Ice + Water
The highest point on Iceland on the southern edge of the vast Vatnajokull icecap near Skaftafell is only just over 2,000 metres. At the end of June the peaks are still covered with snow and Karl led us to the top of Snaekollur (1400+m), the highest point of the Kerlingarfjoll range, across icy snowfields. Whilst we all wore walking boots he had open-toed sandals without socks. His suggestion for a speedy descent was much appreciated! Glaciers descend from the icecaps to sea level. The foot of a glacier is a mixture of mud, stones and ice and, where they 'calve' into lakes such as Jokulsarlon, vast icebergs break off. There are some active volcanoes under icecaps. When they erupt huge reservoirs of water form beneath the ice before being released in a cataclysmic breach which will sweep all before it sometimes creating almost overnight a broad canyon. There are many spectacular waterfalls, deep blue if flowing from hills where there is no snow but muddy if they contain meltwater. In places the mix of water, snow and volcanic activity is fascinating, nowhere more so than where geysirs erupt in regular or irregular fashion to the delight of watching tourists who must ensure they are 'up-wind' from the boiling water. The erupting waters leave clear mineral remains around the pools and in streams flowing from them. To see the photos click here.