If ever a word were created to describe Iceland, it was ‘magical’. Truly every location in this country is spectacular, bringing moments of awe, reflection, and wonder every moment. Last night, I connected with an educator in Florida who recently purchased and read my book. Today, I decided that I would create a video for his class while on expedition — and it was a lot of fun. As I explored the town of Skogar and the waterfall Skogafoss, I documented the journey. Skogafoss is a waterfall created by the receding ocean line. The cliff, where this waterfall exists used to be the shoreline and as the ocean water receded, this waterfall was born over time. As I climbed the 500+ stairs to the top, I couldn’t help but imagine how this place changed over time from that spot being the shore to the shore now 5 kilometers away. The climb was challenging but the view from above, the spray of the water, the rainbow, and the surprises along the way were absolutely worth the effort to get to them. After climbing to the top, I wanted to explore where the water meets the land below. If I thought the view from above was magnificent, the view from below was just as breathtaking; literally. The sheer force of the water created its own gust of air which were equal parts refreshing and overwhelming. I loved the overpowering sound of the water and the waves it created in this valley. I didn’t want to leave.

Just to the east of the waterfall is the Skogar museum which has three parts; culture, open air, and transportation. There is no way I could choose the best of these exhibits although I am sure you know I am partial to being outdoors. Each part of the museum was fantastic in its own regard, bringing me back to historic recounts of local events, artifacts that are like the arms of single celled amoeba, grasping for a connection outside of itself. The open air portion of the museum allowed me to step into physical spaces representing architecture through time in Iceland. I was delighted to happen upon elf dwellings and church along the way that had offerings outside. I spoke to the elves, thanking them for allowing me to visit this place and for allowing me to document my time with their structures. The belief is Hudufolk (hidden folk) in Iceland intrigues me to my core. So many stories and versions of belief, enough to tickle to fancy of any visitor, I think.

The transportation portion of the museum reminded me so much of my dad who passed away in September 2020. He would have been able to spend the entire day in that space. He would have shared his memories of the fashions, trends, historically significant world events and how they infiltrated his own life. It’s no wonder I have such an affinity for hearing and telling stories, that was one of my father’s greatest talents and interests.

Our next stop was Seljalandsfoss, another waterfall but as you can imagine — entirely different in composition, characteristics, and majestic-ness. Yes, I made up that word — you’re welcome. This waterfall was even more massive; you can even walk behind the water. This was another magical moment, the sound, the temperature, the feeling, the excitement of climbing behind the water of this massive powerhouse was thrilling. I was overwhelmed again with the sheer force the water embodied as it slammed into the earth below its ledge. I’ve visited waterfalls before but something about the power of these Icelandic falls just shook my core.

We ended the day visiting a new local site called Caves of Hella. The town of Hella is the site of many caves that have caught the attention of local historians and archaeologists. While the caves have been known (mostly) to exist, their exact historic purpose, origins, and use over time is a bit murky. There are many theories, stories, and legends, but nothing with strong evidence — that’s why the recent rise in attention. As I went on the tour, my mind wandered through the possible uses of such structures over time and how this, this might be a new expedition to invest time in.

#ExpeditionSchnekser #OutdoorEdCollective #BoilingRiver #EducatorExplorer she/her #scitlap Founder @OutdoorEdColl National Geographic Grantee