Monday, August 8, 2016

Hiking Up to the Glymur Waterfall

I guess you could call me a thrill seeker of sorts. You'd never catch me bungee jumping, I wouldn't be caught dead skydiving, and I'm terrified of rollercoasters. In theory, these sound like awesome activities, but I prefer to get my thrills from adventurous hikes.

As Iceland is known for its majestic landscape and somewhat-rugged terrain, I knew I couldn't leave without a day hike. If I had a few more days in the country, maybe I would have opted for a longer trek, but the three-hour hike up to the Glymur Waterfall hit my schedule's sweet spot. Glymur has been long regarded as Iceland's tallest waterfall, but Hraunfossar took the gold a few years ago after a volcano erupted and created it (literally). Glymur is only about an hour's drive from Reykjavik, making it easy to fit into a tightly packed schedule.

We were a small group, but there were plenty of other hikers around. The description said that it was an easy hike, but our group came to the consensus that it was a moderate-to-hard trek--it required holding onto ropes as we climbed steep hillsides, balancing on a log across a stream, and grabbing onto rocks as we made our way upward.

In fact, there wasn't even a clearly marked path for the second half of it, so we sort of figured it out as we hiked. I may or may not have fallen on my butt at least twice, but you didn't really hike if you didn't fall, right? ;)

By the time we made it above the falls, we had hiked about 1,000 feet altitude-wise. No word on the total distance, but it was hard.

Our guide told us to stay at least one meter away from the edge of the cliffs, and not necessarily because we may fall over. The seagulls peck holes into the sides and nest there, so the cliff support is not as strong on the edges. The birds left us alone but were so cute as they flew around looking for fish in the waterfall basin!

On that note, it was such a treat to drink the stream water. I know I sound like a lunatic, but I've never had fresher, cleaner water in my life. I ended up dumping out my water bottle and refilling it from the stream!

I paid to go with a group/get driven, but you could easily drive here with a rental car and do the hike on your own. There is no admission fee to the park, and the majority of hikers are self-guided.

This was absolutely the highlight of my trip to Iceland, and it brought back my hunger for adventure. Plus, it seemed like the one thing I did that was different from my friends' Icelandic experiences! Let me know if you did any hikes in Iceland and how you liked them--after all, it's never too early to start planning another trip.

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