Cold, wet, and pretty great: rafting in Iceland

Up the heavens cold and steep;
Turn when dawn comes over land,
Over rapid, over sand,
South away! and South away!
Seek the sunlight and the day

The entire barrel scene from second part of ’The Hobbit’ was CGI, and it is kind of disappointing – mainly for the actors, I gather. Imagine watching yourself on the screen, seemingly having fun and action in those barrels on the river, shooting goblins and bouncing off the walls and bridges… And then you realise that you did not not actually get to do any of that stuff in real life, the computer geeks did it for you.

But who cares when you have Kili

I cannot wait till barrel riding becomes an Olympic sport, but for now, we have to make do with more conventional means of river transport. Such as rafts, kayaks, boats, life jackets and our asses.

White water rafting exists on every continent of the world, save for Antarctica maybe, and it must be amazing to be flushed down the warm muddy Nile in Uganda, or the powerful Amazon river in South America. But nothing is as exciting as flipping over and ending up in the icy cold water of a glacial stream in Iceland.

Where it all starts
Where it all starts

The people from Viking Rafting company for example, offer two types of whitewater adventure in Icelandic wilderness. The West Glacial River is reserved for families with children: teach your little ones how to pick the paddle, then sit down, enjoy the scenery, and watch them row. The East Glacial River, featuring multiple cataracts and rapids with such names as ‘Puke your waffle’ (not official name you’d see on the map… yet) is most suitable for a friendly trip with your buds that involves pushing each other into icy water and hearing your evil laughter echo across the gorge. You are guaranteed to be dipped into the river at least once, have a nice lunch break in the middle of the trip, and jump off a cliff with a glorious splash.

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Iceland can be overwhelming when it comes to extreme adventure travel. Rafting, unfortunately, is exclusively a summer sport, and from September until April you have no choice but to stay on dry land. Some essential items for a rafting trip include a GoPro, warm clothes and ability to swim and NOT to panic when you end up under the raft after one of the rapids. Great arm muscles and stamina are a great asset as well, so I better start doing those pull-ups for the next rafting season.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jamey says:

    So glad you’re in Iceland! I got to live in the West Fjords in May and miss it a lot.

    Safe travels!

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