September 25 – We woke up REFRESHED! Yes, that was an amazing night of sleep in a bed for sure. We slept in, showered, got our stuff together and packed, and then loaded up the car. We walked over to the lobby and had a great breakfast (passed on the beef tongue though) and embarked on the next day of our adventure! There was A LOT going on today, and our first “scheduled” stop was in Jökulsárlón…
Right on the Ring Road, this place is a magnificent place that leaves you speechless, except for the aforementioned “WOW” and “CRAZY!” of course. 🙂 Even before you reach it you’re driving along with massive glaciers off to the right, and you just have to stop and take it all in. Even though it was raining steadily, we spent awhile walking around looking at the icebergs floating by. By now the number of tourists had grown considerably, and tour buses became much more frequent.
We continued on and eventually got to our next stop: Skaftafell! Skaftafell is incredible! The visitors center has a nice gift shop and trail maps (you really don’t need one though). Dexter and I parked and went inside, then came out to “gear up”. We put our day-packs together and off we went! Right out of the parking lot you cross the campground to the trail. It’s well marked and starts climbing almost immediately. We opted for the S4 trail which is steeper but follows a glacier up into the mountains. It’s a day hike for sure, and be prepared for the wind! Actually, it’s been pretty windy since we got here, so there’s that.
We climbed/walked/hiked for awhile and eventually decided to stop for a late lunch. The views continued to astound us of course, but soon we turned to head toward Svartifoss. The walk there was long as well, and the crowds continued to grow. I can’t imagine what it’s like during the height of tourist season, but it must be bananas trying to move around. The waterfall was interesting to say the least, but it was the basalt columns that truly are captivating, at least to me. We took some photos and continued on, eventually circling back to the car.
I checked the desk in the information center to find out how much camping was and since it proved expensive, we opted to continue toward Vik to find something else. We passed by a cairn “farm” that was perplexing to say the least, but there’s a cool story about here. Eventually we reached Vik but it was getting late. We stopped at a supermarket to resupply and drove to a small turn-off on the side of the road just west of town and decided we’d just car camp there. The road was busy, loud, and the lights were bright. Also and probably more importantly, there was a huge cliff above us with a sign for falling rocks, so we opted to drive back through town and try to find another place to sleep. Just east outside of Vik we found a small dirt road that turned south. We pulled in, drove about 100 meters in, and backed the car to a spot behind a large mound of dirt. As we shut off the engine in the waning daylight, we heard the ocean. It was a great place to stay, and soon we were drifting off to sleep to the sounds of waves crashing on a still unseen beach.
For a photo tour of today’s adventures, click on the picture below: