Amazing Skaftafell National Park

If you google "Skaftafell", you will first see a photo of waterfall with black rock pillars in the back.  To us the photo looked so cool, that we decided to check the waterfall ourselves.

Famous waterfall Svartifoss
But what we didn't know is that you can also see glacier in this national park and you can actually get pretty close to it! Now it's time for you to check the map. Have you found Skaftafell? Zoom out ... see, Skaftafell is just a part of the biggest glacier in the whole Europe - Vatnajökull! And we got to see it. So happy! :)
Amazing colored glacier
Soon after parking our car at Visitors center at Skaftafell, we found a list of hiking trails. The shortest was 1.8km one way to the glacier lake. Off we ran, and it was breathtaking! What an enormous amount of ice! And what colors: turquoise blue ice, black mountains at the sides and white snowy peaks at the back. Just wow! Of course we wanted to get as close as possible to the glacier. We crossed many streams, either by jumping over them or using rocks to step on. At some point we tried to use small floating icebergs - not a good idea! They turn around immediately after stepping on and next moment you are in the water - Katarina tried it :)
Katarina is kicking a rock - trying to make her way on the other side of the river
We were almost there in front of glacier moraine, just a narrow river/lake to pass. But it was too deep to count on stepping on the rocks and to wide to jump over. So we had to satisfy ourselves with the view and a climb on the small iceberg on the shore.

Rokon the iceberg
We returned to the car using the same path and then went the other way towards Svartifoss waterfall and further to viewing point Sjonarnipa. Round trip is 7,5km long and it took us 3,5h to finish it. But don't worry it's not particularly steep or difficult, but enough that not every visitor makes its way up here ;)
View from the path
Svartifoss means black waterfall in Icelandic and it got its name after black rocks at the back. And those rocks are actually the reason why this waterfall is so spectacular! If we compare it to Seljalandsfoss the water flow is a lot smaller, but the surrounding is here much nicer, wilder, different from everything we'd ever seen.

Svartifoss and black rock pillars in the back
Hexagonals in nature, amazing!
We countinued our hike towards Sjonarnipa viewing platform which provides you with amazing views of the whole glacier,, not just the moraine - the view that we earlier.
Hike to Sjonarnipa was one of the best things of the day. Amazing views of huge mass of ice and the colour, what a beautiful blue, almost turquoise shade. Heavenly!

Panoramic view from Sjonarnipa
Looking down from Sjonarnipa. Check the size of the people comparing to the glacier!
Why is the glacier blue? Before answering this question let's have a look how the glacier is formed: first it snows and this fresh snow is full of air bubbles. Later new snow falls over and with its weight i presses down the snow beneath.With yeas passing more and more snow accumulates and presses the freezing layers beneath. The air bubbles are getting smaller and the crystal structure of the ice is changing. New structure has the ability to reflect only blue light - compared to fresh snow which reflects the whole visible light spectrum resulting in appearing white. So, because of reflection of blue light, we see the glacier blue!

Glacier blues
In the clouds ... the glacier atop of volcano



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