Part 2: Volcanoes, lava and snow With amazing views of Thorsmork behind us, we hiked up the last major steep ascent and suddenly found ourselves in a bizarre moonscape.
The ground at the crater was so hot that if you dug a small hole, you could literally cook a hot dog, and the waves of warm steam passing over us felt so strange amidst the frigid air up at 1000 meters between two glaciers.
Never has the power of volcanoes been more clear to me than it was standing there on that crater, and I found myself mesmerized thinking about what this place must have looked like in 2010 with the fresh fiery lava and ash forming the bizarre landscape.
We continued from the crater over more lifeless ash and snow towards Fimmvörðuskali hut.
Those few kilometers were completely devoid of life and color; it was as if the world had been turned to black and white.
I’ve wanted to do this hike for a very long time yet sort of expected to end up doing it in typical Icelandic rain and wind.
Naturally then, when it looked like I might actually be able to do the hike in good weather, I was ecstatic.
Fortunately, Alex and I are both strong hikers, and we flew up the ascent, hiking up the side of cliffs in no time as we scrambled over rocks and sharp edges.
We thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine as we hiked the plateaus and cliffs of Godaland before crossing an extremely narrow ridge between canyons and steaming lava.
It is truly one of the world’s greatest day hikes, passing through extremely diverse scenery and countless glaciers, waterfalls volcanoes over the course of 25-35 kilometers depending on the exact route.
The hike can be thought of as having three parts: the waterfall and canyon sections heading up from Skogar, the volcanic pass filled with snow and lava between the glaciers, and the stunning descent into Thorsmork through the sharp valleys and glaciers of Godaland.
As we followed the river down from the glacier, gray rocks and snowfields slowly turned into green pastures and deep canyons.