My wife and I went on the midnight hike on New Years Day - what an incredible experience. After being part of two other tours that were packed, we were the only ones on the hike with our guide Ulfar. Ulfar's girlfriend Lilja and her sister Unnar joined us as did Ulfar's dog Reppi. From the very beginning we felt like we were on a hike with friends. Ulfar grew up hiking this region and took the time to point out all the interesting (and dangerous) geothermal hot springs along the way as well as just shooting the breeze with us.
After a fun hike that does get the heart pumping, we stopped at a river that is heated further up stream by hot springs. While the air temp was about 25-30 F, the water was 105-110 F. We soaked for roughly 90 minutes. You actually get so warm that getting out and doing some snow angels feels refreshing. During that time, we enjoyed our conversations with Ulfar, Lilja and Unnar while Reppi enjoyed some of our food that we shared with him. During this time, we gazed at all the stars in the dark night sky and got to see the Aurora Borealis starting to form. Ulfar took some great pics (which he shares with you afterwards via Dropbox - genius) .
After getting dressed, we got an incredible treat on the hike back - a level 5 Aurora show. As we hiked along a hillside, Ulfar recommended we sit in the snow and enjoy the show. While the lights danced coming over the mountains and dominated the sky, Ulfar got some amazing pictures that we will cherish. I asked Ulfar if this was usual since I had no frame of reference. He said no so we got very lucky.
Upon finishing the hike, we went back to their shop and talked for awhile. During this time, Ulfar shared a traditional Icelandic bread that was cooked in the ground with us as well as an awesome orange soda drink I wish I could get in the States. To wrap up the night, Ulfar and Lilja drove us back to our hotel in Reykjavik (but not before we stopped on the drive to watch more of the lights as they started to glow brightly again).
If you are looking to do something active in Iceland (hike, bike, surf), you'd be crazy to not use Iceland Activities.
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