getting wet is no big deal in iceland with winter showers, snow, hot springs, lagoons and its many rivers, tributaries and waterfalls carving a strong identity on the country’s almost supernatural landscape.
locals are just used to being surrounded by water and moisture no matter what time of year it is and gullfoss is one such magnificient display of such beauty. check out the video i shot of gullfoss below.
a hot tourist attraction, gullfoss sits pretty in the southwest of iceland, on the golden circle route and despite all the human traffic that comes through each day here, you’re still going to be guaranteed a jaw-dropping time because that’s what such wondrous natural formations can do to your soul.
gullfoss is a water fall that gushes into the canyon of the hvítá river which flows down to the south of iceland. water speeds get up to 109 m³/s with volumes of water varying depending on the season; 140 m³/s in the summertime and 80 m³/s in the winter.
the first fall involves a “three-step rock staircase” after which there are 2 stages involved in its flow into a v-shaped crevice, one of which is 105 feet deep (32m) and runs the length of 2.5 km.
gullfoss is a real beauty but it has had a past full of struggle.
since the early 1900s, gullfoss and the land around it has been very much sought after for hydro-electric power (HEP) purposes but thanks to the efforts of one sigríður tómasdóttir of brattholt, gullfoss has been able to remain untouched and preserved.
sigríður tómasdóttir was born at a farm near gullfoss called brattholt and with the exception of a few visitors back then, nothing much ever happened in the area. in 1907, the government granted local folk with special permission to acquire waterfalls near their own lands and tomas, the father of sigríður came into legally owning the land around gullfoss.
during this time, the family was approached frequently by speculators and energy companies to try to get tomas to sell gullfoss and the lands near it for HEP development but the family fought tooth and nail constantly to never do so.
the battle carried itself over to the next generation, when sigríður’s foster son, einar guðmundsson, turned part of the brattholt property back to the government’s nature conservation council in 1979. the ministry of culture and education then signed an agreement creating a nature reserve around gullfoss on March 9 of that year, thus helping to keep the waterfall the way it was always meant to be - a natural wonder….