Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/87

This page has been validated.
PSM V72 D087 The kalfstinder mountains.png
The Kalfstinder Mountains.

hay ricks and outlying folds are embraced, and curiously the floor of the enclosure around the houses is raised with turf, so that the whole resembles a low diminutive fortification. It seems probable that this is done to give stability to the "living unit," and enable it to withstand the mountain streams which surge around it in the spring freshets, when the mountain snows melt and to them is added the burden of deluging rains.

When we left this ideally placed homestead, in full view of the remote jökulls, of Heckla, of the Lagarvatn and its boiling caldrons, we followed the trend of the mountains, descending also to the plain below, crossing streams and zig-zagging over misleading trails. Gradually an intervening range on the horizon shut off Heckla, all but its steely cap, and over a soggy morass—the footing in such places is perilous from buried quicksands—we passed around a low mountain and found ourselves on the inclined plain of the Geyser basin, the steaming water holes emitting white plumes of condensed vapor over its verdureless tract. Long before we reached this expectant point where the object of our long journey revealed itself, we crossed one of