way across a gravelly delta of meltwater, streams and ditches. I’m grateful to Poppy of poppytump.wordpress.com for the pictures of Chillbrook tackling the first of many of what turned out to be a very deep ditches.
As we made our way across the delta, out of the blue, we came upon a group of jacked up pick-up trucks with outsize tyres parked around what appeared to be a large hot tub, clearly fed from hot springs below. It seemed so incongruous, in the middle of nowhere with temperatures way below zero and a gale blowing, to come upon half-naked people running around, apparently oblivious to the biting cold, getting in and out of a large wooden tub. We didn’t feel compelled to gate crash this Sunday afternoon hot tub party although it was clear that everyone was having a great time.
With one last push up a very steep incline we made it to a car park of sorts with a fabulous view of the glacier. The lake, which in summer would no doubt offer superb reflections of the mountains surrounding the glacier, was frozen of course in the depths of winter. These are the photographs I took that afternoon..