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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss - Waterfalls, Day 3

Day 3 in Iceland took us farther northeast, counterclockwise around the country where we had plans to see a few more waterfalls and other natural sites including a black beach and a hike out to Iceland's oldest pool.  Our first two stops featured on the blog today were waterfalls.  If you haven't picked up on it by now, anything that is a waterfall in Iceland ends in the word "foss" and today is all about fosses.  Lots O' Foss. 

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall and Signage

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

N63°36.966 W19°59.572

Like I said, Iceland has many waterfalls and its easy to adopt the "seen one, seen em all" mentality. However, even I have to admit that each waterfall seems to have it's own "thing". This is definitely one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland but for good reason. This is one of the few falls you can actually WALK behind. A small trail leads you into the cave like area where you can look out into and across the falls which makes for some great pictures. You will need a raincoat (and rainpants) as the spray from the fall will certainly soak you.

The waterfall drops 65 meters over an old sea cliff and is part of the Seljalandsa River that has its origin in the volcano glacier Eyjafjallajökull.   According to signage at the waterfall, the Saldalandsa River passes through trollkonugil or "troll womans gorge", dating back to an old troll woman trying to cross the gorge (Iceland is real into their folk lore as you will continue to read about). 

Coming back down the stairs that lead you to the area behind the fall

Behind Seljalandsfoss

Behind Seljalandsfoss

If you are up for it, Gljúfrafoss waterfall (also known as gljufrabui) is just a 10-minute walk to the left.

FUN FACT: The official music video of "I'll Show You" by Justin Bieber features glacial lagoons and rivers in South Iceland, including Seljalandsfoss. It is a really bad video to a terrible song (sorry J Biebs) but entertaining and gives you a quick taste of Southern Iceland.

Side view of Seljalandsfoss

There are bathrooms, a small gift shop, and a food truck-style cafe where you can get pastries, sandwiches, and coffees. There is a fee to park (kiosk with a tag you put on your windshield). 

Gift shop at Seljalandsfoss

Skógafoss Waterfall

& Hidden Waterfall N63°31′47″ W19°30′50″
Each waterfall has its unique little "thing" about it. Where Seljalandsfoss you can walk behind, Skogafoss is unique due to the ability to walk above it and follow it's tributary. Follow the path and stairs (there are A LOT) up the right side of the waterfall to a viewing platform to see the falls from above. You can also follow the path and walk along the river that plunges down the falls.

Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 15 metres (49 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft). Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow is normally visible on sunny days.  While our days certainly weren't sunny, the sun came out long enough for us to see some of those famous double rainbows across the falls. Like most of the easy to access waterfalls in Iceland (these two I am mentioning today are RIGHT off the main road) Skógafoss is very crowded.

Skógafoss Waterfall and path leading up above the falls

This waterfall also has a "hidden fall" you can check out although I skipped this (too many Foss'). Skógafoss is considered one of Iceland's most beautiful waterfalls and I was happy enough following the path up and past this iconic waterfall. This waterfall and the river below it was considered a protected natural monument in 1987. You can also walk in the pool at the base of the waterfall but be warned, that water is glacial and it will be cold. Legend has it that a settler named Prasi hid his chest of gold behind Skogafoss where it would be hard to reach.

FUN FACT: The waterfall was a location for the filming of the Marvel Studios film Thor: The Dark World, as well as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Skógafoss by the pool

Stairs to the top of Skógafoss

Skógafoss with a double rainbow

Viewing platform at the top of Skógafoss

Following the river at the top of Skógafoss
Special thanks to Thatcher for always snapping asked for and behind the scenes photos with a lot of minimal complaints. 

Check back in tomorrow for more of Day 3 on the blog featuring Iceland's oldest pool and black beaches. 

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