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Peregrinations Mexico and Central America on Motorcycle: Open road, open heart, open mind.

Halfway through and halfway around

ICELAND | Wednesday, 4 August 2010 | Views [609]

The mountains around Landmannalaugar! Oh, I was happy here!

The mountains around Landmannalaugar! Oh, I was happy here!

As a beginning note: I can't find a lot of the punctuation on this keyboard, so please excuse errors of that sort.

So, halfway done here! I can't believe I still have 10 days here in this arctic paradise. We're skipping so much even though we're spending three whole weeks here, and then some. I will definitely need to return sometime, possibly in the winter with the northern lights and this interesting Icelandic passtime called Glacier Safaris, where they put GIGANTIC tires on their Jeeps and drive around on top of glaciers, crevasses and all.

So, since I last wrote (I think), I have visited the beautiful yet desolate area surrounding Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano that blew in April. The ash is mindblowing, especially when the wind picks up and carries it around in dust storms that block out the sky with grey dust. But aside from a few valleys and streams, most of Iceland appears untouched by the glacier. We hiked around the area (Landmannalaugar, Thörsmork and Skogar) for four days, and it was lovely despite our worst weather of the trip so far (which still isn't all that bad!)

Then we continued around the Skaftafell NP, where were were entertained by glaciers, icebergs and glorious mountain vistas. That is the site of the 1996 Jökulhlaup that the world watched, when a huge glacier dam broke, releasing 3.5 cubic KILOMETERS of water down a river, which reached a peak flow of 50,000 cubic meters per second. The video footage is astounding.

Next we continued on to the East Fjords. It's beautiful over there, and I could have spent a much longer time exploring the area. As it was, we drove far into the interior, right to the base of the Vatnajokull glacier sheet (largest glacier outside of the ice caps and Greenland), and hiked around for a few days, including an ascent of the icy Mt. Snæfell. We also paid a visit to the Karakhoum (spelling...) dam, a massive hydroelectric dam they built a couple of years ago that blocks up a glacial river, an unprecedented feat of engineering.

Now we're up north in Husavik, exploring the volcanic features of Myvatn and a few other areas. I wish I had a pocket-geologist to explain all these fascinating features to me, but at least I have a basic understandings, and a certain appreciation of the views. Check out the photos for more, including a picture of the Dettifoss waterfall, the most powerful waterfall in Europe (it's like a dirty Niagra with no guardrails).

Until next time,

Sarah

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