Reykjavik, day 4

Wednesday 4/1:

While most of the group went to the Blue Lagoon hot springs, I went shopping at a tiny “supermarket.”  It had broccoli and some other vegetables, fresh meats, dairy products, some personal care items, and of course Coca Cola–all in a room the size of my living room.  I brought two apples home, washed clothes and took a nap.

In the afternoon we went on two hikes (except for Patty, who went horseback riding).  The first hike was a steady climb to a viewpoint on a ridge top by the sea.  When Shelley stepped out of the van, she immediately fell on the parking-lot ice.  “Careful!” Lance said, too late.  “Is the camera okay?” Mark asked.  Shelley said she’d held her camera up and taken the fall for it.

The trail was black pumice and gravel, partly covered by snow and glassy ice.  Powerful gusts of wind pushed me back and made my face ache with cold.  I added an ear-band and and put up my hood.  The peaks overhead were shrouded in a cloud of their own windblown snow.  I got as far as a steep mountainside above a stream; here the wind brought tears to my eyes despite all my layers, hats and hood.  I decided the view from here was good enough (and it was really magnificent), and turned back.  Helen caught up with me about twenty minutes later; then the rest showed up.  Nobody had made it to the top, tho Lance and Mark had gotten the furthest–a snowfield high up on the ridge.

hiking view

After a beautiful drive along the coast (the beach sand was black), we tried the second trail; it led up the edge of a canyon to Gylmur, Iceland’s highest waterfall.  We set off on a snow-covered path across hummocky, boulder-strewn fields that sloped up to a peak to our left.  Now and then we pushed thru stands of leafless bushes, scrambled into gullies and forded meltwater streams.  Water trickled and burbled down the mountainside; yet it was still cold.  The wind was less blustery but still evil.

Mark and Shelley.

Mark and Shelley.

The way reached the canyon’s edge and turned to follow it at a big boulder that seemed to have been placed there as a marker.  And suddenly we were there.  The waterfall hung in glittering curtains on the canyon’s far wall, much of it frozen.  The trail led onward; but we were unanimous that this was good enough.

The drive back to town was stunning, the setting sun reflecting on the sea, whitecaps seething on it, stone-dappled snowfields stretching down to it, and a mountain range across it cloaked in snow-mist.

While Mark, Shelley and Helen went looking for a restaurant, Lance, Patty and I ordered a pizza from Domino’s.  I walked to the grocery to get a Coke for Patty, and beer for Lance and me.  They only had one kind; Pilsner, 2.75%.  The pizza was good.

While unpacking, I discovered that both lenses had popped out of my steel-framed sunglasses.  Obviously it had been a mistake to put them in a soft case in my suitcase and force it closed.  When I mentioned the problem to Lance, he said “Let me take a look at them.”  He took them up to his room to work on, and returned them fixed the next morning.

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