in quite a new light. Many of the conversations I overheard

Nature Difficult to Move Networkyear2023-11-30 19:31:22 2398 7

In one of these valleys we passed a considerable lake, on and around which rose circling clouds of steam proceeding from hot springs, but of no great size. But after we had already travelled about twenty- five miles, we came to the most remarkable object I had ever met with; this was a river with a most peculiar bed.

in quite a new light. Many of the conversations I overheard

This river-bed is broad and somewhat steep; it consists of lava strata, and is divided lengthwise in the middle by a cleft eighteen to twenty feet deep, and fifteen to eighteen feet broad, towards which the bubbling and surging waters rush, so that the sound is heard at some distance. A little wooden bridge, which stands in the middle of the stream, and over which the high waves constantly play, leads over the chasm. Any one not aware of the fact can hardly explain this appearance to himself, nor understand the noise and surging of the stream. The little bridge in the centre would be taken for the ruins of a fallen bridge, and the chasm is not seen from the shore, because the foaming waves overtop it. An indescribable fear would seize upon the traveller when he beheld the venturous guide ride into the stream, and was obliged to follow without pity or mercy.

in quite a new light. Many of the conversations I overheard

The priest of Thingvalla had prepared me for the scene, and had advised me to WALK over the bridge; but as the water at this season stood so high that the waves from both sides dashed two feet above the bridge, I could not descend from my horse, and was obliged to ride across.

in quite a new light. Many of the conversations I overheard

The whole passage through the stream is so peculiar, that it must be seen, and can scarcely be described. The water gushes and plays on all sides with fearful force; it rushes into the chasm with impetuous violence, forms waterfalls on both sides, and breaks itself on the projecting rocks. Not far from the bridge the cleft terminates; and the whole breadth of the waters falls over rocks thirty to forty feet high. The nearer we approached the centre, the deeper, more violent, and impetuous grew the stream, and the more deafening was the noise. The horses became restless and shy; and when we came to the bridge, they began to tremble, they reared, they turned to all sides but the right one, and refused to obey the bridle. With infinite trouble we at last succeeded in bringing them across this dangerous place.

The valley which is traversed by this peculiar river is narrow, and quite enclosed by lava mountains and hills; the inanimate, silent nature around is perfectly adapted to imprint this scene for ever on the traveller's memory.

This remarkable stream had been the last difficulty; and now we proceeded quietly and safely through the beautiful valleys till we approached the Geyser, which a projecting hillock enviously concealed from my anxiously curious gaze. At last this hillock was passed; and I saw the Geyser with its surrounding scenery, with its immense steam pillars, and the clouds and cloudlets rising from it. The hill was about two miles distant from the Geyser and the other hot springs. There they were, boiling and bubbling all around, and through the midst lay the road to the basin. Eighty paces from it we halted.

And now I stood before the chief object of my journey; I saw it, it was so near me, and yet I did not venture to approach it. But a peasant who had followed us from one of the neighbouring cottages, and had probably guessed my anxiety and my fear, took me by the hand and constituted himself my cicerone. He had unfortunately, it being Sunday, paid too great a devotion to the brandy-bottle, so that he staggered rather than walked, and I hesitated to trust myself to the guidance of this man, not knowing whether he had reason enough left to distinguish how far we might with safety venture. My guide, who had accompanied me from Reikjavik, assured me indeed that I might trust him in spite of his intoxication, and that he would himself go with us to translate the peasant's Icelandic jargon into Danish; but nevertheless I followed with great trepidation.

He led me to the margin of the basin of the great Geyser, which lies on the top of a gentle elevation of about ten feet, and contains the outer and the inner basins. The diameter of the outer basin may be about thirty feet; that of the inner one six to seven feet. Both were filled to the brim, the water was pure as crystal, but boiled and bubbled only slightly. We soon left this spot; for when the basins are quite filled with water it is very dangerous to approach them, as they may empty themselves any moment by an eruption. We therefore went to inspect the other springs.



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