Trip Start Sep 03, 2009
Trip End Sep 12, 2009

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Flag of Iceland  ,
Monday, September 7, 2009

The Foss, or waterfall, is ubiquitous in Iceland. As previously mentioned, the fall line between highlands and coastal plain is sharp and all that water has to go somewhere in a hurry. There are several large, magnificent fosses, like Gulfoss, of which I've already written. There are also innumerable smaller ones. The best ones we saw were in the south and the east since the lip of the highlands is pretty much jammed up close the the sea, whereas in the west there are many more great broad flat-ish valleys and plains and therefore we were further away from the fall line and the fosses.

One of our favorites was Seljalandfoss. It, along with maybe 5 or 6 other, falls right off the lip of the escarpment and down into a deep pool. It looked like a few of them fell right into holes they'd carved into the lava. We couldn't see any pool, they just disappreared. You can walk around behind Seljalandfoss, but the wind was blowing and I got wet enough just getting up close to the front of it.

Another big one that you can also walk behind is called Skogarfoss and it was down the road a piece form Seljalandfoss. On the approach to Skogarfoss you could see the glacier up top so we took pictures from a distance so as to get the glacier in. It actually had a longer drop than Seljalandfoss, but both of them were in the 50-60 meter category. You can begin a 3 day, 27km backpacking trip from Skogarfoss, up over the glacier (or past it) to a place called Thorsmork which is accessible by 4WD vehicles. But to get to Thorsmork, any vehicle has to ford 27 (!) rivers.

Several of the fosses are fairly small but fall in stages down the slope. This one pictured here was over on the way to Mt. Hekla (mentioned in the "Volcanoes" entry).

These last photos are over on the western side of the county. Gothafoss was really spectacular more for the amount of water than for the sheer drop. It took a couple of distinct drops and there was a pedestrian bridge downstream where it was possible to stand out over the river and get an excellent view. A guy was down there fishing right along side a commorant. Must have been a fish somewhere!

The next foss was interesting Hraunfossar comes right out of the middle layer of "pillow lava". It doesn't originiate in a river, just from springs in the area that sort of "leak" out through this very porous lava and down into the rushing river. The river really did rush! Upstream at the so-called "children's falls" (sad legend) the entire river squeezes through a hole carved in the lava--just like gushing out of a fire hydrant.

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stuartg on

Nice pictures. I love all the fossthings. And the sound of Icelandic names.

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