This one’s for the adventurers.
Our major activity for the day was to explore Thorsmork National Park. It is a beautiful area surrounded by mountains (aka. piles of ash) with glacial melt waters flowing in between.
This meant that to drive to the center of the park, we got to take trusty ol’ Dacia through rivers making huge splashes and entirely submerging the car up to the handles. It was like nothing we have ever experienced!
As we approached the first river crossing, we stopped, cautiously surveying the river for its possible depth and speed of current…
…until a Jeep approached and zoomed through it with a big splash like it was no big deal. That made us feel like real newbies.
We got back in our car, wet our windshield and – now giddy with excitement – went on our way conquering continually larger rivers as we traveled into the park. We specifically rented a 4×4 SUV for these reasons!
We eventually stopped at a part where the Krossa river was at its widest and we watched an SUV much larger than ours nearly roll over and then float down the river ending up on a sand bar. Since we were concerned about Dacia’s well being, it gave us the perfect excuse to stop, find a mountain peak that appealed to us and hike it.
The views of Thorsmork National Park were breathtaking. From the peak you can appreciate the splitting branches of the river and the maze we maneuvered driving here:
We headed back in the direction we came, suddenly having no issue driving across rivers (how quickly we matured) and Shane drove across with confidence. Grinning from our adventures, we made sure to stop at one of Iceland’s many cool waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss on the way home (which you can walk behind!):
Driving across rivers in a vehicle can be a daunting and intimidating task. Here is a summary of what to do to make sure your crossings are safe and enjoyable:
- Inspect the river. If you cannot see the bottom, get out of the vehicle and walk closer to the river. Wade into it if necessary or assess the depth with a stick. Keep in mind that though wider sections of the river may not seem like the ideal place to cross, they are usually the shallowest. Also, sections that are fast moving are usually more shallow than slow moving areas.
- Assess your entry and exit points. These may be harder to overcome than the river itself. Sometimes it helps to look for the tire tracks of those who have crossed the river before you to help you pick an appropriate spot.
- Cross the river in a diagonal fashion going downstream. This will keep the vehicle stable and will use the current to your advantage. Just make sure to start high enough up river so that you can still have a viable exit point down river.
- Keep the vehicle in a low gear and NEVER shift gears. A slow steady pace will keep the vehicle stable and maximize traction. The ideal speed creates a small wave in front of the hood as you push the water.
- Do NOT cross if you are unsure about whether or not you can make a crossing. Either way for someone else (both to observe their strategy and to have someone around in case of emergency) or don’t cross. The last thing you want is to ruin your car and your vacation.