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  • Writer's pictureyatri gulaak

Iceland Day 2: Sólheimasandur and Skogafoss

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

On November’1974, US Navy airplane -Douglas Super DC-3 had to crash land on the black gravel beach of Sólheimasandur. Miraculously all passengers survived. All that remains now is the wreckage battered by strong winds, inconsiderate tourists and combined weight of Shahrukh khan and Kajol during shooting of Gerua song.

Sólheimasandur Plane wreck

We had slept the previous day with a piece of bad news, sólheimasandur plane wreck was no longer accessible by car. The landowners in the area had cordoned off the area as because of irresponsible tourist behaviour. Apparently for visitors it had become a place to drink and create ruckus, which had been affecting the plane and due to indiscriminate driving all over the place. In fact, Solheimasandur has been in news for all the wrong reasons off late. In 2018 an American traveller of Indian descent, while trekking in winters died of hypothermia and exposure to elements. Then again in January this year, bodies of two Chinese nationals were found on the same beach. It is easy to lose your way on this black expanse of sand and gravel on a bright summer day. In winters it can be unimaginably dangerous because of the icy winds from the ocean and snowfall can disorient you and throw you on the wrong track. The site itself is not properly marked even on google maps.

However, in summers, you can park your car on ring road and walk 4 Kms one way to reach the site provided you have time for it. It takes 35-40 mins one side to reach it. Don’t attempt it if the weather forecast is bad. Things can quickly change for the worse in no time and help may not be on the way in this isolated spot. It is complete desolate and loneliness of the trek can be overwhelming on a summer day as well.

Not of this world
Dyrhólaey arch visible from path to plane crash


10 Minute drive from plane crash was skogafoss, a delicate curtain of water dropping from a height of 60 m. Sights such as these unassumingly fuel one’s imagination as a breeze stokes a dying ember. Such ethereal beauty can bring about a change in spirit and induce fantastic reveries. What lies behind the curtain of the waterfall, a hidden Shangri-La perhaps or den of an ogre? Spray of Skogafoss can unlock hidden yearnings. You can try it for yourself. It was still early morning when we stood in front of Skogafoss. Only a couple of tourists loitered about with whom we divided out solitude. The only voices that we could hear was of the waterfall and of our own breath. Rest all sounds lost their way in the mountains and never reached us. This preternatural solitude can overawe most pragmatic minds and make the muse sing in hearts of flint. It is a heaven for goblins, dwarves, elves and other magical creatures. The myth however tells that the first Viking settler in this area, Rasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The ring on the side of the chest can be found in Skogar Museum.

See also my Dudhsagar falls story and Gullfoss story

Ethereal Beauty
Descent of Skoga River


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