08 21 2015.

hiking report: glymur

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On our fifth day in Iceland, we decided to venture out on a smaller hike. We’d done some research with the help of the Lonely Planet guide as well as the use of our laptops and found Glymur to be both close and interesting.

Less than an hour’s drive away, the Glymur hike boasts the second highest waterfall of the same name. Can you see a theme starting here? The hike’s is located in a small fjord named Hvalfjörður – often bypassed because of a nearby tunnel that allows drivers to travel underwater!

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We parked at the head of the trail in the morning and set out – expecting a nice short hike. The trail started out pretty gradual, very easy, and we made ground quickly.

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There were some exciting areas as we made our way to the final point (the waterfall) – such as tunnels and river crossings! We weren’t completely aware of it yet, but this wouldn’t be the only river crossing of the day.

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Then the real hike began. It was such a strange hike weather-wise. Because we were in a fjord, we had been protected from the wind while we were closer to sea level but as we began to gain elevation, the wind whipped and my hands got pretty cold!

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The view was absolutely gorgeous though. Not that we were expecting any less. There just isn’t a lot written about this hike!

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For the second half of the ascent, the trail is really close to the ledge. I’m not afraid of heights, so that wasn’t a problem for me, but tension was definitely high for a few in our group.

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There were some tricky areas on this hike too. Since Iceland has very little trees/roots, the ground doesn’t hold together as well as it does in areas of the White Mountains. There’s a lot of loose gravel and balance becomes a very important skill to have.

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When we reached the top, we decided as a group that we didn’t want to go back down the same trail. From reading about the hike online, we knew that there was an optional trail down that involved crossing the river that feeds Glymur. Not a small task.

We summited at the same time as a few other hikers who had the same idea. One of the hikers decided to jump across a 7-8ft gap – as a short person who hasn’t practiced my long jump skills in over 10 years, that made me nervous.

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Photo by Darren.

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Photo by Darren.

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Photo by Darren.

We opted to do what the other two hikers did – which was cross a little bit upstream. This involved taking our boots off and wading across. This wouldn’t have been a problem – and wasn’t, for the most part – had I not been carrying two (expensive!) cameras in my backpack as well as a rental lens! There wasn’t anything particularly hard about wading across – there were some slippery rocks – but I wanted to be as careful as I possibly could with both my camera and Jess’ camera.

As we made it to the other side, the two hikers who had crossed before us were waiting! They handed us their sweatshirts to dry our feet. That was such a kind gesture from strangers! Turns out there were from Italy! (Thank you to our new Italian friends!)

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Going down was another problem. We lost the trail! Because there are hardly any trees in Iceland, it’s sometimes hard to see what is trail and what isn’t. Also…they tend to use cairns as decoration rather than trailmarking. So we followed stacks of rocks for about an hour before realizing that…we were just following stacks of rocks.

We backtracked and finally found ourselves back on the trail. After ascending for a little bit, we found ourselves on a sheep’s path through some trees!

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It was beautiful and unlike any other bit of hiking we had done while in Iceland! So it was truly an adventure. We crossed a river with bare toes and got lost and ended up spending 2-3 more hours out there than we had intended! But what’s a hike without some kind of adventure?


1 Comment

  1. Kathryn

    Gorgeous photos! Love that you were off the beaten path in such a magical place. Glad you, and the cameras made it home safe!

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