From The Top Of A Glacier To The Shore Of A Black Sand Beach – Rachel Montgomery

The wonderful exhaustion of yesterday’s excursions to the glacier tried to get the better of me.

Eating blueberry yogurt and pancakes was a chore. Lift spoon, shove in mouth, stare into space. Rinse and Repeat. I drowned out the hum of conversations around me, conserving my energy for another long, but fun day.

I felt better when we waited outside to go to the black sand beaches. Thus far, every day has been more wonderful than the next and if the glacier was phenomenal, I couldn’t wait to see what the beaches would be like. Plus, unlike the glacier, I won’t have to wear everything I own in order to stay warm!

It was another short drive to our destination. The glacier stood to the right as we drove past it. This time, I looked at it and said to myself: “I was up there.” I saw the town, the mountains we drove past on our way to Snaefellsjokl, even some unknown future destinations all as small brushstrokes on the canvas of the world.

When we got to the beach, all I could see in the tundra were two trails: one was a smooth wooden path leading around the cliffs to the distant beach. The other was a smooth path dug out from the earth. As the other students piled out of the car, I looked at each path and tried to decide which one to take. The sky was clear; there would be no interesting clouds to spice up the sky. I’d have to rely more on the land to get a good photo.

I went by the map and found another path.

The small, gravel walkway would’ve gone unnoticed by most tourists. The grainy pebbles there would be seamless compared to the giant, jagged rocks growing in the earth. I turned my camera on and captured it. Looking into the screen, however, I frowned. The contract between the nearly black shadows and bright highlights would prove to be challenging, but would make for dynamic photos of an alien landscape.

I climbed up high to get hidden lakes and rivers. In the large stones and the black sand on the other side, I picked out rusted bits of debris. I lay on my stomach and made them look mammoth against the rocks in the distance from them. I walked uphill to the shore…

I was brought back to the high-quest fantasy films and books that I love. In the space between the rocks and the cliffs, I could imagine a fire-breathing dragon battling a knight on the shore. I smiled and continued exploring… until next time 🙂



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  1. Love the pictures and the accompanying description.

  2. Christie Boronico Reply May 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Great pictures Rachel
    What a wonderful experience!

  3. I loved your narrative Rachel. It sounds like a great journey!