Jasper Ribbers is our Everyday Adventurer for December. He travels the world full time while running his internet business from his laptop. He documents his journey on his travel blog, The Travelling Dutchman. You can follow is adventurers on social media by checking out his Facebook and Twitter pages.
My favorite hiking experience took place in Iceland. Remember when in 2010 Western Europe’s air traffic was severely disrupted by huge ash clouds? That was caused by the volcano that sits under the Eyjafjallajökull glacier (try pronouncing it!)
One of Iceland’s most popular attractions is the hike over the Fimmvörðuháls pass that passes by the volcano and the glacier. The 22 kilometer hike starts at sea level at the village of Skoga and end at the Thórsmörk Valley. Maximum altitude is around 3500 feet.
The hike features a great diversity in natural beauty that’s hard to find anywhere else on the planet. Rivers, canyons, volcanoes, glaciers, mountain valleys and several astonishing waterfalls are part of this adventure.
I was fortunate enough to be invited by some Icelandic friends to join them on this hike. We began our journey at a stunning waterfall named Skógafoss (see above). It’s one of the tallest in Iceland at over 200 feet and an attraction by itself. The first part of the hike is the most intense, as the path led us up the hill along the green fields surrounding the Skoga river.
As we got closer to the glacier, the landscape took a drastic change. Vegetation became sparse and was replaced by rocks, stones snow and ash. Fortunately the weather was great with blue skies and a pleasant temperature, allowing me to keep my jacket and hiking pants in my backpack.
At the highest point of the hike, evidence of the 2010 eruption was all around us. Between the black ash and lava rocks, hot steam was still spewing out of the cracks. It was quite the experience to stand on top of the volcano that erupted so violently just a few years back.
The last part of the hike took us down into the green and fairytale looking Thórsmörk Valley. The vast mountains and valleys reminded me of the movie Lord of the Rings. Narrow paths and mountain ridges led us into the valley. The descend was challenging at times and on several spots ropes where installed to offer the hiker something to hold onto.
The hike ended at the camping site Basar. Since there was no transportation back until the next morning, we set up our tents and all enjoyed a well deserved, cold beer. What a day!