The climax was the Gullfoss. For half a century travelers who have reached this waterfall have given it their enthusiastic esteem, and as a "show card" for Iceland it's a winner. It is not so large, so immense; it does not possess mere physical dimensions, but it is a spectacle of astonishing beauty, and is so set in the loneliness of nature as to produce an astonishingly strong and thrilling impression. You come suddenly in view of it after the gallop over the sand plain, and its roar, the distant confused movement of the water and the shooting spires of spray fairly daunt you. Here the waters of the Hvitaau pour over one palisade of rock about forty feet high, and turning a right angle tumble about one hundred feet into the whirling resounding gulf of a narrow, deep canon that is cut southward between walls about three hundred feet high, which again farther south become almost one thousand feet in height. The upper fall is broken by intercepting partitions of rock. The falls are in process of recession, and the upper, by the more rapid removal of the possibly more easily disintegrated middle bed of rock, has slipped away from its lower companion. As the water boils and surges over the descending shelf between the upper and lower falls, it makes a very turbulent display.
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/91
A TRIP AROUND ICELAND