Strokkur Geyser Field

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It was with eagerness, and some anxiety, that I waited to be collected from my Reykjavik hotel for the luxury 4×4 safari around Iceland’s Golden Circle circuit. Anxiety as the 4×4 was late but what a surprise when it did arrive. I was expecting the 4×4 to be a Mitsubishi-like vehicle but not the 7-litre monster that arrived. I had to reach up some seven feet to open the door to clabber in; but the view made the effort so worthwhile. And so it was off through lunar-like landscape to the site of Iceland’s old parliament assembly plain in the Pingvellir National Park. In former times this used to the negotiated governmental centre for the hardy folk that lived around the coast in the north, south, west and east of this large island. Upon reaching one of the park’s elevated viewing points, which was created by the ongoing tectonic plate movement, the air was chilly and unpolluted in the dreary early November light. The plain stretched out in front of me with remote emptiness and damp flatness, interrupted by dark lakes, to surrounding smouldering hills and mountains which offered glimpses of the angry unstable molten centre of our planet. Distant evidence could be seen where the resulting heated water and steam was being collected and piped as thermal energy to centres of habitation. Then it was onward and, literally, upward to the geyser field where we were informed that the Strokkur geyser erupts every four or five minutes. On cue it duly obliged. The smell of sulphur hung heavy in the air amidst the spewing steam vents, bubbling hot water holes and exploding geysers in the weak low late autumn sunshine. While viewing the original Geysir, from which all other geysers acquired their generic name, Strokkur erupted again and again was missed by the camera. I felt like the greediest little boy in the largest sweetie shop. There was so much to absorb; so much that I did not want to miss such as catching a geyser exploding on camera. Roped areas guided viewers upwind to areas that were safe from the exploding boiling water and steam. Camera in hand and eye on the eyepiece I waited for the next explosion. Click but nothing happened. Another missed eruption. There was nothing for it but to wait another four or five minutes for the next eruption. Missed again. Inspection of the camera revealed that the camera was functioning properly; so it was the photographer that was at fault. Despite anticipating the eruption when it happened it was startling me causing camera auto-focusing to be lost and preventing the camera from taking an out of focus image. However, watching the geyser through the camera’s screen resolved the issue. Almost thirty minutes later I was so captivated by the place and experience that I did not want to leave despite it now snowing. I would not have been disappointed if the excursion had ended there as I was so satisfied. However the delights of Gullfoss and my inaugural glacial snow-mobiling experience awaited.

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