Iceland – Ice Caves and Auroras

(Day 3) – What.A.Day!

Part 1:
The kind of day that pops into your brain twenty years from now and brings immediate joy.
Early wake up and we are off to our Glacier Adventure. A bumpy, 30 minute off road ride north, riding inland toward Europe’s largest glacier, Vatjanokull. Maybe 2nd, depending on who counts the Severny Island ice cap in the far northeast of Russia. Anyway, we pop out of the van with harnesses, carabiners, and helmets on, and begin a 30 minute trek to the base of the glacier.

With gusts of wind reaching 60 mph, clipping into the rope was vital to our safety as we climbed up the icy face of the glacier. Let’s not forget about crampons, clip on spikes that prevent face planting. A pain to put on but can’t hike a glacier in winter without them.

When we reach our second moulin, our minds are blown. Moulins are circular, vertical shaft
where water flows into the glacier creating internal structures and rivers that flow through. The depth of the blue inside the glacier from the moulin is jaw dropping. And when our guide says we are exploring inside, we feel like we won the lottery. A glacier paradise! Blue walls, a thin path, and an ice tunnel are a few highlights of this incredible experience. I’ll let pictures do the talking…

Our wind-blown trek down was quite challenging, as gusts kept sweeping across the face of the glacier. Pro tip, crampons are dangerous to self, including catching your pants and tearing them with the spikes. It happened to K & S, causing S to wipe on the glacier. Ice hurts!
At the base of the glacier, nature’s ice cave was waiting. Ice caves are natural forming
phenomena that form in glaciers during winter, formed by water running through and under the glacier causing new caves to form every year.

We will save the sad, common knowledge of the effect humans are having on glaciers for
another conversation. Glad we were able to enjoy the phenomenon, but seeing in person and
learning about the rapid decline caused by humans is painful.
If this were our only event today, we would’ve slept well with smiles on, yet, our day was just
reaching the midpoint.

Before we took off for the day, our tour guide suggested a photo opportunity! Man, are we glad we listened!!

What.A.Day! Part 2:

Sometimes, things just worked out as planned. Sometimes. Luckily, today was one of those
days. Heading into this trip, we were realistic that seeing the elusive aurora borealis just may not happen. Stalking apps, websites, and the sun’s solar activity for weeks, led us to Saturday night, the highest KP index of our trip. Waiting for us and just as important, clear skies!
After an exhausting day of trekking, climbing, and ‘cramponing’, we decide to go all in on a
never-ending day. First stop, the famous Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon to see the icebergs floating out to sea. The lagoon is littered with blue icebergs that have broken off from the Vatjanokull glacier, heading out to sea.

After spending a few minutes trying to find A’s lost phone (never to be found), we head to the
town of Hofn for dinner. Hofn, town name meaning harbour, is an Icelandic fishing town in the southeast area of Iceland. A small community with a population of about 2,000, is located at the tip of its own peninsula. To our wild surprise, 45 minutes away from our Glacier adventure, we run into our awesome guide, Stefan at the local diner while eating dinner, living up to its small town feel!

The rest of this memorable day will speak for itself. Hours of successfully hunting the green
goblins in the sky paid off! And they were dancing for us!

Good night!

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