Day 2, Iceland

I ended last evening with a comment that I would stay up to try and see the northern lights…well, I think they eluded me once again! I actually stayed up until 12:30 am, and accompanied by Dan, this was the best I got! The sky was clear and there were definitely some colours, but no dancing lights! Oh well…3 more sleeps!

Some definite rainbow like colours in the sky….it was probably going crazy out there after I went to bed!

Staying up for almost 48 hours with maybe 1.5 hours of sleep made me a very tired puppy…especially after all the hiking we did yesterday as well. Needless to say, we slept well last night…maybe a little too well! I foolishly turned off my morning alarm and finally woke up at 10:15, or 15 minutes after breakfast finished! I quickly showered and then went over to the lobby where I pleaded insanity, and they sweetly put together a breakfast plate for Dan and I with a couple of piping hot coffees! I can’t recommend this place enough!

After a quick bite, we got ourselves ready to head out for our adventure. This trip was another recommended via our manager’s currated QR code in the lobby and would take us inland to do some exploring.

The drive began going north fairly quickly over a wide plateau littered with signs of past lava flows. It’s interesting here how the lava rock first attracts moss and then grass begins to grow and soil generation is started. Moss and plant life are very fragile and widely protected here.

Our first stop was Hjalparfoss falls. Here we saw a lovely waterfall surrounded again by a complex basalt formation formed as a result of cooling lava.

These falls remind me of Virginia Falls on the Nahanni Rive in the NWT / Canada… not as tall, but still spectacular. Look at the wonderful basalt formations!
Falls from another angle, here shown carving through more basalt deposits.

From here, we wanted to venture a little deeper into the countryside, but alas we’ll have to save that for another trip as the road was closed to everything except super ATV’s. Yes, there’s such a beast! You see them coming down the road in giant jacked up tires…ready to ford any shallowish stream and make it through the worst the spring thaw can throw at you. Our little Toyota hybrid wasn’t up for the task!

We decided to go a different route back to see if we could visit the Hekla Centre. The drive was rugged, and we arrived at the centre to find that it was by appointment only this time of year. No worries, as we took in more scenery including lava remnants left from Hekla’s last blow in 2000.

Broken up lava rock as far as the eye can see…left over’s rom Hekla’s last temper tantrum! They say she’s overdue for another!

From there we headed south again to join up with the highway that would take us out towards the falls that we saw yesterday. Today, we planned a stop at the Lava Centre to learn something about the dramatic formation of this isolated island. Our visit included a movie that depicted the volcanic activity throughout history…no words, making it understandable in any language!

A modern Lava Centre that even has an interpretive viewing point on the roof that explains the variety of volcanic scenes that you can see from 360 degrees.
An interesting display Adding volcanic eruptions over time.
The Lava Centre is just a few miles from the Eyjafjalljokul eruption which closed down Heathrow airport for over a week in 2010! The location of this site (and accompanying interpretive centre) is only 30 km from the Lava Centre itself.

We had been in the car quite enough for one day, so we decided to return to Skogafoss and take in the hike above the falls that we left out yesterday. It was definitely time to stretch our legs!

To begin the Hike, we needed to climb to the top of the falls which are about 60m high, or 6-7 storeys! Then it was all uphill from there!

Once at the top of Skogafoss, we followed a well marked trail that over looked the river valley and found more falls along the route. All spectacular!

Fosstorfufoss. Look at the lava debris!
Hestavaosfoss; Another interesting canyon be carved here.
…and as we turned around, we could see the path of the lava field from Eyjafjalljokul, where it ran into the sea.

It was time to turn back for home, and face going down all those stairs we came up!

Down, down down we went!
While there was no rainbow, we still felt pretty happy after our trek! The good news about it being an overcast day was that the crowds were greatly reduced!

We made it back safe and sound to our hotel by 7, just in time for dinner. It will be an early night for us as we wish to head all the way over to the Diamond Beach and Glacial Bay which is about a 3.5-4 hour drive one way tomorrow! The hotel staff think we’re crazy, but we just said no, we’re just Canadians!

That’s it for today. Looking forward to talking tomorrow!

Categories: Hiking in Iceland and the UK

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