A Few Yards from the Car
We had been hoping to 'touch' a glacier before we left Iceland. It seemed like every time we took a winding road, the road would end and the glacier appeared as far away (or as close) as it was when we left the main road. During our visit to Skógar Museum, I asked the man at the desk about the glacier on the map nearby that appeared to be close to the road. He said we could certainly drive to Sólheimajökull and we could see the edge from the parking lot and approach it. We could not resist this side trip and headed out during our visit to the museum to try to get there before the heavy winds came in.
The glacier was not the 'clean' white mass of ice I had imagined, but had a lot of volcanic ash on it creating a landscape of grays and blue. The seriousness of Mother Nature was evident when we parked and saw a rescue sled 'just in case' and as we were not wearing proper equipment for glacier travel we decided to walk to the glacier and along the side for a bit.
The ground is pretty wet and soft in some places and as we got close I had to get a few feet closer to get a good photo and that was when my left foot sunk and came back out of the earth with a sucking noise and no shoe. I stepped down with the other foot to get the shoe out and that foot sunk, too. Proper equipment is thus advised for 'around the glacier' as well as 'on the glacer'. I always have a spare pair of shoes and socks in the car so I did not mind too much, but to this day, I can not get the black ashen stain out of my pale blue sock.
Walking around the glacier was really impressive. The edges of the ice were constantly dripping and we wondered with that much dripping how the ice was even still there. We suspect that geologists and earth scientists are probably monitoring this or things like this to see how our changing earth is going. After part of Greenland broke off and floated away in the ocean we now understood how this could happen. While watching the ice drip, chunks would fall off with a splash and we could watch a rock in the ice become exposed and fall to the ground in minutes.
This was close to Skógar Museum and was a simple drive along Route 1 (the road that circles the island country) and then a left turn on to Route 221. There was not a sign saying 'glacier here', but we could see the ice from the road and knew this must be it.
We were uncertain that our car was meant for this type of road. It was muddy, rocky, and a few times I got out to move a rock in the road we were worried we would not clear. Many parts did not have a spot to turn around so we kept going. When we got to the parking lot we found many cars just like ours and figured determination outweighs common sense in most people.
This was the only glacier we found that we could drive to. It took over a week of asking until we found out about this one. There are professionally guided trips that can bring you to a glacier or on the glacier. We did not really plan on this as I did not even realize there would be glaciers in Iceland when I booked the trip. I thought Iceland was green and Greenland was ice, but I guess both have a bit of both. These photos were taken in September and there were guided hikes going out at that time, but there was not enough snow for snowmobile trips so we gathered activities are often seasonally based. We met a guide from Moutaineers of Iceland who was very interesting to talk to and knew a lot about the earth and history. We do not know anything about their trips, but I wanted to mention them here as it might be helpful to someone. They had some pretty neat all terrain vehicles unlike anything we had ever seen before. I think it gets pretty serious off the beaten path.