Day 3: May 21, 2014

We caught up on some much needed shut eye and ended up starting our day around 11:30AM… and what a day it was! We reviewed our options for adventures around Lake Myvatn and settled on Dimmuborgir – a collection of volcanic rock! Let me pause to say this now: the vast differences in terrain in Iceland is unreal. We were just at a gorgeous lake and a few miles away there was a land of volcanic rocks (and geothermal pools, and a tundra, and a beautiful waterfall…).

Dimmuborgir was sweet! We chose the “difficult” path which ended up being perfect for us.

After our Dimmuborgir hike, we got back in Roo, drove another few miles, and ended up in Hverir – a geothermal site… it looked like Mars. We could smell the sulfur from Roo and, though the scent was a little overwhelming, the sights were DOPE. Here we are on Mars:

Upon return to Earth (Roo), we decided that our last stop in the Lake Myvatn area would be Viti – a crater a little ways away. As we drove towards it, the terrain changed again and eventually turned from Mars to tundra. The road ended abruptly due to snow:

… and we began to think that Viti wasn’t going to look how we had imagined that it would. Welp, we had come all that way, so we got out of Roo and braved the tundra to check out Viti.

Our version of Viti:

Yep. But hey, at least Roo looked good:

Our next stop was Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. After Viti, I was honestly a little worried that it’d be frozen over (good one, Tor). I was very wrong. We went towards Dettifoss on Route 1 (aka Ring Road, which is absolutely worth driving when in Iceland. It’s gorgeous). Dettifoss was actually located off of the garmin… as in the garmin did not recognize Dettifoss area as anything. We found it, though! Note: Iceland is super chill about its attractions… it was kind of through tuition that we found the parking to hike to the waterfall. There were no, “Dettifoss: 10 miles” etc. signs. Surprisingly, you can’t hear the waterfall until you are pretty close to it (which only increased my fear that the waterfall had frozen over). Here is how wrong I was:

Getting close to Dettifoss is definitely worth it, but the mist makes it a FREEZING cold experience. On the hike back, we realized that we could take another route to see Dettifoss’s sister waterfall, Selfoss. Exhausted, we gazed from afar:

Our next destination was Jokulsarlan – the largest glacier in Iceland! On route to Jokulsarlan, we realized that, in Iceland, a true town is distinguished by a Bonus and a gas station. It is crazy how isolated the northern and eastern parts of Iceland are. You drive past these small communities (maybe 3 or 4 homes – sometimes there is only 1 home for miles and miles!) and the “towns” have maybe 6 or 7 homes, a Bonus, and a gas station.

A town:

After filling up Roo, we decided that we would sleep in Hofn, a town that the garmin recognized about an hour from Jokulsarlan. We had no idea what awaited us. We took a road off of Route 1 because the garmin said so. It wasn’t paved, but it was bumpy, windy, and hilly as all hell. It ended up taking us into the snowy glaciers of Iceland and we were SO scared. Scared of the car breaking down. Scared of slipping off the road. Oh my goodness. These pictures do not do it justice:

To our total amazement, this same road led us to the most magical, Lord of the Rings-esque landscape. There are no words for this place. If you ask either of us, we’ll tell you it was the best part of the trip. It was so beautiful.

Once back on Route 1, we saw some reindeer and some more gorgeous driving views!

We arrived in Hofn around 10:00PM and it was the most town-like town we had seen yet! It looked like a very small version of an American ocean town. The gas station in Hofn had a microwave, so Katie and I heated up our veggie ramen – it was such a treat to have a warm meal. We ended up parking in a designated camping area with a truly breathtaking view of some snow capped mountains and the water. We had earned our sleep that night!

 

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