Iceland Journal – “Climbed a Mountain and I Turned Around” – Krafla, North Iceland
“I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought me down”
– Fleetwood Mac
As those who follow my blog regularly will know, I try to avoid people in my photos. My primary focus is to share places and things and try to convey some of the ‘feeling’ of those places and things. In this case, I am making an exception, because the ‘feel’ of this place, high on the slopes of Krafla volcano, is conveyed most effectively by my son, Greg, walking back down from a high ridge, trying to stay warm, as 100 km winds drive snow across the road around him.
I chose the lyrics of one of my favourite Fleetwood Mac songs, because we both joked about the line “Climbed a mountain and I turned around” as we warmed up in the car. Which begs the question, “Why did we climb in these conditions?”
We had left the waterfalls: Selfoss and Dettifoss about an hour earlier and wanted to check out the green water-filled caldera of a large volcano named Krafla. Like Dettifoss, this meant a bit of a detour along a snow-covered road, but it was not as bad as the Dettifoss road. The road itself leads to a large geothermal generating station and continues up to the top of Krafla.
As we approached the Krafla access road, we noticed that barricades had been placed across the road along with signage stating that the road was closed. At this time, another squall had come across and so, we waited till it cleared and decided to hike the 3 kilometers to the Krafla crater.
As we set off, the sky was still a bit snow filled and it was windy, but tolerable. and remained so, till we got to the crest of the ridge at the top of the road. At this point, the wind, now not blocked by the ridge, showed us its true nature, making it quite a bit less hospitable. We looked up the road, the Krafla parking lot about one kilometer distance, but barely visible. To the north of us, yet another menacing black cloud approached, meaning more wind and white out conditions. The road ahead offered no places of shelter and followed the ridge, which would have left us completely exposed when the next storm hit. So, we made the decision to abandon our quest and head back down to the car.
Within a few minutes, and sooner than expected, the fury of the next squall was on us, temperatures dropped, snow filled our sight, and winds picked up to hurricane force, whipping the snow at our backs.
I’m glad we decided to play it safe, because I can’t imagine what it would have been like on that exposed ridge and we had no idea how long this squall lasted.
It wasn’t a landslide that brought us down, but we had experienced something new: just one aspect of the raw and untamed nature of Iceland.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 800
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Fantastic! Even though it is an “exception” in your style – as you say – the presence of the your son makes a big and wonderful difference. Congratulations for this great capture.
Thank you Emilio
Playing it safe is always best with rapidly changing, bitter weather.
Wonderful shot. Though I prefer my blizzards from couch looking out the picture window. 🙂
With this photo, you have really captured it all. The astonishing power of weather.
It was like nothing I have experienced.