Today's adventure started with a walk along a short open-water edge of Lake Myvatn. It was a stunning landscape of a lava base, carpeted here and there with lichens, moss, ice, and patches of dwarf birch. In the open water were several pairs of Barrow's goldeneye, and a mixed family of Whooping swans (2 young, 3 adults).
Next, a snowshoeing hike through the valley of the trolls and dark castles - volcanic steam vents, that rise up like giant molten and crusty chimneys. Their very irregular surfaces can appear to the minds eye like giant trolls turned to stone. (Think NH's "Old man in the mountain".)
The afternoon included a look into a steaming fissure - "mind the gap", where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are separating. Then on to the Myvatn Nature Baths, where we ALL soak in aquamarine, mineral-rich, hot water originating from this volcanic zone (although cooled so as to be tolerable).
Evening featured another wonderful meal, including smoked Arctic char as a starter. Then out into the night with many layers of cloths and wishful thinking. As I write this my hands are still shaking, not with cold, but rather with elation. It was an amazing display of northern lights! Tears were streaming, again, not from the cold & wind, but from joy, overwhelming gratitude, and an unbounded sense of awe. (Photos will appear in the future, for now, the Image of the aurora lives in my heart and mind.) Peace.
Dimmuborgir - the dark castles.
A fissure appears and spreads, releasing steam and forming grottos containg exceedingly hot water.