🇮🇸 The Tale of the Dead Volcano

In the summer of 2021 our family had the opportunity to travel to Iceland for 11 days. Despite travel restrictions around the globe, Iceland was welcoming tourists. Not only that but Fagradalsfjall once again began actively emitting lava earlier that spring making it the perfect time to check Iceland off our bucket list.

When planning out our trip to Iceland, hiking around Fagradalsfjall and up to Geldingadalir was on the top of our “must see” list. Given the unpredictability of nature (weather and volcanoes do have minds of their own), we kept our expectations for this adventure low. When it finally came time to embark on our hike, we were all ecstatic having heard stories from fellow travelers we had met already in Iceland. We parked and began hiking straight up Route A to Geldingadalir. This route ended up being closed due to lava flow so we detoured a bit and met up with Route B. Along the very steep climb up (2.25 miles to be exact), Tommy noted all the somber faces of the hikers as they returned to the car. He even stated “That doesn’t seem like the face you would make after seeing a volcano erupting?”

Once reaching the peak and getting our first view of Geldingadalir, all we saw was cooled, black lava. It was doing nothing! Speaking to fellow hikers we learned that the lava flow had stopped earlier in the day and the volcanologists were predicting that it was completely done. Evelyn was very disappointed stating “This looks nothing like the lava in Minecraft”. Maybe still on a high from the endorphins from the steep climb, I was still pretty amazed by the experience and the blessings of just being able to be there. Better to see a dead volcano in Iceland than to be home and see no volcano at all!

On our hike back down, I kept hearing a drone flying overhead. I was thinking to myself that they were wasting their efforts. That evening, when we went out to dinner, there was a large television showing an up close view of a volcano erupting with lava spewing from the crater. I was explaining to Evelyn that that was what we were supposed to see when the waitress came over and told us that it was an actual live feed of Geldingadalir. We were shocked! We couldn’t believe it! We were just there!

We adjusted our plans for the next day to do the hike all over again in hopes that Geldingadalir would still be erupting. When we awoke the next morning we headed into the campsite lounge area for Wifi and to check out the live feed. Luckily, it was still erupting! We exchanged advice with some fellow campers on the best way to hike up. One gentleman mentioned that he preferred Route C and that he was lucky enough to be there yesterday flying his drone when the volcano started to erupt again! Turns out the volcano started to erupt again on our hike down!

The happy ending to this story is we were able to complete the hike again and had the wonderful experience of seeing an active lava flow! I personally liked doing the hike twice to see what Geldingadalir looked like both active and dead, but after hiking 10 strenuous miles over 2 days Evelyn strongly disagrees with me.

If you want to read more about our travels in Iceland don’t forget to check out A Return to Normal: Iceland by Camper Van, 10 Things Visitors Should Prepare for When Traveling to Iceland, and a Iceland Suggested Itinerary.