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And here we have Dettifoss, or Falling Falls, Europe's mightiest cascade. We've been on a little road trip this past week and have a few tokens to show for it, including this picture composed and shot by my Valentína.

After posting this picture I went to bed and, as I was drifting off to sleep, thought about how close to the edge of the falls Óðinn and I look to be. And as close as we look to be is as close as we really were! Oddly enough, while we were all confident and fearless as we pranced about on the rocky ledge to the sounds of 500 cubic meters of water per second gushing only yards away, I got panicky at the memory of it there safe in my bed almost a week later. What if we'd have fallen? But we didn't, and we had a great time out there in the wilds of the barren Icelandic north.

The road to Dettifoss is a little less than an hour's drive east of Mývatn (or Midge Lake.) There are actually two roads, on either side of the river, and while both are rough, the eastern one is accessible to all vehicles most of the year while the western one, which some has the better vantage point being a little bit lower and closer to the actual cascade, is really for 4-wheel drive only. The amazing thing with this place is exactly what was causing me so much concern while drifting off to sleep, namely that there are no barriers between you and this amazing force of nature. It's right there, and you can step to the very edge of the chasm at your own risk. Take the challenge, if you dare, but be warned that this land is fickle and the weather precocious and all it takes is a moment of distraction and a good gust of wind, a sudden rain, or a snap fog to change any lovely Icelandic landscape into a disconcerting and dangerous thing.

Update July 2011: This is the waterfall where Ridley Scott [video] has been shooting his Prometheus, starring Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace. This will be a definite go-see when it comes out, especially with Damon Lindelof as screenwriter.


Anonymous said...

Looks like Valentina has inherited her mothers skills with a camera. Way to go..

Viszlát Sjáumst said...

Great photo by the kid. Nice work, Valentina!

I know what you mean about the unrestricted access; I think it's somewhat similar at Gullfoss??

Anyway, that's one thing I noticed about my travels outside the U.S. - there's alot more 'at your own risk' access to things.

I think the litigious culture in the States has all but eliminated that access here.

And it's a shame. Because, I think, that access... that ability to get so close to something so dangerous is really part of what makes it so beautiful.

Enjoy the rest of your mini-holiday!

Dora Renee Wilkerson said...

That picture of the falls is just wonderful!

Dora Renee' Wilkerson

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria,

a while ago, you were asking for a quick Hi from people reading your blog.

I didn't have time to leave a comment until now because I was travelling to Iceland - and it was great once again. I climbed Hvannadalsnjukur with some friends a did the hike from Eldgja to Langisjor and back.

While in Reykjavik, I checked out the pylsur place and I remembered your blog when I saw the burnt-down house in Austurstraeti.

In fact, your blog is one of two that I'm subscribed to. I really like your style of writing. Hard to describe what makes the difference but I enjoy reading your posts very much.

Takk fyrir and all the best to you,


Anonymous said...

I plan to post some pics of the small waterfalls of the little village Brienne-la-vieille on the river Aube. I don't know how I dare when I look at yours !

pasmithx2 said...

Another fabulous photo.

My favourite photo from our trip to Iceland was at Dettifoss. It amazed me how close we could get, especially when compared to the level of protection at Niagara Falls here in Ontario.

We also noticed the "at your own risk" all over Iceland. A North American tour operator would never dump fresh shellfish on a table and let you a) handle it, or b) eat it raw. But that was something my kids will never forget.

I nearly had a heart attack when my son ran to the edge of Kerið, fully intending to slide down to the bottom! We managed to talk him into another route down and then he walked all the way around the water's edge. The mommy in me was freaking out but he loved it.

You and another commenter are right that that ability to get up close to nature, even if it's dangerous, makes it even more unforgettable.