Today, Brownie remains at camp to catch-up on our life laundry and enjoy the sunshine. I on the other-hand will be strapping crampons to my hiking boots and hike on a glacier for the first time with Troll Expeditions.
It’s a pertinent time to hike on part of Europe’s largest glacier with the devastation that the current heatwave is wrecking across Europe. Sadly, like all glaciers in the world, the Vatnajökull glacier continues to melt and will eventually lose half of its current ice by the year 2100 (which currently covers 9% of Iceland). It’s estimated that by 2200, most of the glacier ice in Iceland will be forever lost.
Our guide Vicky is excellent and after a 20 minute walk to the start of the glacier she demonstrates how to fix our crampons to our hiking boots and sets us on our way. We walk in single-file up and across the glacier whilst marvelling at the incredible spectacle before us and also marvel at just how effortless it is to hike across the ice in crampons. We hike on the ice for approximately an hour, ice axe in hand (purely for the photos we’re told) enjoying the gorgeous blue sky day and feeling quite small and insignificant on the enormous block of ice.
Everyday throughout this trip we learn something new and today’s learning is how glaciers form. They form when huge amounts of snow collect on mountains over many many years and not enough of it melts. Over time as more snow builds up the snow becomes heavier and starts to compress on its own weight, creating glacier ice. It takes approximately 50 metres of snow to compress into 1 metre of ice.
I return to the campsite exhausted but euphoric. The glacier hike was absolutely incredible and I’d jump at the chance to do it again. Quite frankly it was bloody brilliant. Camp dinner tonight was a delicious macaroni cheese with bacon washed down with a cold viking beer. I sleep like an absolute log.
Love, love, love your blog, Midge, and your photos are fabulous! I am feeling very nostalgic.
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Thanks Suzy. It’s was such a pleasure to meet and travel Iceland with you. A tough but wonderful adventure!!