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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Homer and Linda's excellent Icelandic Adventure Continues - Sept. 6, 2016

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016 - Today was a great day. We got in late last night into the Hotel Laxa in the Lake Myvatn area. I was kind of tired and as soon as my head hit the pillow was out.

Homer and Linda and Albert in Iceland

Linda and I were trip leaders for the day so before my head hit that pillow, we planned out the day. She did a great job and I tried to help but my mind was on the pillow, I will confess. Still, I added in my two cents worth by calculating kilometers into miles, something I got pretty good at while in the Army, especially in Vietnam. I only brought artillery in on myself once but I didn't get a medal for it as it was supposed to go about two clicks further out. Math while getting shot at proved to be less than my strong suit. Anyway, I can do it all in my head now, thank you very much.

We rose to a rainy day which made me think maybe it was going to be kind of a forlorn and dreary time but when our entire group of twelve gathered for breakfast and I got some coffee in me, I perked up. A little Ibuprofen for this pesky hip impingement or whatever it is and I was ready to go. Here's a photo of the map for the day's events.

Myvatn Area, northern Iceland


Our first stop was the Dimmbororgir Lava Fields, a natural stone labyrinth formed by bizarre, almost grotesque contorted volcanic rock.



Homer and Albert begin their hike through the lava fields.

The sun came out as we hiked along the paths cut through these rock formations. Local legend tells of some hikers who went into this area and never came out again, perhaps because of confrontations with gnomes or trolls. The TV series Game of Thrones is partially filmed in this area and it's easy to see why.

Homer hikes through the lava fields of Dimmbororgir

Our next stop was Hverfjaw Crater. This enormous crater was caused by a subterranean explosion some 2500 years ago. To get up to its rim requires an arduous climb which Linda and I made with care. We're both a little damaged this time out, her back and my hip, but we are game and up we go with nary a complaint. They make 'em tough in West Virginia and Alabama, I swan. I carried Albert up, too. I do this as a salute to that special alligator my mom and dad carried from West Virginia to Florida in 1935. Have you read that story - Carrying Albert Home - yet? I hope you'll give it a try. It is a lighthearted but at the same time serious tale of that most mysterious of human emotions which we inadequately call LOVE. Go here to order it: http://homerhickam.com/project/carrying-albert-home/


Linda and Homer (also Albert) at the Hverfjaw Crater.

Albert has a look at the Hverfjaw Crater and pronounced
it "cool!" Or maybe he said "cold." I'm not sure.


Our next run was a 30 km drive north to the Dettifoss Waterfall. How do we remember these names? Well, easy. We just make up the names so we can remember them. For instance, Dettifoss become Dental Floss. So after finding a place to park, we hiked to the Dental Floss waterfall, the most powerful waterfall in Europe! It's a pretty amazing waterfall, even for Iceland which is the land of waterfalls. In fact, as we drove up here yesterday, we passed at least a dozen waterfalls which in any other country or a state in the USA would be a major tourist attraction. But in Iceland with hundreds upon hundreds of waterfalls of every size and description, there might be a sign or there might not. We saw some farms along the way that had waterfalls near the farmhouse that had to drop 300 feet into a huge, deep pond. Can you imagine your entire life hearing the roar of a waterfall like that just outside your bedroom window? I would imagine some Icelandic farmers lose their hearing early on or kind of go bonkers. 

Here's a short video of Linda at the Dental Floss Falls. There was a drop in temps and a cold wind but it didn't dampen HER spirits, thank you very much. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C-NWcD1euU

Linda at the Dental Floss Waterfall, northern Iceland
Albert at the Dental Floss Waterfall

After enjoying the waterfall, we headed over to Krafla, an area where Iceland is using the enormous geothermal energy created by this land of fire and ice to produce huge amounts of cheap power. This power plant is astonishing in its size and complexity. We stopped long enough to marvel at it and take a few photos.

Krafla Geothermal Power Plant


It was a full day. We finished it by visiting a geothermal-warmed pool to soak out our creaky old bones, then had dinner at the hotel and called it a day except for this blog.

We are tired but happy that our trip is going so well. Thank you for going along with us.

Homer Hickam - Author, Rocket BoysThe Coalwood WaySky of StoneWe Are Not AfraidCarrying Albert Home, the Josh Thurlow series, and many other fine books.

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