Ice Cave and Auroras

IceCave1

This is the entrance to what our guide referred to as “the most beautiful ice cave in Iceland.”  We didn’t see any other so we don’t have a comparison but it was pretty spectacular.  To get to it, we had a 2+ mile hike on a glacier.

GlacierWalk

This was about the only time I was in front on the hike.  We had steel spike crampons over our boots to make walking on the glacier possible.  It took us about an hour and twenty minutes to make the trip.  It was worth it!

This image of some hikers going back to the top of the glacier from the cave entrance will give you an idea of how thick the ice was.

IceCave4

If you look closely you can see the guide rope we used to hang on to.  This walk up and down was on an ice carved staircase.  As you can see, there wasn’t any snow yet on the glacier so the inside of the cave was lit by sunlight through the ice.

IceCave3

The inside of the ice cave was fairly large as you can see in this image with our cave guide posing for me.

IceCave2

This was one of the highlights of the trip for me.  The other was seeing the northern lights.  They are present nearly every night but you need a clear sky and cold temperatures to see them.  They are typically visible between September and March and are the result of solar activity.  Our guide had an app on his phone that predicted the chances of seeing them each night.  We were lucky to see them twice in one night and then again for a very brief time on a second night.

The first time was at Godafoss waterfall.  They weren’t very strong but we were excited to see them.  We were the only people here at the time.  We also had a moonbow from the nearly full moon that night and lots of stars in the sky.

GodafossMoonbow2GodafossAurora1

We felt lucky that we had seen these and after they disappeared we headed back to our hotel for dinner.  As we were finishing dinner we looked out the window and saw them reappear over the lake across the road.  We got our gear and ran across the road and up a small hill to photograph these brighter auroras with their reflection on the lake.

Aurora2

Aurora4

Aurora3

Here are a couple of pictures I just received from one of Ingrid, one of my Argentine tour mates.   First is one she shot from the top of the hill when I was down by the water shooting the glacier and icebergs.  This will also give you an idea how large some of these icebergs were.

RonIceberg

And another when I was shooting a low angle shot in the same area.

RonICeberg2

And lastly, as I was staring out the van window at the passing, amazing landscape and realizing how fortunate I am to be able to travel like I do.

RonBus

 

Iceland is a great place to visit.  Most people go during the summer months.  A friend and her daughter went the end of May and had a great time.  Another friend was there in late June and also had a terrific visit.  There are no ice caves or auroras at that time of year but the weather is usually good.  Winter means less tourists with the possibility of seeing an ice cave if you’re up to the hike to get there and also seeing the northern lights.  I was expecting more snow and that would have added to the photographs but this had been a mild winter so far.  The temperatures during our visit during the daytime was between 28 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit with most days in the mid-30’s.  We only saw one of our hotels because we usually arrived after sunset and left before sunrise.  It was a little strange to see the sunrise around 10am and set about 4pm depending on where we were in the country.  There was lots of rain but we were able to avoid most of it by adjusting our itinerary.  On more than one occasion we’d finish shooting and being heading back to the van and moving on just as the rain started.

Icelandic Airways has lots of flights from various locations in the United States.  They also allow you to stop over for up to a week, I believe, on your way to or from Europe at no additional cost.

I hope you enjoyed the images and that you’ll add Iceland to your bucket list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Response to Ice Cave and Auroras

  1. Patricia Harris says:

    Thanks for sharing Ron, amazing pictures

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