So it turns out when you go to Iceland you see a million billion waterfalls, known in Icelandic as a “foss.” And somewhere along the driving around in order to fight “Foss Fatigue” the Cendes Waterfall Scale was established in an attempt to maybe keep track and categorize them, plus something to amuse while searching for adventure on the Icelandic highway.
So for example to start, this waterfall, Öxarárfoss, was a nice-but-smallish waterfall aesthetically, so normally I’d give it a rating of around 4.5 on my scale. There was a slight catch though in where the waterfall is located that gives it a bonus however, as it’s in Þingvellir National Park literally on the continental shelf- the stone wall you’re looking at is actually the North American plate! (There is a large gap in the park after which you can see the Eurasian plate, so this photo was snapped in the ‘no mans land’ between continents. There are lots of cracks in the park and you can actually dive/snorkel in one called Silfra… but that’s another story!) I’m not an idiot and seeing a waterfall where it’s literally on the edge of a continent ups is coolness factor, hence we’ll give this one a 5.5.
Now that it’s an explained system we can move along here to another waterfall-
This here is known as Skógafoss, which was an impressive height and size but there wasn’t that much to it really. And since I’m a bit particular about my waterfall scoring, it gets a 6.
Svartifoss (Black Falls) was my second favorite- there was a nice ~2km hike up to the waterfall with a few nice waterfalls (with a rating of around 4) on the way up. The geology itself was super neat too- the mountain is made up of basalt columns made by cooled lava, and then over time the water has eroded the layers down to what you see today. So very nice, and is thus granted a 7.
My favorite waterfall though was hands down this one, Seljalandsfoss (really rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?). It was quite a high waterfall in itself- there are people in the picture for scale you can see- but while from the front it was definitely a nice-but-ordinary waterfall for this part of the world, something else made it very special. Turns out you can go behind this one!
A giant wall of water in a great big mossy space. As the Waterfall Scale implies I’ve seen a lot of these in my time, but this was the first time I could recall walking behind one and trust me, it’s neat. You don’t really think of waterfalls as three dimensional normally in my experience, but this one definitely looked much cooler for it!
So because of its general prettiness combined with the miniature adventure of being the first waterfall I could walk around, Seljalandsfoss topped the trip’s scoring with a score of 9. Although pictures don’t really do these things justice let me know if you want to argue any of the scoring here… and I’m particularly curious to hear if anyone else rates waterfalls!