Monday, April 29, 2013

Iceland part 5-6

Today we thought we would do something really laid back and easy...so we went on a glacier walk and climbed an ice wall. We drove out to the same glacier we had visited on our south shore tour, but this time we were going to walk on it!!! first we had to get the necessary safety equipment.


The helmets were more for the ice climbing portion of this trip, but I was cool with wearing it out on a giant block of ice as well.

Crampons were attacked to our boots. They were giant spikes that were supposed to help us grip the ice. They also gave us each an ice pick.
once we ensured that Josh's crotch was safely packed in the harness, we headed toward the ice!!


The glacier is giant, moving ice cube that is also covered in volcanic ash...cause the volcanoes really, really like to erupt in Iceland. A few years ago, in 2010, the near by Eyjafjallaj√∂kull spewed ash all up on this glacier. The glacier used to look...well, like ice...but after the eruption it looked gray and dusty thanks to a new layer of ash. (fun fact...I CAN pronounce Eyjafjallaj√∂kull)


Ash and Ice

Ice and Ash

This is one of our fabulous guides. He is a manly-man who enjoys glacier hiking and other ridiculous pursuits.


We were told how to walk with the crampons down the slick ice. You basically slam your feet into the ice as hard as you can to get the blades to hook the ice.  So instead of glacier hiking, we actually went glacier stomping.



Also of importance...don't step anywhere that the guide didn't step. This is a living glacier that is always changing. Snow can easily cover up a crevasse and if you step in that....well, you can easily become a tourist death statistic. 


Stomp stomp stomp....

Oh yeah...did I mention we are walking on a glacier!!!?




Who gave this moron an ice pick?


About half way through our hike we were getting HOT!!! Glacier hiking is serious business. We stopped for a refreshment.



This is 400-500 year old glacier ice. :)

 Don't fall in!

Oh sure...we are doing a number of stupid things today....lets crawl through the ice cave....cause having hundreds of pounds of ice suspended over your head sounds like a solid decision. 
 Said hundreds of pounds of ice...

And now for something completely stupid.


Our guides got busy hooking up ropes with spikes into this neat ice wall.  It was about 20 feet high? Maybe? I'm not good with distances and heights. We then  attached a very thin looking rope to our harnesses. And up we went.

The trick is to use your pointy, spike toe to create a foothold in the ice...cause ice walls don't come with premade holes.... which is lame. Then you use your ice pick to make more holes...and then pull yourself up.

 Go josh go

We were supposed to get to the top...touch the top and then rappel down.

You will notice that there is no photographic evidence of me climbing a scary-ass ice wall. Rest assured, I did climb it...most of it...but Josh was too worried I would fall or do something stupid like ice pick my forehead to think about taking pictures...

Actually, I did very nearly "ice pick" my forehead...so Josh's fears were not unfounded! My arms were so exhausted that I couldn't aim my pick straight and it kept sliding off the ice. I pulled my hand back to wind up for another smack at the ice...and smacked myself. Now this is a serious ice pick, and only the flat side hit my helmet...but I knew when to call it a day. I am much too pretty to put an ice pick through my head. I also managed to kick my leg with my new spikey shoes and put a hole through my new ski pants instead of the ice I was aiming for. Clearly, I should not be given pointy objects....but I made it a foot from the top!

We drove back to Reykjavik super tired. Josh ranks today as his favorite day!!

Here's a random story about our hotel room that Josh would want me to include. We had these super adorable deer coat hangers. Well, one this day one of the deer heads was a little loose. Josh remarked that he thought the coat hanger should have opened a door into another world when it turned.

 

I said, "it did....into Narnia...see ya!!!" and jumped into the wardrobe right next to the coat hangers.


Maybe it was because we were so tired...but we laughed til we cried.

On our last day in Iceland, we got up and checked out of our hotel and headed to the blue lagoon spa :)

not my picture...but this is what the lagoon looks like

totally not my picture.

The  water in the blue lagoon is actually hot runoff water from a nearby geothermal power plant. I guess one day, some entrepreneurial minded Icelanders thought they should do something with the runoff water from that power plant...so they turned it into a spa!!! (because who wouldn't want to bathe in power plant runoff?)
The water is actually milky blue because it's full of silica and minerals.


Sadly there are no pictures of us with Silica face masks in the warm waters at the blue lagoon. This is because of a number of reasons, but mainly because it's cold!!! you have to make a mad dash from the changing rooms into the warm water...it was 30 degrees outside...once I got in, I was not going to get out to go get my camera!!! We hung out in the warm water for a few hours and then took showers and headed to the airport!

Iceland was crazy beautiful and and trip was full of unique experiences...but for some strange reason, I was really happy to be going home...here's a hint as to why

Dougal had spent a week at "camp". He got to go to daycare twice a day and play with other dogs. He had a blast and probably didn't miss us at all. I missed him so much I cried.








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