Spray

I enjoy photo challenges.  They make you think about what you’ve seen and how, without thinking, you may have captured images that interpret the challenge.

Iceland/waterfallSPRAY….immediately I thought of waterfalls and geysers in Iceland.

Iceland/waterfallThere are so many, 

Iceland/waterfallmajestic, spraying rainbows into the air.

Iceland/waterfallTalk about spray, stand behind a waterfall and feel its wet cold.

Iceland/geyserFor a different spray, there are geysers

Iceland/geysererupting one after another sending hot spray in all directions.  That is not one you want to be near.

That waterfalls and geysers are there, powerful in their beauty, is another of those miracles that sets my heart racing.

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A Word a Week Photo Challenge: Spray

Roaming Free

I was fascinated to learn that in Iceland there are only a few four legged animals.  Three, Arctic fox, reindeer and mink, are undomesticated and the same number are domestic.  These include sheep, cows and horses all of which graze freely on the expanses of wide open spaces.

IcelandWooly sheep provide meat, dairy and wool for the beautiful hand knitted Icelandic garments.

IcelandCows are primarily for dairy.

IcelandWhen it comes to the horses, they appeared to outnumber the sheep and cows.  If our guide’s numbers were correct, there are roughly 120,000 horses in Iceland.  Hmmm, that’s one horse for every 3.5 people!  They are used for some traditional farm work, leisure, showing and racing.

IcelandThe breed is unique to Iceland and its history dates back to the 9th century when they were first brought there by Nordic settlers.  Interestingly, other breeds cannot be imported into Iceland and once an Icelandic horse leaves the country, it cannot return.

IcelandBecause they are smaller in size than horses we are familiar with, some people in our group called them ponies, a term quickly corrected as the Icelandics are always referred to as horses and are noted for being long-lived and hardy.

IcelandI’m not a horse person, but it was easy to be attracted to these beautiful animals so varied in their colors.  It is said there are over 100 names for various colors and color patterns.  Their coats are short now, but it won’t be long until they are long and shaggy for winter.

IcelandWhile the Icelandic horse has all the expected gaits–walk, trot, canter, gallop–it has a unique gait so smooth that a person can ride with a drink in his hand and never spill a drop.  I think that’s the gait I’d choose because there’s no bumping up and down in the saddle!

IcelandBy nature, the Icelandic horse is very gentle, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be spooked as happened here.  Let me tell you, this was a scary moment as this is a pedestrian bridge that just moments before held many people.  I was lagging behind taking photos and had just started across when this thundering herd came toward me.  Talk about moving fast to get out of the way…..While no one was injured, five of the horses went over the rail, not a good ending for them.  After the stampede was over and my heartbeat slowed, it dawned on me what a scary moment this was, exciting yes but potentially very dangerous.  How lucky that there was not more of a disaster.

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The Wonder of Iceland

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

Miriam Beard

If you  enjoy the rugged outdoors, Iceland may be just the place for you as it is full of opportunity to explore the wonders of nature.

IcelandNot many blooming things are native, but here and there among the lava rocks, you find little flowers peeking out adding touches of color to the monochromatic landscape.

IcelandTrekking down a lava path, you are likely to encounter a waterfall crashing down exerting its power.

IcelandHow different each one is ,

Icelandand if you don’t mind getting sprayed with icy water you may be able to explore a back side which is a totally magical experience.

IcelandThere are glaciers, some of which you can actually walk on provided you have proper equipment to keep you from sliding all over the place.

IcelandMost are covered with volcanic ash giving them a very different appearance from ones you might see elsewhere.

IcelandIn parts of Iceland, it is not unusual to see geysers, big and little, 

Icelandthat erupt far more frequently than Old Faithful in Yellowstone.  There is no warning, just an explosive burst of hot water coming from deep within the earth.

IcelandIceland is an island of still active volcanoes like this one hidden this day by  clouds.  It is the one that erupted three years ago causing havoc far beyond Iceland.  Needless to say, the farmer who lives below this volcano hopes it stays dormant for quite some time!

Iceland

Volcanic rocks like rough hewn sculptures act as sentinels and provide challenging climbs for the daring.  The trekking is one thing, but I’ll watch the climbers!

Iceland is, indeed, a land of rugged natural wonder.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Iceland….Why Not?

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

Miriam Beard

Why go to Iceland?  Because it’s there and it’s only 5 hours from Boston which is probably as close as we are going to get.

IcelandIceland is a volcanic island about the size of Kentucky with a population of roughly 400,000, three quarters of which live in Reykjavik.

IcelandThat means there are lots of wide open spaces here.

IcelandAs we move from place to place, there are significant landscape changes.  Volcanic lava is evident everywhere,

Icelandand in some areas in the north it resembles what I imagine the surface of the moon to look like.

IcelandThe textures are very different from what I am accustomed to seeing in Maine but equally interesting and lovely.

IcelandAlways there is water.  It  may be the ocean

Icelandor geothermal wells that provide steam which generates the island’s electricity.  Water temperatures may be in excess of 200 F.  That’s hot!!

IcelandOften the water spills over magnificent waterfalls.   Sometimes the water is dirty because of lava content

Icelandwhile in another location the water may be a lovely blue created by glacial runoff.

IcelandOn a beautiful, sunny day you might even be lucky enough to see a rainbow that is caused  by the moisture kicked up by the power of the tumbling water.  We were that lucky, and I can’t begin to tell you what a magnificent sight this was.  I felt in the presence of a powerful and great mystery.

IcelandNot all water is so energetic. It may be quiet and clear evoking peacefulness.

There is much more to Iceland, and as I sort through my thoughts I will introduce you to its wonder.  I hope you will enjoy the adventure.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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The Places I’ve Been