Waterfall Rush


Waterfall Rush

Deb Smith recollects a hike to Hengifoss while working as a volunteer at Skriðuklaustur, East Iceland.

Published in the 2013 June-July issue of Iceland Review – IR 03.13. By Deb Smith. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.


One Saturday morning, still in my bed in Skriðuklaustur, I looked around my room. All week I had worked: this time it was physical labor instead of the computer stuff I do at home. Still half asleep, I fantasized about staying in bed or a welcoming cup of coffee delivered to my room and then lounging about all day. It was Saturday, after all.

Then I heard the breakfast crew in the kitchen and soon the splash of bathroom showers. Today our entire group was hiking up to a waterfall. Like the dawn, I’d better arise.

If you like waterfalls Iceland is the place to be. The action of glaciers and tectonic plates over the course of centuries has made the country prime property for waterfalls. Coming home that week, at times I could look out the window to see three waterfalls at once cascading down the hillside.

Not far away was Hengifoss: at 128 meters (419 feet), it is the second tallest waterfall in Iceland. The Hengifoss trail is 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) of footworn path up a hillside, often very near the cliff edge, but a favorite of hikers.

The younger folks in our group (that’s everyone but me) sped up the trail like rockets. Already tired from the previous week, I soon found myself walking slowly in last place. When I looked up, everyone else was so far away they were miniatures. Dear God, did I feel old.

You can read the remainder of this article in the June-July issue of Iceland Review – IR 03.13. Five times a year the print edition of Iceland Review & Atlantica brings you a wealth of articles on all aspects of life in Iceland including Páll Stefánsson’s latest images of the country’s majestic landscape. Click here to subscribe and here to browse through a selection of pages from the current issue.