25 August 2014
After yesterday’s rain and cold temperatures, I am over being cold. If I had the money I probably would have just re-booked my flight to Italy and told Adam I would meet him there on the 3rd. While the country is absolutely beautiful the weather is not for the faint of heart or those who aren’t completely prepared (I think I fall into the latter). I guess it is time to suck it up and get more comfortable with the cold and enjoy.
Our first stop for the morning was a visit to popular (and for good reason) Godafoss Waterfall. This was the first time since Reykjavik that we had encountered what could be considered a large amount of tourists and even then there were only a few dozen people. The waterfall itself was stunning and impressive in the volume of water that crashed down.
From the waterfall we drove onto the Lake Myvatn area again and stopped at Dimmuborgir which is a giant old lave field where some of the tubes and vents have collapsed into unique formations.
Along the way to Lake Myvatn
After we parked the car and started walking up to the entrance, a midge decided he wanted as much carbon dioxide as he could have and dove straight into my mouth hitting the back of my throat, I tried to cough him up, but it just wasn’t going to happen some I had a nice second breakfast.
The landscape of Dimmuborgir stretches on for what looks like miles so we just explored a small section of the area for about or so before making our way back to our car.
While we didn’t stop at the blue pool in Myvatn (long term travel = trying to be cheap) but we did stop across the road to snap some pictures of the thermal pool there. At 100 celsius this pool was not for swimming, tea maybe if you like sulfur and want to burn yourself in the process, but it made for a cool sight and the sound of the large volume of water flowing out of the steam vent was almost like standing next to a jet engine.
We then continued along the road to Heverir which is full of bubbling mud pots and pungent smelling sulfur. At this point another carbon dioxide loving midge decided to fly up my nose. At this point I was hoping the winds would pick up so these little pests would go away. I guess my choice is crazy winds or bugs attacking. The landscape at Hverir was laced with all sorts of colors from the buildup of different elements escaping with the thermal steam and made for an visually entertaining if not smelly sight.
It’s amazing to think that there are only a handful of places on the earth that you can see sights like this and we’ve now seen two between Rotorua, NZ and here. When we get back to the states we’ll have to plan a trip to Yellowstone so we can see all the volcanic activity there as well.
After getting our fill of sulfur we made our way up to Viti Crater. This crater which you can drive right up to has some crazy beautiful thermal waters at the bottom of a small caldera. With Askja is closed this will have to suffice as our crater lake experience.
Geothermal shower anyone?
On our way out of town we wanted to check out Dettifoss waterfall, but Mother Nature has decided our plans for us and it was not to be. With the pending eruption of Bardarbunga all the areas north of the volcano have been closed.
There is approx. 150-400 meters of glacial ice sitting above the volcano so once the magma touches ice, well I am sure you passed fourth grade science and can figure out what happens next.
As we were approaching the town where we’d be spending the night, we saw a sign for Bustarfell with the point of interest sign next to it. Since we didn’t want to miss anything cool and so far those signs have lead us to some good sites, we decided to check it out. The road took us up and over the ridge to another beautiful valley when we thought that maybe the lookout point was a point of interest. However we kept on driving thinking that could not have been the spot. And we were right; Bustarfell was an inn and a museum. You should have seen the looks on our faces, ‘what, we took the longer way just for this crap!’ But the road out was lovely and we got to see the stunning coastline across the way and knew we would have to explore that area on our way out of town. When we got to the campsite we had a good laugh as there was a flyer for Bustarfell, touting that it was one of regions only turf roof homes and had period style furnishings.
In the evening we took a walk around town, which took less than 10 minutes, and the place felt like a ghost town. The shops were closed and outside of the few cars we saw drive by you would have thought no one lived here. We found the local info center which was the front section of the café/restaurant and we picked up lots of great maps and brochures about East Iceland along with some small guides that a local had put together on places to go for hikes. Finally we found a place where there are a few short hour/hour long hikes. It has really been a challenge to find short trails. Most of the trails here are for trekking, ie 3-5 hikes where you can book huts along the way. Or maybe this is a sign that we are moving away from the desolate no man’s land of Iceland to the more populated and well-travelled routes.
Today’s Travel: Heidarbaer to Vopnafjordur with a stop in the Lake Myvatn region. We took the 87 North and looped around the way we came into town to the 85 to the 845 and back on the 1 to Godafoss. It was then back on the 1 where we came in further south on Lake Myvatn up and back down the 863. We were then on the road to the next destination which had us back on the 1, with a quick stop at the 862 to see that the road was closed, to the 85 when a point of interest sign caught our eye and we jumped on the 920 into town.
Accommodations: Vopnafjordur Campsite. We picked this site based on the facilities the campsite guidebook said this place had. However it was all just one big exaggerated truth. While the town itself had the facilities, like a place to buy food, wine, cooking facilities, this campsite just had two toilets, a shower, and three sinks for doing dishes. Although looking across the water at the snowcapped mountains while brushing my teeth, wasn’t too bad.