Starting Location: Akureyri, Iceland
Ending Location: Egilisstaðir, Iceland
Distance Traveled: 340 KM.
Let’s set the record straight right now. I have done all the driving up until today. We had never been lost, had to back track or gotten the vehicle stuck. Today, I did not drive. I took a day off. The previous two days I drove everything.
So, 1 minute after leaving Akureyri this morning, Chris and Tim make a wrong turn. Thankfully, it only took 25 minutes to figure out the mistake. So with 50 minutes lost the boys decide to take a “shortcut” over a mountain, instead of staying on dry well paved roads.
This is where we leave our mark on Iceland. Two nice deep and 50 meter long ruts on an ice packed muddy road. The only consolations were that it was a beautiful view and I had nothing to do with driving there or picking it as our route.
Akureyri is the town on the other side of the fjord. It is the second largest city in Iceland, population 17,304.
Thankfully, we had a Land Rover 4×4 and after some tense minutes of rocking the car back and forth at the edge of the slope, we made it out. Good thing we decided not to wash the car that morning. We are sure that the next driver up that stretch of mountain pass will not be too happy with how we left their road.
Planned Stop 1: Basically this was the stop of the day. It involved a variety of volcanic geologic sites all within 30 KM of each other. Through a variety of stops near Lake Myvatn.
While there we saw and learned about pseudo craters. While the look like volcanoes they are actually the result of steam escaping through a lava flow.
A bit further down the road we found a unique flow of lava that flowed, cooled on top and bottom and then continue to flow underneath until a broke free leaving tunnels, rooms, dikes and eventually a collapsed ceiling (Dimmuuorir). It was a surreal landscape. We took our daily portrait here.
Even further down our path we ran across boiling pots of mud and huge steam vents. It was a surreal landscape of sulfur stench and boiling pots of mud and wind-blown steam. Real men like my brother and I could endure the smell while mere boys stayed up wind with fingers firmly pinching their noses.
Just across the road was a power plant running completely on the steam escaping from the vents. While so much thermal energy there you ask? Good question. It is because there is still an active volcano there. Signs and guidebooks advise you to enter at your own risk. Recently the dome (not Conical) volcano has been expanding which precedes an eruption. We are adventurers and decided to go for it! Here are shots of the Krafla Power Station steam plant and the snow-covered crater. Note, the power plant is the building under the towering steam cloud (middle right). It is easily 80 feet tall!
Just to balance our day – we left the hot steam mud pots and headed for a 140 KM drive across a wind and snow swept plateau. It was unbelievable how desolate it was. Easily 75 KM of nothing but gravel and rocks. One Building in 70 KM. The wind was easily 50 KM and hour and it was about 4C. We stopped for a look about. Note the pile of rocks in the foreground, they are common trail or memory markers across Iceland. We were told it was bad luck to not put a rock on one as you passed it. Tim (son ) built his own – since he thought he was going to need good luck when his mother found out that he walked on top of an active volcano with a pending eruption!.
We ended our day with a trip down the plateau into the valley. We saw many waterfalls as the snows are melting.
Plans for Tomorrow: Tomorrow we drive down the east coast of the island to Hofn. Expected distance of 188 KM or about 3 hours.