Iceland - Day 8

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Hengifoss - Upper Streambed


Sod House above Lögurinn

Mountains of the East Fjords

On the coast by the East Fjords

East Fjords north of Höfn

After a wonderful breakfast buffet we left Hotel Hérað, and stocked up on lunch items at the supermarket next door. Then we drove across the street to the gas station, which also had hoses and brushes with automatic soap, for washing cars. With so many gravel roads, cars can get very dirty here, and many of the gas stations have such setups - we were able to do this almost every day. It was nice to be able to see out of the windows again!

We departed Egilsstaðir and went south on the west side of Lögurinn, a long and narrow lake. We went perhaps 40 km to find the site of the third highest waterfall in Iceland, Hengifoss ("hanging falls"). The Hertz guidebook called this an "easy walk." An hour and a half later, walking mostly what seemed to be straight up as well as along the edge of 200-foot precipices - the way down would be all granulated lava if you happened to slip - we arrived first at the lower falls, named Lítlanesfoss. This waterfall was absolutely awesome, and made the effort totally worthwhile. We continued upward to Hengifoss, which was also beautiful - nearly 400 feet high - although not as spectacular as Lítlanesfoss.

Not surprisingly, the hike back down was much faster. Getting back into our trusty vehicle, we then crossed the river and turned back north, looking for the forestry commission at Hallormsstaður. There is a reforestation program here, where they are attempting to find what species of tree will grow best in this climate. The hope is that when they determine what tree that is, it will allow a return to the pre-Viking Iceland which was "covered by woods from mountain to shore." We saw some beautiful forests, but missed the Tree Museum.

We had a lovely picnic lunch in a sunny grove of trees, and finally began our journey south at about 2:30. We drove along the eastern coast of Iceland, where the fjords were beautiful and the hairpin turns scary (remember, no guardrails here!).

Of course, we arrived safely in Höfn by 6:30, and what an amazing sight! The glacier Vatnajökull is by far the largest in Europe - actually it is bigger than all the other glaciers added together. The view coming into Höfn from the north of the glacial tongues spreading out from the main icecap is just spectacular.

This night's stay was at Hotel Höfn, which offered very nice accommodations and a delicious dinner.

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