A Day Of Suprises
I woke up in my family's rented Airbnb apartment in downtown Reykjavik, it was early in the morning and the sky was just as bright as it was when I went to sleep. In the summer, the sky in Iceland is light for 23 hours a day. I knew it was going to be a long day, a long drive, and a long hike, as my family and I were preparing to climb a glacier in the middle of nowhere in Iceland.
When traveling to Iceland, a tourist's best friend is an iPhone app called “Waze”, which is a directions app that analysis traffic patterns, and finds the best route to your destination. Waze’s benefits in Iceland though are not really for traffic because the population is only around 300,000 people, but it is extremely helpful because reading signs is Iceland is impossible. Our drive to the glacier was about two hours, but once we left town I was personally terrified because not only was there nothing in sight, but moss fields and lava rocks, our rented Toyota car only had a half tank of gas.
Driving to the glacier was one of the most beautiful and scenic drives I've personally have ever been on. The roads were small, and the sides of the roads were filled with wild goats, and horses. We were about 45 minutes into our drive, and have not seen anything or anyone, but two cars. We were driving and saw a man in the distance going the same direction as us and was wearing jean shorts, a polo shirt two sizes small, and a backpack. Seeing this man shocked everybody in the car not only because he was biking, but the fact that we had been driving for 45 minutes, and have not seen anything.
People who have just gotten done climbing
We finally arrive at the glacier to greet our climbing group, led by a Serbian man with a hilarious accent. He distributes helmets, harness’, crampons, and ice picks to the whole group. There were 7 people in our group my sister, dad, mom myself, as well as a Chinese family from Beijing. While the Serbian guide is handing out the gear my dad has a look of confusion it turns out he did not know we would be climbing, yet he assumed we would just drive to the glacier and it would be there…little did he know we would be climbing straight up hill for a grueling two hours.
We begin to climb, and once we make it up the first hill of dirt there it is, the glacier. It is beautiful, the mix between the blue ice and the volcanic Ash that lays on top of the pointy edges of the glacier contrast to make the glacier a sight to see and one I will not forget anytime soon. We make it to the bottom of the glacier, and are stopped and told to put on our crampons. Our crampons are on and our group begins to climb, I gravitate towards the front, and got over confident very quickly. My parents are in the back very tired it was at about the same time I lift my foot a little too high, and the crampon clips my sweatpants and I fall to the ground not even halfway up the glacier.
The climb goes on and our Serbian leader stops right next to a stream of water running down the glacier he gets in push-up position, and proceeds to drink the water. Once he got up he asked “would anybody like to try”, that was when my dad volunteered my sister. She reluctantly gets down to drink the water, but once she was down she could not get up, and fell down into the stream to the laughter of the whole group. I try the water, and even though I was freezing this was the best water I've tasted in my life.
We finally reach the top of the glacier and our group notices a giant crevasse in the glacier, my dad tells me ,“it would really suck to go in there”, and right after he says that, the Serbian leader asks the group, “are you ready to go in”. We go in, and it was an incredible sight, we couldn't see anything, but ice, volcanic ash, and the sky. We safely get out, and at that point everybody in the group was definitely done climbing for the day.
People climbing in and getting out of a crevasse on the glacier
My group makes it safely down the glacier, and we see our car, but something was not right about it. The trunk of our rented car was open the whole time we were climbing up the glacier. My mom rushes to the car to surprisingly find nothing misplaced or stolen.
We get in the car to leave, and head back to Reykjavik for dinner. The drive back was extremely quiet due to everybody being so tired from our climb. Once we were about an hour into the drive we see something dark in the distance I thought it couldn't be, but once we got closer we realized it was the same man we passed biking on the way to the glacier. Seeing that man biking for that long in the middle of nowhere will be the lasting memory of my trip to Iceland.