Oh, Skógafoss! To me, it’s not just a waterfall; it’s a scrapbook of my childhood memories. Picture this: tiny me, struggling to peek over the tall grass, clinging to my mom and dad’s hands, eyes wide at the sight of that enormous wall of water crashing down. And getting soaked every time we edged close? That was the best bit!

Those rainbows, though – they were the real stars of the show. On a sunny day? They’re something else. Sometimes you’d get a double rainbow, and it was like stepping straight into a fairy tale. Made you feel tiny and full of wonder.

And trying to capture those rainbows in a photo? What a saga that was! My partner, god bless her patience, kept snapping away with the camera. We got this one shot where I look like some sort of rainbow wizard – hilarious! And those stairs to the top, all 527 of them – they’re a trek and a half. I tackled them on a freezing day in November. Talk about a wind-blasted workout! But that view at the top? Worth every gasp for breath. It’s a whole different world up there.

Skógafoss is just the start. The Skógá river’s lined with over 30 waterfalls, and I’m hitting them all next summer. If you’re around there, do me a solid? Count ’em for me. I’ve heard numbers all over the place, from 22 to 37.

And remember 2010, when Eyjafjallajökull blew its top? Covered everything in ash, Skógafoss included. Broke my heart seeing it all grey and dull.

Driving down that ring road now, it’s like stepping back into those old road trips with my dad. Each waterfall, Skógafoss in particular, just floods me with his tall tales.

Skogafoss from above

Speaking of which, ever hear about Skógafoss’s hidden treasure? Total Viking saga stuff. Þrasi, some bigwig back in the 900s, supposedly stashed his loot there. Gold, silver – the works. Found out about it from “Þjóðsögur Jóns Árnasonar,” kinda like the storybooks Dad used to read. Makes me think, maybe those childhood treasure hunts weren’t so silly after all.

You know, it’s a bit of a local debate whether Þrasi lived at Eystriskogar or Thrasastadir Farm, right by Skógafoss. These days, that area’s called Skógar, pretty much the furthest east you can go in Rangarávallasýsla. And get this: Þrasi wasn’t the only big name around. Loðmundur, his neighbor, lived over at Sólheimar, just a stone’s throw from the Sólheimasandur Sands.

These two? They were like the Gandalf and Dumbledore of their time, doing all sorts of wizardry stuff together at Sólheimar. Then there was Fúlilækur, this river that wasn’t exactly a crowd-pleaser. It snaked through their land before hitting the Jökulsár Glacial River. Legend has it Þrasi and Loðmundur split it ’cause nobody wanted it too close. Thanks to that, Sólheimasandur Plains are pretty bare. Even now, if you squint, you can see old riverbeds all over the place.

The whole neighborhood suddenly caught on to what was going down. Imagine this – on one side of that Jökulsá glacial river, there’s this sweet spot called Loðmundarsæti, nestled all comfy in the Sólheimaheiði heath. And bam, right across from it, you’ve got Þrasaháls hill, chilling on Mt. Skógafjall, just giving Loðmundarsæti a stare-down. The river, it sneaks through those hills, slicing through narrow gorges before it spreads out onto these sandy plains.

Legend has it that Þrasi and Loðmundur, they had this epic showdown right there, and then, they patched things up. They made this pact, you know? Decided to guide that river straight to the sea, taking the shortest path through the sandy plains. It’s like they said, “Let’s make peace and show this river the way out!”

Back in the day, folks said this spot was where Þrasi and Loðmundur buried the hatchet. They shook hands and said, “Hey, let’s lead this river home, buddy!”

Even now, the river by Skógafoss seems to remember Þrasi and Loðmundur’s old arguments. There’s a constant swirl in the water, like it’s replaying their disagreements. It’s kind of like how, in my backyard, the wind makes the leaves dance, caught up in a never-ending waltz. People say this quirky behavior of the river comes from the two men’s ancient dispute.

Then there’s the story about Þrasi’s treasure. It’s said he hid a chest full of gold right under Skógafoss. They used to say you could see a part of it sticking out, just beneath the waterfall. Kind of like those half-hidden objects in a game of I Spy I used to play with my cousins. Imagine that – a treasure chest, partly visible, yet unreachable, hidden by the waterfall’s misty curtain. Every time I visit, I can’t help but look for it, like searching for shapes in clouds, knowing it’s just a legend, but part of me still wonders.

There is an old rhyme which goes something like this in Icelandic:

“”Þrasakista auðug er

undir fossi Skóga,

hver sem þangað fyrstur fer

finnur auðlegð nóga.”

Translated to English reads as:

“Tharis’ chest is filled with treasure.

Skógafoss Waterfall can be seen nearby.

First Runner to arrive there

Discover extraordinary wealth.”

Moving forward, heard about the time three guys from Ámundi Þormóðsson’s era went to grab a chest under a waterfall at Skógar? It’s like those childhood missions to find hidden treasures. They saw Ámundi’s farm, thought it was on fire, and dashed back. False alarm, though – reminds me of when we’d mistake shadows for monsters as kids.

They went back, determined. Getting close to the chest, they hooked a ring on it. Just as they were about to get it, the chain snapped, leaving just the ring, now in Skógar church. That chest, like those almost-wins in life, stayed right where it was.                           

There are these chest rings from old churches, like the ones from Skógakirkja, that you can check out at the SkógarMuseum. One particular church, which got deconsecrated back in 1890, is now part of the museum, but it had already been deconsecrated years before that.

When they deconsecrated the church at Skogar, they took its amazing chest ring over to the Eyvindarholar church nearby. But later, that church got demolished, and they used bits of it to build a new one in 1960.

When I swung by Hotel Skógar, I made a pit stop at this neat modern church. Turns out, their chest ring made its way to the Skógar Museum as a donation, and now it’s on display there.

Robert Robertsson

Hey, I'm the founder of Airmango. My love affair with travel and entrepreneurship kicked off in 1994 in Iceland. Fast forward through two decades, and I've been lucky enough to weave my career through five different countries. Each place has left its mark on me, not just in my personal life, but in how I approach business too. With Airmango, I'm bringing all those global insights and experiences to the table – it's like seeing the world through a business lens.