Ok, maybe when you think of jeep tours you think of those pink jeep tours in Arizona. There fine, I am not disparaging that kind of tour. But I wanted to experience something more exotic, more remote and I found it when I traveled to Iceland in late fall. I have been craving some adventure and not being particularly athletic; I wanted the kind of adventure that didn’t require heavy lifting or long hikes at high altitude. So, I looked into the tours being offered from Reykjavik and came across a number of tour operators offering super-jeep tours.
First let me say that you may not think that Icelander’s are into off-roading, there you’d be mistaken. There are tons and tons of off-roading to be had in that country. And, the super-jeeps are just that, super – super cool that is. A lot of these four wheel drive trucks are brands that aren’t offered or common in America, like the Nissan Patrol or Land Rover Defenders. These trucks get a glacier trekking outfitting and come out looking like they could tackle just about anything. And, turns out they almost have to.
I booked a trip with a tour operator and chose one of their glacier tours which, obviously, are available all year. On the way to the glacier (don’t ask me t try and spell the name of the glacier) we had to ford two streams. Actually they were more like rivers. These super jeeps all have snorkels just for this purpose, a truck accessory that I have never really given much thought to. That could be because I didn’t know what they were for, well now I do. Just in case you don’t know, a snorkel is for crossing streams so that the engine can keep drawing in air for combustion instead of water, which is a no-no.
Then we got to the glacier and we had to stop to lower the tire pressure in the massive tires on our tour jeep. For glacier tours, the jeeps, in my case Land Rover Defenders, can only hold 5 people for weight considerations and you must deflate the tires a little bit. Anyways, once this was complete we headed out onto the glacier and after a few minutes were surrounded by white and sometimes the blue-green ice common in glaciers. It was spectacular. Our driver was very experienced and the jeep certainly up to the task with GPS and others gadgetry. This wasn’t just your 5 mph jeep tour, like we were at Disneyland or something. No, our driver took chances and went over steep ridges and over some small jumps. It was thrilling, beautiful and surreal.
Then about half way through the tour we stopped for a light lunch. We had some Icelandic goodies and then some beer and schnapps (not the driver). The driver created a table and benches out of snow and we sat there eating and drinking somewhere on a huge glacier on this tiny island nation just below the Arctic Circle – what an adventure.
I went seeking adventure and I got it. But I also found beauty and some of the most exotic and surreal scenery I have ever witnessed. If you are into adventures, you have to try this someday.