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If you follow "Game of Thrones," you know some scenes call for some pretty remote — not to mention freezing — locations.

I know, Jon Snow. I know. GIF via "Game of Thrones."

They look pretty majestic on screen, but one ice-cold location in particular looks even cooler in real life.


This is Vatnajökull,the largest glacier mass in all of Europe.

All images via Mikael Buck, used with permission.

Pretty spectacular, right? I mean, look at this place!

These incredible images were taken by British photographer Mikael Buck, who was the first to capture these stunning caves from the inside using a special sensor technology.

And he had to go through quite the trek just to get there.

"Accessing the best caves requires a two-hour hike each way over the glacier. To do this, you need to rope up to your hiking partners, carry an ice axe and wear crampons," Buck wrote in an email.

A local guide, Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson, made the journey possible and helped Buck go deep into the glacier in order to access the most impressive ice caves.

Because the caves can only be accessed during winter — daylight hours are limited — they had to race time to get the images Buck wanted and get back while it was still light.

But when Buck actually set foot inside the ice caves, it was pure magic.

"Entering the caves for the first time, you step into a dark hole and suddenly you are in an alien landscape. It was unlike anything I've seen before and the colours are just as vivid in real life as in the images," wrote Buck.

"The shapes and textures where the water has slowly eroded parts of the ice are amazing. If we had the time I could have happily spent hours in there staring at all the cracks and crevasses."

The caves presented some unusual challenges though.

"Inside the ice caves themselves, things can get very claustrophobic," Buck added. "At one point I was on my hands and knees crawling under the ice above in order to get to another part of the cave."

"Game of Thrones" filmed in the surrounding areas and not inside the actual caves (maybe because they would look better for an alien movie). But even if they had, the cave they would've shot then is different from the way it looks today.

You see, the appearance of Vatnajökull is constantly changing.

"Each summer, the ice moves and new caves form and old ones collapse and are never seen again," explained Buck. "The caves themselves are formed where water runs off from the surrounding slopes and into the sides of the glacier."

The sheer magnitude and beauty of these ice caves put things into perspective for Buck.

"It was an awe inspiring trip and an experience I won't be forgetting in a hurry," he said.

"As with any trip to somewhere so wild and remote, the concerns of life in the city and the world of work seem pretty trivial on your return."

As beautiful as these morphing formations may be, they may not be around forever.

Glaciologist Oddur Sigurðsson has been very outspoken about the significant shrinking that Icelandic glaciers have undergone in the past 20 years. The culprit? You guessed it: climate change.

"The caves themselves are not formed as a result of climate change, but the glacier itself is rapidly retreating," noted Buck. "Our guide pointed out the distance the glacier had retreated in his lifetime and it was quite staggering."

At the current rate the world is going, these glaciers may be completely wiped out in 200 years.

That means we would lose one of Earth's most amazing natural wonders just like that.

These images are breathtaking, but they also paint a bigger picture.

Fortunately, some necessary steps are being taken to save these marvels for future generations. The Kolviður Fund, for instance, has made it their mission to reduce CO2 emissions in Iceland by improving their forest ecosystems. By planting more trees strategically, they hope to offset the CO2 emissions generated by cars and flights and preserve the glaciers.

And works such as Buck's photo series are able to shine a light on this important cause. By spotlighting just how magnificent these remote locations are, people can better understand their value to the world and just how worth saving they really are.

So yes, winter may be coming. But in this particular case, we hope it's here to stay.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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