So here we go, I found myself about to tackle a steep rocky downhill trail to the foot of the Solheim glacier in South Iceland.
Walking and balancing on ice is not something my feet are familiar with, but the adrenaline of excitement inside me wants to do it. To discover what it feels to be on top of the of mountain of ice.
Iceland — The country that will take you one step closer to seeing the earth’s natural beauty in its rugged form. My husband and I was privileged to visit Iceland and witnessed its magnificent and jaw-dropping natural landscape.
On our last day in Iceland, we drove the 3-hour scenic route on the Southern part of Iceland to do the day hike of the Solheim glacier (Sólheimajökull – is a glacier tongue of the Myrdalsjökull ice cap) with the Guide to Iceland team. We also did the Golden Circle tour in Iceland with the help of their team the day before. You can also book the Snorkeling experience in Silfra thru Tinggly.com.
We started our journey in Reykjavik, the capital and most populated place in Iceland. On our way to our meeting place, we drove past two stunning waterfalls, the Seljalandafoss and Skógafoss.
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I thought at first this will be a great challenge for me to conquer a glacier, however this experience was an eye-opener on something more important. Not just for me, but to everyone. This glacier day hike experience taught us to be more aware of the topic that is controversial nowadays – Global warming.
At the meeting place, we were welcomed by our guide from the Guide to Iceland for our crampons fitting, safety briefing about the activity and our route. And we were good to go! From the meeting point we did a 30-minute walk around to the side of the glacier to access it. There used to be direct access to the glacier from the meeting point, but due to the melt down of the glacier there is now a massive lake between the meeting point and the Solheim glacier.
The beautiful volcanic landscape of our route was just unbelievable. It seems like walking on a strange terrain that is not known to our planet. The black volcanic soil with its massive boulders of rocks covered with green moss was just surreal. Over the horizon, we could see the Atlantic Ocean kissing the black shores of southern Iceland. It was a perfect landscape and that was just the easy part.
When we reached the end of the route, there it was, the Solheim Glacier.
It’s time to gear up with our crampons and another safety briefing with our guide before our decent to the glacier. It was a nerve wracking experience to go down the steep trail to reach the Solheim Glacier. It was wet, cold, slippery and uneven route to the foot of Solheim Glacier. According to our guide, the Solheim glacier is the easiest glacier to hike in Iceland.
On our ascent to the glacier, we saw hundreds of cryoconite holes (the cylindrical holes filled with water on the glacial ice surface.) These holes are filled overtime with black soot and other dust particles (volcanic and man-made sources) that collects and increases the absorption of heat from the sun and become one of the catalyst of the glacial melt.
The loud rushing of the glacial water in to the moulin can give you an impression of how deep it is from the surface of the glacier to the bottom. From where we stood, you could not even see the bottom of the moulin. Given the slippery and wet icy surface, you need to be very careful. The unique glacial landscape is something I feelt privileged to witness and experience. The landscape will never be the same again due to the glacier melting down and consistently changing as it recedes and thins. And eventually, melt into the lake.
The guide discussed information and facts about the Solheim glacier and the effects of global warming. In a matter of 3 years, the glacier is receding and consistently melting, hence there is now a lake between the glacier and the meeting point where we started our trek. The massive rate of the melting of the Solheim glacier is alarming.
So is the global warming real?
There are different arguments about how real global warming is. Some say that the global warming topic is just a hoax and a propaganda of the few people who have a different outlook on this topic. For some, this is just another conspiracy.
This might sound a little geeky, but the increase of carbon dioxide and the temperature of the planet contributes a lot; hence we can now feel the effects of the global warming on a bigger scale. Our climate changes dramatically with vengeance. With stronger typhoons and hurricanes that we have had to deal with this past few years, and probably more to come soon (I hope not!).
Glaciers are the actual and constant reminder to us that global warming and climate change is real. The big thaw is happening in both polar regions of the earth.
You don’t have to be a scientist or environmentalist to do something good for our blue planet that we call home. Any small steps will go a long way. Recycling. Reduce the carbon emission. Plant more trees and the list goes on.
Our trek in Solheim Glacier moved me to advocate more to help protect our environment. If we don’t act now, there will be no more Solheim Glacier in the next 10 years and worst of all, most of the glaciers will have melted away.
As the golden rule of traveling, take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.
About the Writer
Ryazan Tristram is named after a Russian city near Moscow. The Miss Zan-shine of Everything Zany – A Photography, Lifestyle and Dual Citizen Travel Blog. She likes to travel, history, meet people & try exotic foods! Planning to explore more countries with her D.I.Y trips as a Dual Citizen (British – Filipina). Follow her travels on Facebook and Instagram.
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