Posted by: jeanne | July 17, 2014

another wonderful walk up the mountains

this time it was to burstarbrekkardalur, a real mouthful. i had been sitting around the residence for a couple of days, and not getting even the 4 dog walks a day i’m used to.  the weather was iffy, spitting rain that you could see coming from way down the valley, but i’d had enough, and around 3 pm yesterday i took off for that snowlined valley i can see from my bedroom window.


this is how it looks from the town.  you’d think the entire thing was snow covered, but it wasn’t.  and i couldn’t really identify what part of the mountain i was seeing once i got up there.


it’s one of the old ways out of the valley and off toward civilization, and it’s marked by a signpost at the foot of the mountain, so i ditched the bike again and started up.  funny, these walks that we all seem to take, we all seem to take them.  every resident’s blog mentions them, everybody’s got photos, and i met mary coming down as i was going up, and as i was coming down i met frank going up.  it’s a real slog, mary reported, and it was.  but so worth it, as we all agree.


the way leads up right thru some family’s farm.  they were all coming down the mountain as i went up, but they were in cars and a tractor.  i waved; they waved back.  they must see a lot of tourists come up thru their property.  the bridge leads over the river at about 100 meters above sea level, where it’s a nicely thunderous body of water.



then it was a proper road surface; well a proper off-road surface, wide enough for a tractor or even a four-wheel drive vehicle.  i’m not sure whether they carted all that gravel up there from the quarry, or just scraped off the peat and dirt that were already there.  i think the former, tho why bother…


at times the green of some kind of moss was just overwhelming.  it’s an acid green, not something you’d want to use if it were on your palette, as it’s way too obvious, too green.


partway up the mountain, still green and lush, but the grasses have given way to mosses and heather.  to see the erosion of these mountain streams, look to the left side and see where the hill has given way.


here the stream is mostly ice covered, but you can see right in the middle of the picture where the ice is gone and the river peaks thru.  it’s the same with most of the ice covered streamlets coming off the mountain.  the water keeps running right underneath it.


and here’s where the snowfields start.  i was following the road up, but suddenly it was covered with snow, and i’ve read a lot about getting trapped trying to cross snow.  you have no idea how deep it is or what lies underneath, or whether it will even hold you.  so i went around this first patch, apologizing to all the plants i stepped on until i found a sheep track, and then thanking the sheep and offering to glean any wool they’d like to leave hanging on something.  but do they listen?  i briefly sat on a rock and decided to go back down the hill at this point, but kept looking at the ice and how it was only in patches, and finally decided to go a little further…


plucking my courage once i’d navigated around the first patch of snow, i came to another place where the road was covered, and since it was maybe 20 yards across, and supposedly road all the way, i crossed it, crunching over the snowy ice, using my walking stick to make sure it was solid enough to cross.  then, when i got to the other side, where water was flowing down the road surface, i discovered to my surprise that not only was the snow deeper than i’d first thought, but there was indeed water running under it, and it would have been no fun to have to extricate myself should i have discovered it in the middle of crossing.


going on, i decided not to try crossing along the road the next time it got covered up.  i seemed to be at the beginning of the upper valley that runs all the way down to the cliffs you’d have to cross if you wanted to go to dalvik.  i hiked up a rocky hill, instead, and followed a sheep track over to where the river had to be.  i could hear it roaring from far off, and it was easy to hike over to it.  the peat resounded under my feet as it tends to up there.  on the way i came across a little pool of meltwater that featured ice under the surface, which had a nice tinge of blue to it.


you can drink the water right out of the stream up here.  it’s fresh meltwater, and the only danger you can possibly get into doing so (aside from falling in) is if a sheep has died upstream and fallen into the water.  but that was nearly impossible where i was, because it was all snow from there on.  and cold.  and wonderfully delicious.  at this point, tho i don’t have any photos, i found a spot to cross the stream.  i had actually considered another spot, but when i stopped to ask myself what could go wrong with jumping from one rock to another over the rushing rapids, i decided that too much could go wrong, and there’d be no help for me if my foot slipped, or got stuck, or i ended up falling and hitting my head, or a number of other scenarios that i dwelt on before deciding to move on.  and then i found a perfectly safe spot to ford, and used my stick, and didn’t jump at all.  and boy was i happy i did, because the view of the snowfield, and the way the stream disappeared underneath it and came roaring out into a chute downstream of the snow was amazing.  i think i got a video of it.  here.


looking up the river, it was nothing but huge enormous rocks as far as i could see up the valley.  really spectacular.


on the left side of the valley were these cliffs that were so steep that they truly looked vertical.  and the icy snow flowing down the defile here was so compelling.  but there was no way to get up there, as it’s all scree and i’m not doing that.


a little way along the shore of the river, at a flat place above where i crossed the rapids, there was an ice field that came down to the surface of the water.  the snow looked to be 4-5 feet thick, and it looked just like antarctic glaciers calving into the ocean, so i went as close as i could to get a good look and some pictures.


then i got even closer.  the ice melts from above and below.  you can see the drips where it was actively melting.


and a real closeup shows the blue, the famous blue of glacial ice.  i have some footage here.  you can here the dripping.


nearby i stopped for a shot of the local plant life.  it’s very small, but very persistent, and where the ice had just melted off, there were new shoots coming up, still yellow and turning green, unfurling into the late summer sun.  ain’t life grand?


in the distance is olafsfjordur and the mountains behind kleifar, where i walked the other day.  the think i like about these mountains is the striping of the snow.  like candy.  this picture was shot when i was still at the top.  it wasn’t the top at all, of course.  i had still to go around the corner, so to speak, to get a view of the entire valley.  but i didn’t do that.  it was after 6 pm and the sun still had almost 6 hours to go before setting, but i’d been walking for about 3 hours and my feet were starting to hurt.  not to mention getting hungry.  everybody else takes snacks when they go on their walks, but i even forget to take water, not that i wouldn’t be drinking from the rivers at any rate.


and this is the view of the valley from some point at the snow field while i was back on my way down.



and that’s everything.  there are more movies on my youtube channel.


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