Climbing waterfalls – the mighty Hengifoss
While biking around the Lagarfljot in search of a worm, there are many natural attractions which make for excellent side trips and micro adventures. Not everyone wanted to go to the foot of the mighty Hengifoss waterfall, but those who did shared in a little surprise…
We are damp, wet and slimy by the time we approach the foot of Hengifoss. The sun left the canyon long ago taking with it any chance of rainbows and leaving Cameron and I in the deep shadows of cliffs that resemble a basalt and iron sandwich. We crawl up the final boulder field towards the head of the canyon, like tiny crabs scuttling this way and that to try to find a sure footing across slippery rock and loose scree.
Cameron leaps on ahead; he’s so light, nimble and sure of himself. Every now and again he stops, turns, and waits for me; looking out for his ‘old’ Dad coming up behind. It touches me the way he stops to check I’m alright, and reminds me how our powers will cross currents in the years ahead. Not that I feel old or lacking in power, not yet. In fact I’m really quite enjoying this little micro adventure. It’s nice to be out with just one of the kids, one that wants to get to the top. It gets tiresome after a while persuading others to come on my mini missions against their will or better judgment. I suspect it’s tiresome for them to come too.
Part of me is glad the others stopped off further down. Getting up to the main falls is proving a bit more of a challenge than I thought. The early steps and path were steep but easy enough and the approach to Litlanesfoss was fine. But beyond that interest waned as difficulty increased; perhaps the little fall, halfway up, was big enough, a giant ribbon between towering basalt columns. Anywhere else it would have been the main attraction, but not here, not in Iceland, where even giant waterfalls come on a buy one get one free basis.
I know the others would have been cursing me if I’d cajoled them to continue to the top. They’d have been swearing the first time we had to leap across the river, shouting at me when we had to scramble over the scree and giving me the silent treatment by the time we were picking our way up the river bed to the final boulder field. A willing victim is always better.
“Dad! Look. What’s that?” shouts Cameron above the roar of the fall, now some 30 metres away .
We stand in awe under a giant block of ice that sits sheltering in deep shadows at the top of the canyon.
“Is it an iceberg Dad?”
I have no idea. I am as surprised as he is to find it hiding there.
We perch on slimy boulders and touch this tower of ice, its’ dirty chill burning our hands. We look up at the 120m spout of water pounding the canyon floor beside us and breathe in the spray of the second highest waterfall in Iceland. We smile at each other and share a moment we know we’ll both remember.
This post is part of our 2012 Adventure Islands Season. We spent summer 2012 visiting Iceland and The Faroes, exploring the wilder parts of these adventure islands to research and report on what’s on offer to adventure seeking families. We’re grateful to DFDS Seaways and Smyril Line for their support in getting us there, enabling us to bring you this season of posts.
You can follow our progress LIVE on The Family Adventure Project Punkt and get some exclusive behind the scenes photos and video of our journey.