Occasional Traveler

A collection of my thoughts and photos on travel.

Glymur Waterfall Hike (Failed) Attempt

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I love researching hikes for trips and Iceland was not lacking options. I especially get excited about hikes that are a little more off the beaten path since it usually means there won’t be a ton of people on the trails. I read about the Glymur Waterfall Hike on a few blogs (Life with a View). The hike included a river crossing with delicious glacier water, a cave, and great views of the second highest waterfall in Iceland!

I was a little concerned about this river crossing— it involved walking along some rocks and a log in the water while holding on to a wire. I read a few different blog posts about this crossing and ultimately decided it was doable.

Fast forward to Day 2 of our 8-day post-graduation Iceland trip. Following Google maps, we left Reykjavik after a late breakfast and arrived at the trail head a couple of hours later. There were other cars in the gravel lot, but there were plenty of spots to park. The sign indicated that our hike would be 3.6km one-way. No sweat!


There were some gray clouds in the sky and we knew rain was likely, so we wore our rain jackets and I left my DSLR in the car. The views from the parking lot were still stunning! We had noticed during our drive and now on this hike that there were fields of these pretty purple flowers that reminded me of bluebonnets. I later learned that the flower is the Alaskan lupine, a flower that was introduced to Iceland in 1945 to fight soil erosion, but that ended up spreading all over the island. There’s apparently mixed feelings about these flowers among Icelanders.

We reached the river and there was a path down to the cave. I opted to walk around and snap some photos of the river from the higher vantage point.

If you look closely, you can see someone making the river crossing!

Shortly after, we descended down the trail to the cave. Well, it’s a bit dark in there and Michael ended up slipping and cutting his wrist. Eeks! It was a deep, bloody gash. He went to the side of the river to rinse it off in that delicious glacier water (we forgot to try drinking it!). Being the worrywart that I am, I was already thinking that we might have to find an urgent care center for him to get stitches. And Michael being himself, insisted that he was fine and that we should continue our hike.

20180619_132546View from inside the cave looking down onto the river.

20180619_131208View looking up at the cave once we walked through it.

After leaving the cave, the trail descended further and continues along the side of the river. Then, we reached the river crossing. A couple of hikers were stepping out of the river, pants rolled up and shoes hanging around their necks. Hm. The water level was MUCH higher than what I had seen in the blogs, so the stepping rocks were all under water and the water was moving fast. We watched a few more people carefully cross before deciding that maybe we should just hike back— especially with Michael’s cut wrist.

So, we didn’t get to see the waterfall at all, but really, we couldn’t complain. The views from our short hike (we covered maybe 1.8 miles round-trip) were great! Michael was careful to avoid putting his wrist into untreated pool water for the rest of the trip, and he now has a gnarly scar with a (sorta) cool story.



Written by Jessica

November 6, 2018 at 5:18 PM

Posted in Iceland, photography, travel

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Los Cabos

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December 23, 2010 | Favorite picture from my family trip to Los Cabos over Christmas two years ago! This was just one of our stops on our tour.


Lucky shot, huh? It was so bright that day, it was hard to see what I was shooting! Lovely.

Written by Jessica

January 6, 2013 at 11:16 PM

Roxborough State Park

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May 5, 2012 | On our weekend vacation to Denver, we drove to Roxborough State Park for a short hike. Pretty cool place with some nifty rock formations.


We couldn’t spend too much time here since we had to make our white-water rafting appointment!

Written by Jessica

January 6, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Posted in Denver, photography, travel

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Denver Girls’ Trip

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I’m taking my first fun trip for the year this upcoming weekend to Denver!  My friend is graduating from UT and wanted to go on a trip and I figured, why not?  We booked a deal through priceline.com for hotel, airfare, and car rental.  It’s a girls’ trip and we’ll be rafting, hiking, checking out a local brewery, and going out!  I’m excited!!  Check out the weather forecast for the weekend:

Looks good!

Written by Jessica

April 30, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Posted in Denver, travel

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Berlin: Neue Wache

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August 11, 2011 |  After being completely destroyed during World War II, Neue Wache (the new Guard House) was rebuilt as a memorial to the victims of war and tyranny in 1960. Pictured below, the latest rededication includes Käthe Kollwitz’s scultpure “Mother with her Dead Son” in the middle of the building.

As I stood there in silence peering through the bars, I felt moved. The bare, cold room housed just the sculpture in the middle of the room with a light shining through the oculus in the ceiling, highlighting the sculpture, as well as exposing it to the harsh Berlin climate. I could feel the loneliness and despair of a mother holding her dead son.

It was a strange feeling. Just a few minutes before, we had been across the street taking a break from all the walking and enjoying coffee and pastries from Opernpalais!  But I guess with a history as dark as Berlin’s, it’s only inevitable that we would come across a somber site that would remind of us the events that unfolded in the city less than half a century ago.

Written by Jessica

December 25, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Berlin: DZ Bank

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August 11, 2011 | I’m WAY behind on updating and I’ve gone on many trips since my last post but I’ve also managed to drop my external hard drive that contains all my photos so I’m just going to skip ahead for now to my Europe trip!

Berlin was the first city that we visited on our 16-day trip in Europe.  We stayed at the Circus Hostel— definitely one of the nicest hostels we stayed in on our entire trip!  As it was our first time in Berlin, we did a self-guided walking tour and visited the major attractions, such as Brandenburger Tor, Checkpoint Charlie, Holocaust Memorial, and Siegessäule (Victory Column); but armed with a Rick Steve’s guide, we also made it a point to stop inside the DZ Bank to check out the interior:

DZ Bank interior (Frank O. Gehry)

Cool, right??  From the outside, the building looks like any other office building, so it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. We couldn’t go past the entrance/lobby area but it was a cool stop regardless, located conveniently just next to Brandenburger Tor.

More posts on Berlin attractions to follow!

Written by Jessica

December 25, 2011 at 12:08 AM

Embera Village Tour

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November 28, 2009 | On the second to last day, I arranged for us to go on an Embera Village Tour with Anne Gordon de Barrigon. I’d read some great reviews about her tours and booked the day tour online. I’m glad that we went on this tour, as it was one of the most memorable things about this trip.

Anne had an interesting story about how she ended up as a tour guide in Panama.  She started off as an animal trainer for tv/films– her repertoire includes Legends of the Falls and Practical Magic!  One of her movies, End of the Spear, brought her to Panama to film the Embera people portraying Ecuadorian natives.  In a nutshell, she ended up getting married to one of the tribesmen (who’s waaay younger than she is, by the way) and they now run the tours together!

After a breezy yet relaxing dugout canoe ride, we visited Embera Puru where the village people greeted us with some music and dancing.  The villages are located in the Chagres National Park and interestingly enough, the villagers’ primary income is from tourism.

Anne encouraged us to support the village by purchasing one of their many homemade goods, as pictured below:

The crafts were pretty cool.  I ended up buying one of the woven baskets for $25.

Some of the visitors brought gifts for the children.  It was fun watching them divvy out the toy/games/coloring books as all the kids gathered around eagerly.

The villagers wore traditional clothing (very little clothing, but I guess with such tropical weather, it’s expected), the women’s chest just covered by festive beaded necklaces, which they normally only wear for special occasions.  Talk about culture shock, haha.

More images to follow…

Written by Jessica

March 1, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Posted in Panama, photography

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