Waterfalls (Gullfoss) are situated in the upper part of River Hvita.
The water cascades down two steps, one 11 m high, and the other 22 m,
into the 2,5 km long canyon below. This canyon was created at the end
of the Ice Age by catastrophic flood waves and is lengthened by 25 cm
a year by the constant erosion.
Above the waterfalls
are dangerous rapids. History tells us about daredevils, who
forded the river there. One of them was a young man, who
watched his fatherís sheep every summer on the west bank of
the river. On the other side, a young woman did the same
thing for her family. They started shouting across the river
and became acquainted that way. Eventually the young man
proposed to the girl across the river and she accepted
on the condition,
that he came right away across to seal their agreement. He
did that and of course, they lived happily ever after.
In 1930 and 1948, the river was flooded to the
brim of the canyons and both times bridges further down river were
swept away. Early in the 20th century the farmer of
Brattholt, who owned the water rights of the river contracted them to
an English firm for a hydroelectric power station. The farmerís
daughter opposed this and even threatened to throw herself into the
foaming water to prevent this accident. She fought bravely alone until
a young lawyer, who later became the countryís first president, came
to her aid. Together they managed to save the waterfalls and she was
commemorated by a monument in the canyon by the waterfalls in 1978.
In the canyon,
alternating strata of lavas and moraines (till/tillite) are
obvious and tell us about warm and cold epochs of the Ice
(Saga trail South Iceland)