Iceland - Inland
Wandering around the car in Icelandic inland (June 2018) - map
This year plan to visit the mysterious Langisjór lake in the Icelandic inland fails in the middle of the desert in front of the traffic sign telling us that any further drive is forbidden. We apparently took off too soon. As a replacement, we enjoyed lots of beautiful views and small hikes during our car trip. Thanks to the all-terrain vehicle we could travel through the Icelandic highlands and deserts and improvise due to ever-changing local weather.
We start the first day with an excursion to the Rainbow mountains, so-called Landmannalaugar. Last year we just ran through quite fast and I felt sorry for not spending more time in this beautiful area. The walk is much appreciated by our two Icelandic newbies. It is the weather that makes the walk quite unpleasant. The disgusting morning clear sky, absolutely inappropriate for photography turn into cloudy, windy, foggy and rainy horror during the day. We spent a very unpleasant time half of our walk on a mushy endless field.
The meeting with a local ranger shows clearly that there are no options for hiking in the area. All paths and most roads and too muddy or covered with snow. Therefore we set a new distant goal: Kerlingafjöll mountains, very isolated range hidden between two huge glaciers in the middle of the island. On the way there we see and visit countless beautiful spots attractive to photographers. The first among them is Ljótipollur. An ancient colourful crater filled with water forming a gorgeous lake. We spent a night on the crater's ridge.
The morning stroll around the lake, considered for less than an hour, turns out to be a half day quest. It's really hard to estimate the distances in this wast land so strange for central Europeans. During the walk, we enjoy unbounded views of highland with lots of lakes and a huge tangle of streams of the river Tungnaá, which flows around the whole crater. To save some force we visit only easily accessible targets in the rest of the day.
Sigöldugljúfur is a fascinating little canyon hidden in the middle of lava desert. We manage to discover it by chance, following two Japanese getting out of their car. A group of small waterfalls well out of the surrounding rocks reminds me of Croatian Plitvice lakes. The Háifoss waterfall is the fourth highest on the island and surely one of the most impressive. The road leading to it is the worst we have a chance to use during our trip, the first look into the mighty canyon is worth the bypass.
The road to Kerlingafjöll mountain range leads through a monotone deserted flat land whipped by rain and wind. The sky clears finally around midnight and our target appears enlighted by the beautiful sunset. It is a photographer's dream, we have to stop every few minutes to take some pictures. We get to sleeping bags at 3 am at the bank of a beautiful river, when the sun is high again. The late breakfast is disturbed by billions of mosquitos. They do not make any noise, they're not interested in our blood, they're just insanely close.
The reward for the morning torture comes in the afternoon when we visit the geothermal area of Kerlingafjöllu. It's probably the most bestest place on the island, no matter the weather is just horrible there. We spent quite a few hours observing the combination of hot colourful landscape partially covered with ice. It's also probably the highest place reachable by car in Iceland. To recover a bit, we spend the rest of the day resting in the near tourist shelter, trying to dry all our clothes.
We came back to the same place the last-but-one day in Iceland to enjoy its beauty in a different weather. The air is briskly clear after the rain, the locals say that the northern shore is visible from here. To let the time pass more quickly we observe a family on their ski mountaineering quest. It starts raining again during the afternoon, so we take off to be able to cross the river over the road before it floods. The weather worsens to the extent that even I have to admit that it gets impossible to build a tent so we order a beautiful hut with geo hot tub.
Driving a car in the highlands is most certainly a gorgeous experience. It's not as intensive as hiking though allows improvising. Also driving through puddles right next to local pedestrian is something every lover of Icelandic nature must fell in love with.