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TRIPTYCH: In the Footsteps of Vikings

Marie Cecil ’24 and Connor Gregory ’24 (right) pose with their ice axes on Sólheimajökull Glacier. / Courtesy Photo


By Marie Cecil ’24

Marie Cecil ’24 at Thingvellir National Park

Marie Cecil ’24 at Thingvellir National Park. / Courtesy Photo

I had the amazing opportunity to go on the Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice May Experience. The trip focused on geology, volcanology, glaciology and sustainability.

The trip was entirely field-based, rain or shine; we explored every aspect of the outdoors. One memorable place that we visited was Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir features the oldest parliament settlement, established by the Vikings in 900 A.D. We took note of the impressive lava canyon formations throughout the park and a large waterfall surrounded by lava rock.

My favorite part of the entire trip was when our group did the glacier hike. We arrived at Sólheimajökull Glacier where we were suited up in crampons and harnesses and were given an ice ax to use. We hiked the glacier in the pouring rain, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. We reached a point where we took some pictures.

The view from one-quarter of the way up Heimaklettur, the highest mountain on the island of Heimaey.

The view from one-quarter of the way up Heimaklettur, the highest mountain on the island of Heimaey. / Courtesy Photo

Another memorable location was Heimaey, an island formed by underwater volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago. There, we did one of the hardest hikes of the trip: to the top of Heimaklettur, the highest mountain on the island. It required a lot of hard work physically and mentally, as there were steep ladders and many, many stairs that we had to climb, made by the locals on the island. After a little over an hour, we made it to the top. The views were amazing!