Adventurer of the Week: Chris Goes Into The Blue

24. November 2016 —
Chris Riley
Exploring Ice Cave

In this week's instalment of our Adventurer of the Week series Chris, a visitor from the United States, tells us about how he was mesmerised by the ice formations and the fulfillment of his long-held dream of seeing the Northern Lights. 

What motivated you to visit Iceland?

Honestly, the first time I watched the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I thought Iceland was beautiful and a place I needed to visit. The green mountains, the swooping roads, it was all new to me. 

I started my photography as a person who shot nature and landscapes only, so Iceland was right up my alley. After looking at photos online with Instagram in the recent months from friends who visited Iceland, it only confirmed to me more that I needed to visit this country.

I even got to see a rainbow at night, which is something I have never heard of, because of the full moon and rain combination.

CHRIS RILEY

How long was your stay? Did you travel solo or with a group?

I stayed in Iceland for 15 days. I traveled alone as wanted to make my own itinerary without any restrictions. I've always been more of an independent traveler.

Chris Riley
Deep Blue Ice

Which tour did you take and why did you choose it?

The tour I took was the 4 hour glacier hike. I chose it was because I saw there was a chance to see the ice caves and I had to do it. There is nothing quite like it.

What is one thing you will always remember about your tour?

There are two things that will always stick with me during my travels in Iceland. Walking on top of the glacier/inside an ice tunnel with Icelandic Mountain Guides and watching the Northern Lights on the second to last night of my trip. 

When I saw photos of people inside an ice cave, it amazed me. The blue colors, the formation of the ice and being able to see it up close; all gorgeous. The very next day, I was able to step foot in an ice cave and be amazed by its beauty. Listening to the sounds of the water dripping all around, the cold touch of the ice, the blue hues reflecting off the sunlight; nothing compares to it.

Every night I would look up the forecast to see the Northern Lights activity. Back in New Jersey, I don’t have the opportunity to see them. There is too much light pollution and NJ.

There were at least two days of activity that I wasn't able to see earlier in my trip due to where I was at the time in Iceland. So when I saw that my last two nights in Iceland would be a "level 5" activity rating, I knew I had to stay up at all costs. It did not disappoint. The funny thing is, I was about to leave because even with the forecast saying clear skies, there were a lot of clouds and rain coming in my location. I told myself that I would stay another 20 minutes and that is when the action started to happen. There were hues of purple and green during its display. Would come and go and dance in the sky. I even got to see a rainbow at night, which I never heard of, because of the full moon and rain combination.  

Chris Riley
Ice Tunnels

What is something that you learned about Iceland that surprised you?

I learned that Iceland has the third biggest glacier in the world, right behind Antarctica and Greenland. Even with the name, "Iceland," it's usually common knowledge that Greenland is more snow and Iceland is greener. I was also surprised to hear that Iceland has been getting polar bears coming into the country. It just shows you that nature will always find a way.

If you had more time in Iceland, what else would you like to see and do?

I told myself that I would stay another 20 minutes and that is when the action started to happen. There were hues of purple and green during its display. Would come and go and dance in the sky.

CHRIS RILEY

The two places I would want to visit during my next trip to Iceland that I didn't get to this time around is the West Fjords and the Highlands. I didn't get a chance to visit West Fjords because of time restrictions and the fact that my trip was coming to an end. Originally, I was going to visit the highlands during my stay, but due to river crossings in a rental and that there might be chances of snow causing me to be stuck, I decided to go with a different route.

What tips do you have for people who want to visit Iceland?

Bring extra socks! The amount of times I was walking around with wet socks because of either rain or river crossings, I quickly realized I should have thought this through. Even with my water resistant hiking sneakers, it didn't stop the nature of Iceland. Layers is key when visiting Iceland, you never know what you can be facing each day. 

Chris Riley
Ice Tunnels

What adventure are you off to next? What is your next dream adventure?

Listening to the sounds of the water dripping all around, the cold touch of the ice, the blue hues reflecting off the sunlight; nothing compares to it.

CHRIS RILEY

My dream vacation was to visit East Africa and to see the animals in their natural habitat. Thankfully, I was able to live that dream in August of 2015. It was my first international travels and started my quest to see more of the world. 

I have a few places in mind to where I want to go to next. Witnessing the Swiss Alps has always been something that I wanted to see. The bright blue waters along the mountains are a photographers dream. I would also love to visit Australia, Scotland and Ireland. I always try to find locations with the best landscapes and all above will not disappoint.

Apart form his excellent landscape photography and sense of exploration, Chris is an expert portrait photographer: you can see his work on Instagram  

Chris' adventure into the blue is only one of the many features that make for an unforgettable experience. Book your tour and join us for an excursion that is guaranteed to make memories that last a lifetime.  

Have you been on a tour with us in Iceland and would like to be featured as an “Adventurer of the Week”? Feel free to email Jewells at [email protected].

About the Author

Joseph content writer for Icelandic Mountain Guides

Joseph Mattos-Hall

Hailing from London and born into a British/Brazilian/Italian household, Joseph came to Iceland originally to complete a master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland: the rest is history.

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