All the while we were headed east, we made mental notes of places we wanted to stop on the return journey (we didn’t have time to do the whole Ring Road tour). On this fourth day, we stopped and photographed many times. We started by these gorgeous Icelandic horses:
(Note the snow-capped peak at the left; that’s our next destination)
The horses were exceptionally friendly, and loved being fed fresh grass (and apples):
Our next stop was to attempt to hike to the summit of the mountain between the two horses above:
The hike up was surprisingly steep, with gorgeous views everywhere since there are no trees to obstruct the views.
From here, the hiking became steeper and scree-filled:
and finally, when we arrived at the last hundred feet of vertical, the 5th class climb was not safe due to the extremely brittle rock, so we enjoyed the amazing views:
and then headed down to the camper:
I could spend all summer hiking and trail running in Iceland. I cannot get over how amazing it is to be in this landscape completely devoid of trees with stunning views everywhere. Our next stops were places we noted earlier; first were some abandoned buildings in a horse pasture:
We were politely requested to leave the field; the farmer drove by on his ATV and opened all the doors on our camper to make it clear to us that he wanted us to leave asap.
Our next stop for the day (before camping just outside Vik were just a few locations along the road:
We camped at a picnic area a few kilometers east of Vik, and had an absolutely gorgeous display of Northern lights. The best I’ve ever seen and the first Eva’s ever seen. I chose to enjoy the rapidly changing light show without photographing it.
Eva likes to have a plan, and on this day, she was on a mission to see the icebergs at Jökulsárlón.
After leaving Vik, we drove through an flat area with many square kilometers of moss covered rock. We stopped and photographed together for some time. Here is Eva standing in the midst of the mossing area:
There were pockets of fall color if you wandered sufficiently far:
from here, we finally made it to Jökulsárlón:
This is 248 meters deep and the bay is open to the ocean, and the interaction with the relatively warmer ocean water calves huge chunks of ice off the glacier’s end and the resulting icebergs float about in and out of the bay depending on winds and tides. Some of the ice ends up on the black sand beach, leaving little jewels of ice scattered everywhere.
There’s a seal in the picture below to give you a sense of scale:
This picture strikes me as funny; almost like we have a fake photo backdrop behind us:
On our second day in Iceland, we began by bushwhacking up the hill from route 1 to get to the cliff summit by Seljalandsfoss. Here we had a great view of the floodplain from the glaciers above:
as well as a nice view of Seljalandsfoss from above:
From here, our plan was to make it to the small mountain peak shown in the Day 1’s post; but unfortunately the river that led to the waterfall was too wide to ford safely and we instead went on a hike up river until it became clear that we were not going to make it across. Nonetheless, it was a gorgeous day and we returned to the car after a few hours of pleasant hiking. For those interested, if you follow the river from Seljalandsfoss upstream, you come to yet another falls that it only visible (from the south) by precariously peering over the edge of a cliff. We didn’t photograph this falls because of this.
Continuing on route 1, we went to a geothermal fed pool — you can see the steam rising from a leaky pipe leading to the pool:
After leaving this hike and soak, we continued east and our day ended at Vik, where we camped for the night.