Iceland 2016: Composure Restored and a Glove is Lost

5 07 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Today, as days tend to do, dawns brighter than the day before. The mountains are ever so much more awe-inspiring when the sun is out.5-28-16


5-28-16 hut print

Yet the wind is still gusty and we have a 10:00 sea kayaking excursion looming.  Our itinerary calls it “an unforgettable adventure.”  Enough already.  We make it to Heydalur, silently hoping that the trip will be called off.  And it is.  Too windy.

But they have horses.  So we book a trail ride instead, and while waiting for the horses to be brought in from the pasture, we play with the friendly dogs.

5-28-16 Heydalur (4)

One dog, who looks like a mix between a border collie and a fox, has boundless energy, fetching sticks and collecting them in his mouth until we are sure he can hold no more.  Then we see him in action, herding in the horses as they come in from the field.  It’s his job, and it is evident that he loves it!

5-28-16 Heydalur (12)

5-28-16 Heydalur (16)

Our trail ride is safe, predictable, forgettable.  Just what we need.

5-28-16 Heydalur (1)

Brian stays behind and cleans mud from our tires.  Just what he needs.

5-28-16 Heydalur (31)

Icelandic horses are gentle, well-trained, and responsive.  They have a unique gait called a tölt, a fast but smooth walk.  Our guide lets us experience the tölt , and occasionally we break into an unauthorized canter, but for the most part we walk.  We pose for a picture, then head back.

5-28-16 Heydalur (29)


Back on the road, we stop at a pull-off beside what must be a protected bird nesting area.  We eat a lunch, snap some pictures, and move on.5-28-16 Heydalur (39)5-28-16 goose nesting area5-28-16 goose nesting area (5)



Soon we spy another waterfall, so we stop and head up the path.  Beauty beyond words.  We snap hundreds of photos hoping to catch this essence of this place, following the river upstream a ways.5-28-16 waterfall hike (4)5-28-16 waterfall hike (1)5-28-16 waterfall hike (48)




5-28-16 waterfall hike (19)

Awkward father-daughter shot

Annalise pulls Brian from his car disaster funk with her spunky brand of fun.  He relaxes and finally shakes off yesterday’s cloud.

We all feel an upswing in our spirits as the clouds lift and the sun sends sparkles to the hills.5-28-16 waterfall hike (9)

We stop at another waterfall.  How much more beauty can we take before we become satiated?  Yet each place holds its own brand of awe, and we hungrily take it all in and then go for more.5-28-16 waterfall (2)

5-28-16 waterfall #2  (1)

5-28-16 rock closeup (2)

I’m lichen this volcano-shaped rock.


On the final stretch toward our hotel, the paved road gives way to gravel, and we look warily at each other as we bump around between the pot-holes.  Where is this taking us?  Surely there is no civilization down this way.  But our GPS insists we are on track, and then there it is, a long plain building with the right name out front: Hótel Laugarhóll.  In front, a field of cuteness in the form of lambkins.  Behind, the side of a mountain with the allure of hikes.  And to the side, an historic witch’s turf house.  And a heated pool and natural hot springs.  We have arrived.5-28-16  Hótel Laugarhóll

Nancy and I head out to get our allotted share of sheep photos.

5-28-16 (10)


We explore the Sorcerer’s Cottage, wondering at lives lived so long ago in this unforgiving clime.5-28-16 Hótel Laugarhóll (6)

5-28-16 Hótel Laugarhóll (3)

Shortness is a virtue.

5-28-16 Hótel Laugarhóll

Who knew?


5-28-16 Hótel Laugarhóll (9)

She who washes in the Pool of Gudmundur the Good will be able to see the spirits around…not.


Then Annalise and I take in the hot springs, awkwardly glad that we are alone in the pool.

5-28-16 Hótel Laugarhóll (10)

Dinnertime.  This will be one to remember.  A buffet of salads, butternut squash soup, authentic shepherd’s pie, two types of quiche, and a fish casserole.  Memories of peanut butter and raisin sandwiches fade as I stoke my fires full to the brim with deliciousness.

Yet the ever-lasting daylight beckons and after a brief respite while dinner digests, we all set off for an evening stroll down the road.  A path leading upward, a distant roar of a waterfall: that’s all it takes, and David and I are off.  We climb the hillside leaving the others behind, following the path of a raging stream.

5-28-16 Hótel Laugarhóll hike

Heading up to the falls


Huge banks of snow leave us no doubt as to the water’s temperature, but we soon shuck our coats and stop to gulp in huge breaths of the cool evening air.5-28-16 Hótel Laugarhóll hike (5)5-28-16 Hótel Laugarhóll hike (8)


We reach the top of the waterfall and look down over the valley.  If only we could see our own lives so clearly.

5-28-16 Hótel Laugarhóll hike (7)


And somewhere on the hillside, David drops a glove.




2 responses

7 07 2016
De Brown Bumgardner

So enjoying this Beth! Thank you for all the wonderful pictures there is definitely a book in your future!

12 07 2016

Glad you like it, De! Writing it all down like this helps me relive the experience (kind of like a 2 for 1 deal!).

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