Kaldalon glacier lagoon, Westfjords, Iceland.
“No, this one is too wide, let’s find another spot to cross!” I said to Koen while standing before one of the hundreds of little streams that this plain seemed to house. “Just run and jump, I’ll catch you!” He answered. I jumped and even my heels completely made it over the water. We walked further along the swampy path until we had some solid rock under our feet again. All around us, the meltwater had created a rich ecosystem and covered the non-rocky parts of the glacier lagoon with a colourful splendour. We were more or less halfway now, between the innermost point of the road into the lagoon and the foot of the glacier.
Behind us we could look all the way up to the sea, while the whiteness of Drangajökull glacier stretched out ahead of us. White clouds rolled over the top of the glacier, making the line between ice and damp almost invisible. Everywhere around us, wet surfaces mirrored the magic of the day. If you believed in it, you could walk straight into it and wake up on the other side of the reflection.
I glared around me to all of these wonders, while Koen was looking for the next cairn, which marked the way to the glacier. In the old days, the people of Iceland would cross the glacier to travel between the scattered villages of the land. Like many other old routes, the cairns keep their memories safe. “The next one is over there!” Koen eventually shouted. “And I can already see the ones after that!” He added. One of the challenges of this hike was to keep on the right track in this rocky environment.
After we crawled up and down another moraine, we could see the path going all the way up. The last climb to the foot of the glacier. Halfway up, an already proper meltwater stream made its presence clear. We hopped over on some strategically placed rocks and continued the path.
There it was, not even 15 minutes later, Drangajökull glacier. The rocky slope abruptly stopped at the ice. We sat down on the rocks to let the landscape sink in. As we were all alone, the only sounds to be heared were those from the glacier itself. Gentle cracking sounds added to the music of meltwater falling down from under the ice.
30 minutes later, we finally had the heart to leave it all behind and return down to the world.
END NOTE If you want to treat yourself with this amazing hike than take a turn of route 61 between Hólmavík and Reykjanes onto route 635 (This is a gravel road!) Drive north until you reach the outer end of Kaldalon glacier lagoon. You can’t miss it. Then drive inwards into the lagoon all the way to the most inner end that the road goes. There you will find a tiny parking lot.
Be aware that some of the path is very marshy, so be cautious.
Another tip: On route 635, you will find a little café/museum/library. The perfect spot for fueling up before and/or after your hike!
This adventure gave me inspiration for another story! Read it here!