Day 8: Glacier Hike

First we stopped at a tourist type house and watched a video about the volcano Eyja Fjalla Jökull that erupted in April of 2010. After the video we had a presentation about biofuel and energy. In particular we learned about rapeseed oil, which they are growing in Iceland since it has double CO2 intake than it releases when consumed, and most of the plant can be used either the oil for energy or meal for food and fodder. We then got to see where they make rapeseed oil and had a chance to taste the seeds, meal, and oil. The guy who gave us the presentation then pour a bottle of rapeseed oil into the tank of our bus and drank the rest. It was really cool to see how you could just take something that is just a little different than olive and use it to power a car.

The biofuel-ed bus then took us to another waterfall. We had a moderate hike with intense stairs that we took to get to a cliff overlook, which we ate lunch at and played games together.

The last activity of the day we hiked a glacier. We all put on our warmest clothing and put on crampons (spikes for our hiking boots) and got on the glacier. It was weird walking at first with the spikes but it was super cool just being able to walk on a glacier. We got to see a bunch of cool little things about the glacier, and even got to paint our faces with the oldest volcanic ash that was on the glacier.

After a long day of two completely different types of hikes we were all exhausted, we had dinner and worked on our capstone project for the rest of the night.

-Amalia

P.S. Sorry for posting late. This post and the next couple of posts are scheduled so that they can be somewhat evenly distributed. Also I will add photos to all the posts later, but for now the wifi at the hotel is too slow to upload a lot of photos.

Day 4: Glacier Snorkeling & Cave Exploring

Today we had a late start compared to the previous days since we had gotten back so late the night before. We took the bus out to an Icelandic national park where we planned to go glacier snorkeling and explore a cave. The national park is in the city that was initially where the government of Iceland started and held meetings. The park had a large lake and was surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains. The place where we snorkeled was created by the tectonic plates separating and the water from the earth filling the fissure. In the fissure, the water is totally pure blue and absolutely clear, and because of the earth it stays at a constant 2 degrees Celsius all year round. Since it is decently cold, we received dry suits (kind of like wet suits except that they are totally water proof and you wear an extra layer underneath the suit). Putting on all the equipment (dry suit, layer underneath, gloves, head cover, gloves, flippers, and goggles/snorkel) took a super long time, but was totally worth it. Going in the water you stay completely dry besides your hands and face, which become numb fairly quickly, but once you realize how amazingly beautiful it is you don’t really care. The water was so clear and everything just looked absolutely amazing underneath. Since it was so clear you could see as in all directions as far out until there were rocks, and it was stunning. The best part about snorkeling was when I got to the end and the first things I saw when I lifted my head out of the water were the gorgeous mountains and landscape. After snorkeling we went Spelunking (cave exploring), and it was super cool. The cave that we went in was actually created by lava flow from a long time ago and is called a lava tube. I was glad that I really pushed myself to get through the puzzle of figuring out where to step to climb over rocks and not slip on the ice that was everywhere. At one point we all turned off all of our headlamps and stayed silent. It was pitch black, and all we could hear was water dripping from the ceiling of the cave. It was strange to not have sight for a couple of minutes, and the sounds became super clear and different. After going through the cave we went back to the hotel for dinner and to work on our capstone projects.

Glacier Snorkeling was one of the most amazing and life changing experiences in my entire life. It made me appreciate my life and how lucky I am to be on this trip doing all these things that I never in a million years imagined I would get to do.

-Amalia

**PS This post is a scheduled post. By the time that this posts, I will be camping and not have wifi. Everything will be posted eventually, including more photos.