Tomorrow Might Seem Dull
Yesterday after our great breakfast, we had a very full day that didn't end until well after the date had changed. We had a slow start and had to say goodbye to our fellow housemates. The house became very quiet and only Ky and I were remaining in the big five bedroom home..
We finally got around to deciding that we should go out and explore so we headed to a nearby glacier. That's just not an everyday occurrence when you've been living in Phoenix, where that thing would have been gone in a few days!
The drive there was spectacular, and I'll try not to use that adjective too freely so the magnitude of the statement means something. There were waterfalls everywhere, thick moss growing on lava rocks that had been scattered by the movement of the gigantic glacial mass. Braided glacial rivers running the length of the valley next to the road. There were lots more sheep and Icelandic horses to see and more waterfalls and moss.
We arrived at Drangajökull Glacier which is the northernmost Icelandic glacier. It is the only glacier in Iceland which lies entirely below an altitude of 1000 metres and so a hike up its peak is relatively easy. Unfortunately due to our late start we didn't hike the glacier, but we'll have to save that for another visit. After going as far as we felt comfortable due to expected early darkness behind the mountain ridge, we came to a towering waterfall. Ky went right to the base while I pulled out my drone. It was quite an exciting flight and there was one heart beat skipping moment when it stopped responding to the controller and took off on it's own, in the wrong direction towards the mountainside. The winds coming down the canyon started pushing it beyond my control and an updraft sent my small little DJI Mavic Pro up like the Big Shot ride in Las Vegas on top of the Stratosphere - FAST!
Fortunately I had put the drone in to sport mode (drone flies at about 40 MPH vs 22 MPH) which allowed me to fight back against the wind and tack my little bird back to a spot nearby. That and I suspect the wind must have died down just a bit to release it from the airstream. I was SO happy to have it back on the ground. It could have been a long hike up to retrieve it and a hard landing on hard rocks is not kind to drones.
We actually had quite a bit more daylight than we had anticipated when we left the canyon area so the ride home was equally spectacular, and seemed like a totally different route with the reverse view.
As if visiting a glacier were not enough for one day, we decided that we would try to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). There is an informative website that helped us determine that there was a chance we would be able to see them. http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/ . It appeared that this night and early morning would be our best chance while in Iceland to see them and it was one of my "bucket list" items. We went out a bit away from the small town lights and peered around at about 10:15 which according to the charts was "dark". Not so much! It was a full moon! It was pretty chilly, and there were some clouds which doesn't bode well for seeing the lights so we didn't stay out very long .
I didn't want to give up so easily so I set my watch alarm for 2 am. There was a large balcony facing in the correct direction where I went at 2 am to see if there was any activity. Ky came out too and after a few minutes we decided that it wasn't to be because of the full moon and some marine layer clouds. Back to bed we went.
I couldn't sleep though and I rolled over on my side and started surfing the internet to get some more facts. There were some good details about how to go about looking for them and that the full moon shouldn't be a factor. I woke Ky at about 3 am and asked him if he still wanted to go hunting for lights. He is always up for an adventure, best husband ever!
We hopped in the car and headed out of town a short distance. He pulled the car off the road, we got out, fully bundled up, and waited for our eyes to adjust to the darkness. And guess what - slowly but surely we started seeing them! We were so excited and a bit surprised to see what vaguely looked like clouds at first, forming and undulating and morphing in to other shapes, brightening with a light green glow in some sections. We never saw the brilliant colors that can be seen in great photos of deep winter lights, but we were so thrilled that we watched for over an hour until they seemed to be slowing down and the sun was just beginning to lighten the horizon. No personal photos of it, but wonderful memory photos. I am thankful! And I will sleep well tonight!