Monday, May 14, 2018

Iceland Day 0-1:Getting there is not half the fun but being there is.

Iceland - day 0-1 getting there and hike #1

Iceland has been on our list of places to visit for a few years now. What drew us is the wildness and beautiful landscapes, and (for me) geologic wonderland.

We have a lot on our plates this year, but Drew had a week of vacation in May so after my niece said there were $150 one-way tickets to Reykjavik, we started looking.  In the end, we decided to fly Delta airlines, rent a camper van, and spend 12 days touring around.

The extra long travel

The biggest reason we chose Delta over Wow airlines is that we could book SLC to KEF with just a 2.5 hour stop at JFK.  Turns out the extra expense was for nothing.

An 8 hour delay due to weather (but not really because Drew thinks the pilots just ran out of duty day after a short weather delay so we had to wait for new pilots to be legal to fly) at JFK had us departing at 5 am.  That means instead of landing and picking up our camper van at 8 am to be off and running, we lost most of the day. It was 6 pm before we rolled out of Reykjavik toward our first spot camp spot.

Thingvellir National Park

After scoping out the campground (nice, beautiful setting, good bathrooms, may be a bit muddy) we rolled to the place called Thingvellir, where democracy was founded in Iceland by the Vikings. (I’m really not that much of a history buff so this could be completely wrong. Stick with me for the geology though.)

This is the “Law Rock” where laws were spoken to the wall so that they would be echoed back to the people and the land.

 We did a little hike just to get the bodies moving after hours and hours of airports and planes and cars.  

The best part was the crazy drainage pattern. This huge waterfall just drops off a flat plane and makes a 90 degree turn down a valley behind a ridge.  

 Giant river pours over edge of flat plane and makes a 90 degree turn down a rift valley. You don’t see that in Utah!

What causes this, asks the curious geo-traveler? Young landscapes (not enough time to erode a valley) and fault controlled topography (the ridge that blocks the river’s course to make it turn 90 degrees is part of the rift valley between two tectonic plates.  (More on that tomorrow.)

So by the end of our little hike, we were beyond tired and retired to our camper van.

We’ve made it to Iceland and there are more adventures to come.