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Chasing Glaciers Through The Land of Fire and Ice


The sign gave me two options, take the trail back to where I started or hike a second path which would add a few hours in this everlasting torrential downpour. I debated for a minute, but the decision was easy. I was in the land of fire and Ice for the first time. Without hesitation, I started for Sjonarnipa viewpoint and a birdseye view of of Vatnajokull, Iceland’s largest glacier.

More hiking didn’t sound great, but I was dry inside my rain gear, my five layers were keeping me warm, and I was looking forward to the view of the glacier. As the rain powered down and I continued up the narrow trail, I noticed the terrain getting steeper. It wasn’t long before I was walking through a small stream of rapidly flowing water. That’s when I started to feel my socks dampen. The water had made it into my waterproof boots. It’s a miracle it took this long as the rain was pouring down at a rate I didn’t know was possible. Then, a few minutes later, things got real bad.

All my waterproof gear began to fail. My gloves were soaked, fingers freezing. My pants stuck to my legs, underwear wet. My waterproof jacket was drenched, the four layers underneath damp. I was so cold I began to shiver. The rain, wind, and cold were not going to let up. I had a decision to make, turn back and get down the trail fast or test my endurance and power through. I hadn’t seen a soul. No one was crazy enough to hike in this weather. Why was I? Was this a horrible decision? There was only one way to find out. I continued on to finish what I started.

I had no idea how much further. Each sloshing step felt like I was wearing weights. I wanted to declare defeat, but what would I do? Wait for help? It may never come. Besides, in Iceland there are no trees, which meant no cover from the elements. I tried not to focus on the fact that I was probably becoming hypothermic. Instead, I kept telling myself no pain no gain. I knew that if I gave up I would regret it, so I kept on.

Finally, some time later, there it was through the cloudy grey sky, a massive white glacier tongue wedged between two mountains. At the base was a body of water with broken icebergs dancing atop. The view was absolutely breathtaking. I took it in for several minutes, relishing my win. The bitter cold and never-ending rain didn’t matter anymore. I felt rejuvenated. I felt alive. I was the only person viewing this site, at this moment, in these elements. It was something I would never forget.


Welcome to Jesse Takes The World, a travel blog geared towards the fun, exploring, adventurous traveler.

I’m Jesse and I started traveling the world in 2014. All it took was a trip to Mexico with a couple of friends and I was hooked. Ever since, I’ve been wandering the globe in search of adventure. Whether you need some advice on a short vacation from work or you’re wondering if you want to start traveling like a nomad stick around. These stories, pictures, and videos will inspire you to find adventure.


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