lavarocks

The Icelandic Adventure: Day 3 continued- On the road to Höfn

I left Reynisfjara beach, as hard as that was to do, but I had only a slight idea of the adventures that were waiting for me. The drive was about 3 hours to the next destination of rest, Höfn, a fishing town that sits on the South East corner of Iceland. I left around 12pm, so I planned to arrive there around 5pm, allowing time for sight seeing along the way, as I didn’t want to drive in the dark. 

I headed out Road 1, towards Höfn. My journal entry recalls “The drive was so boring, and I came across long period of times of just flat land, nothing around me and it was raining the entire time.“ 

This was true. I remember there wasn’t much on the way to where I found my next adventure at the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon ( try pronouncing that one!) 

Right before coming into the area where the canyon was, on both sides of the road are these awesome mossy lava rocks that stretch on for miles.  I wanted to stop over and take some photos and I kept looking for the perfect spot.

Interesting Fact: The Eldhraun lava field is the result of a catastrophic volcanic eruption that occured in 1783-1784. It created vast lava fields that are twelve metres thick and cover a total area of five hundred and sixty kilometres. The consequences of this eruption were enormous with 20% of the Icelandic population killed. The ash and debris ejected was responsible for crops failing right across Europe. Some historians claim this eruption was a major trigger for the French Revolution in 1789.

 I felt like I was in a Dr.Seuss book. The moss was cold and damp, but I didn’t mind sitting down in it and even closing my eyes for a moment to bask in the moment. Probably could have taken a nap. 

After adventuring in what appeared to be a children’s storybook, it started to rain, urging me to continue driving. I continued eastbound. I wondered if the rain was ever going to let up!

I was approaching what would be such an incredible and unforgettable sight, Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon.  The canyon was created by erosion of the flowing water from glaciers through the rocks over the millennia. The canyon walls, which have now freestanding rock cliffs, tower over 1000 feet into the air, dropping all the way down into the river below. The canyon is about 2km long. It’s believed the canyon is roughly 2 billion years old! 

You can see me atop one of the cliffs, to show you a scale and beauty of this incredible place. This place felt prehistoric, and untouched only by nature’s erosion.

There is a guided pathway for some lookout points, but beyond the roped path, I saw countless opportunities for exploring.

Every time I made it over to the near edge, it was terrifying, but thrilling at the same time. I was immersed in such beauty all around me, but one wrong step and I would be tumbling down towards the river.

It was still raining while I was here, so I had to keep my footing careful, and pay attention. This place was a different world and I will never forget these views.

Looking back on my time spent here, I wish I stayed long and explored more of this area. It was so spacious and expansive. I could have spent hours here but I needed to get to Höfn at a decent hour.

Leaving the canyon was hard, I think leaving anywhere that is as breathtaking as Iceland, is hard. I made the hike back to the car, and settled for a few minutes. Thinking about the magical moments I just experienced. I sometimes had to pinch myself ( not really, but you know) that I was here, solo, traveling around and adventuring. I spoke about doing this, and here I was, doing it. 

That’s when magic happens, when you do what you say you’re gonna do.

I continued on to Höfn. It was starting to get late, and I still had about 2.5 hours of driving before me. I passed the incredible Jökulsárlón on my way and was so tempted to pull over and explore it but with the time, I did not want to feel rushed. I decided since I was ahead of my schedule anyways, I could afford to backtrack and come back the following day, so I zoomed on by it, while catching peeks at the chunks of glacier washed up on the beach.

Zipping over to Höfn was a beautiful drive. There was a flat marsh section not too far from the town, called Hoffell, which is a farmland area, where I saw Elk grazing. Behind this marsh you could see the Hoffellsjökull Glacier creeping its way down towards it in the distance.

I wanted to get to Höfn in time before the pool closed ( Tip: if you are either camping or renting a camper, head to the pools to get showered up, they are cheap and why not go for a swim and maybe a hot tub) 

 I didn’t make it in time, but on my way in, I saw a cute campground ( what does cute campground even mean ha, it had little cabins maybe ) , with a few campers parked in it. So I decided to head in there. This particular campsite would cost me $15 to park, and use their facilities, aka shower etc. I didn’t mind shelling that out, as I saved on the last night in Vik. I thought about maybe staying two nights in Höfn. I would see how it panned out.  All I knew was that the Fall Horse Round up was in North Iceland was about 5 or 6 days away, and I needed to work my itinerary around those days.

I decided I would head into the town and see where I could eat. I decided upon a nice restaurant called Pakkhús which overlooks the harbour.  I was the only solo diner in the place, where it was filled with couples, friends or families. I decided on the Langoustine Pizza. Treat yo’self they say.

$35 ( was not cheap to dine out) and a full stomach later I made my way back to the campsite and went to shower. I was finally given a towel. After three days of not using a towel to dry myself off, this was quite the treat. 

I went in and showered off, how great it was to use a towel. I used the hand dryer in the washroom to blow dry my hair- talk about innovative. Only to learn afterwards, they actually had hair dryers.

I snuggled in to bed, I was exhausted. I would wake up tomorrow morning and conquer Jökulsárlón, the glacier lagoon!