“Hraunfossar – Wide View” – Western Iceland
“In Iceland, water is everywhere. It surrounds the land itself. Water courses from high mountaintops, bursts from the ground, itself, and flows in endless ribbons over the ancient stone, cleansing the blackened and tortured landscape. The water rarely stands still, as if it’s the lifeblood of the land itself.”
– Ed Lehming
Today, as we headed toward the town of Borgarnes, on Iceland’s western coast, we pulled out a map and plotted a route that took us from the coast, inland to the high mountains, lava fields, and glaciers of south-eastern Iceland.
Along this route we picked a few points of interest, including Hraunfossar, a low and wide waterfall along the Hvítá river. The fall is unusual in that they burst forth from underground along the Hallmundarhraun, which is a massive lava plain that dominates this region. It’s strange to see this amount of water coming from the side of a hill, just below the vegetation. In fact, you hardly notice it at first.
I spent quite some time here, enjoying the scene before me and making many long exposure images of different parts of the waterfall.
Just above Hraunfossar is Barnafoss, a violent cascade created by the massive volumes of water from the glacial Hvítá river. Barnafoss, which translates into “the children’s waterfall” is named after a local tale that on a Christmas Eve many years ago two children in the Hraunsás household who were supposed to stay home while the parents went to church for Christmas Mass. When the parents returned from mass, they discovered that the children had disappeared (possibly because the children got bored and decided to go out). They then followed the children’s tracks to this waterfall at the stone natural bridge where the tracks disappeared. The mother concluded that the children must have fallen into the river and drowned. Thus, the name.
From here we traveled yet further inland, having mapped a course back to Borgarnes along a highway that looked like many of the unpaved roads we have travelled on this trip, only out find it had been re-designated as an “F” road, one of Iceland’s inland mountain roads, thus our rental car was forbidden to travel it.
Rather than simply turn back, we re-navigated to another gravel road that followed a less mountainous path along the opposite shore of the Hvítá river. In doing this loop, we did cross the Hvítá on a high plain and looked upstream to the glaciers that birthed it, making the detour interesting.
And so, we headed towards tonight’s destination: Borgarnes, a coastal town along the western cost to plan out our final few adventures in this astoundingly beautiful country.
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 70mm
1/.0 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200
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