We spent Saturday hiking to the Skaftafell waterfall, which was an extraordinary sight. There I tasted glacial waters for the first time: a pure, crisp, cold experience. It was a short trip, serving as a good warm-up for what was to come.
We then proceeded to Jökulsárlón, which literally means "glacial lagoon." It is a bay of water with icebergs from the glacier floating everywhere. They were an uncanny blue color, giving the whole area a surrealistic atmosphere. And when a chunk of one of the icebergs suddenly crashed into the water I jumped at the sound.
After that we stopped at the last remnants of the collapsed Skeiðará bridge. It was destroyed when during a "glacial run," which is like an avalanche or mudslide, except for water and ice from a glacier. A monument to the bridge is simply two massive steel ibeams left where they fell in the rubble, showing just how destructive water can be.
Then we went on a detour to an unnamed piece of land that seemed to burst from the coast. Its sides were mostly sheer cliff-face, with a few caves and winding ledges. We found a thin trail and used it to ascend, a feat which often required the use of both hands and no small amount of mental fortitude when there was actually a small gap we had to jump over. The top had the ruins of an old viking house set into the ground, but the inaccessible hilltop had been long deserted. It would be ideal for sheep or goats to graze there, but I can understand why humans left the remote and rough terrain.
Our final attraction for the day was an abandoned crashed plane, once belonging to the United States Navy. I don't really know the story behind it, except that they left it where it fell in a deserted section of the Icelandic southern coast, and it remains mostly intact. The propellers and wings are gone, along with the front of the cockpit, leaving only a skeleton reminder of a past age.
We then settled down to camp at the base of a massive waterfall, where we would begin the massively long and anticipated hike the next day.