“Berufjörður” – Djúpavogshreppur, East Iceland
“Welcome to driving Iceland, where every turn in the road opens up a brand new and astounding vista. Just when you think you have found the most beautiful sight in the world, another competes with it in an endless play of wonders.”
– Ed Lehming
Today’s theme is mountains, fjords, and glacial streams. First, the mountains are really a continuation of yesterdays mountains, though in line with my quote, the mountains today, as we departed Höfn, had a slightly different character than the glacial mountains we travelled through yesterday. Today’s mountains were ancient and terraced, made deep in under the oceans and heaved up by tectonic forces. They remind me of the Rocky Mountains of North America, with their angular peaks and banded appearance.
Between these rows of mountains, deep fjords cut into the coast of East Iceland, stretching for many kilometers inland and forcing roads to cling tenaciously to the edges of the mountains.
The fjords certainly added to our travel, but what a sight to see; enormous mountains to one side and fingers of the Atlantic Ocean reaching far into the valleys between. It was astounding to look back across and see the fine thread that represented the road we had just traveled, along the edge of the water.
Within the valleys of the snow-covered mountains, nearly every crack and crevasse flowed with clear, ice-cold, melt water. I can imagine this place in late spring. The hills must be completely awash with water.
I could not resist filling my water bottle at the base of a 1,085 meter high mountain. It was an amazing experience to drink this ice-cold elixir while looking high up to the peak that created it, the cool mountain breezes blowing on my face and refreshing my very soul. This, is glacier water, not the stuff marketed with pictures of mountains! This is the real deal.
We neared our day with a 6 km. drive though a tunnel carved below Kollufell Mountain, shortening our drive by some 35 km. Before settling in our room in Egilsstaðir, we decided to take drive around the long lake that if formed within the Lagarfljót River, Lagarfljót Lake.
At the south end of the lake is a trailhead that leads to Hengifoss, a VERY steep, 2.5 km hike up the side of one of the river valley’s bounding mountains. We made it to just past the 1 km mark, beaten by high winds, cold, and exhaustion, being the end of the day. At this point in the ascent, we were greeted by Litlanesfoss, a smaller falls below Hengifoss. I took the time to make a few photos and began our decent.
At the end of the day, a nice bowl of Icelandic lamb stew in Egilsstaðir made up for the cold and the memory of the experience with stay with me for a long time.
iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/2179 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20
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