Day 2 roadtrip
We woke up early this morning, not of our own accord, but by trucks roaring past our heads. I climbed out of the tent and rubbing hazy eyes proceeded to wait for the all clear to pee by the side of the road. Now that’s what I call a squat challenge. Ah, nature.
▣ Highly recommend ▣ Boring but safe ▣ Shit. Boring, strenuous & dangerous ▣ Incomplete
What I thought’d happen
A relaxing day road tripping, la la la
What actually happened
Got pissed off at tourists, ate what I can only explain as death and camped by the side of the road in a ditch.
We slurped down a bowl of cereal in the car, sheltering ourselves from the shivering winds outside, then zipped off down the road. We were heading north to some fancy basalt columns the self guide had mentioned..
Basalt columns are basically long hexagonal rock columns, formed from lava that cracks and contracts as it cools over time. Once these cracks develop they continue to grow, sometimes forming curious geometric patterned cliffs stretching hundreds of meters into the air.
These particular columns (I forget their name, eh) were OK, but they were a little haggard and beaten down. They were also in the middle of nowhere. If you haven’t seen basalt columns before then you may as well stop on your way past, otherwise if you lack time, I’d recommend visiting more interesting formations such as Reynisdrangar, at Vik, or those behind Svartifoss, at Skaftafell.
Skaftafell / Vatnajökull national park
This shot shows Skaftafellsjökull glacier from above, which you can also see from the ring road just before Vatnajökull national park. Look out for the giant tour buses and the people spewing out from within with point and shoots in hand.
The trail we hiked took us to Sjonarnipa, which is the flat boggy plateau where the above picture was taken. On the way back we took a detour to visit Svartifoss (black fall), which derives its name from the black basalt columns behind it. Again, it’s preeeetty cool but not really drool material.
What WAS drooling though, was an Italian tourist as he slid across a rickety bridge on his buttocks like a dog wiping a turd. The look on his face was pure terror, it was almost as if the tiny stream below was about to devour him. Here’s a photo of the bridge he faced death on:
Jökulsárlón (glacial river lagoon)
Jokulsarlon is a modern painters dream. The large glacial lake, reflecting pastel blue iceberg bellies, the dappled grey gulls, fluffed and nesting on pebbled shores, and the oily heads of ashen seals, dipping through silken water, is an incredible orchestration of colour.
Icebergs gather at the shallow mouth of the lake’s exit, jostling for space, cracking and cackling like ice blocks in soda. Occasionally a thunderous groan is produced as two icebergs collide, sending sheaths of ice sliding, slopping, down into the satin water.
Further down the lake entrance, icebergs shuffle out to sea like dutiful soldiers, bobbing and dissolving in mist. Some lucky stragglers escape, beached like giant diamonds on the dark sandy shores.
Jökulsárlón is hands down one of my favourite places in the world.
We made it as far as Hofn tonight, which isn’t too far further than Jökulsárlón. Hofn is a quaint fishing town which according to the number of restaurants we found specialising in it, can be assumed is famous for its lobster. We went for dinner at Kaffi Hornith and ate reindeer and lobster burgers. Not too expensive and fucking delicious.
Last but not least, we decided to camp at a paid campsite tonight. We were simply too cold and tired to bother with a re-enactment of last night’s antics.
What I learned today:
- I might be getting tired of hiking
- Re: the best things in life are free