Iceland – Day 9

R200706272014051358Day 9 (June 29th)

Click here for the Google Map (then zoom out, and click on "Hybrid" in the upper right, Google Maps lacks data for much of Iceland).

A little short of sleep today, perhaps a bit less than six hours.  Not
my preferred way to start a long day.  So the fix, slam some coffee.
The only problem in this country is the cups are about 1/3rd the size I
like, so frequent trips to the self service buffet.  Breakfast of some
small crunchy biscuit-like bread with jam (blueberry, my favorite) and
then some cheese slices, boiled egg slices, ham slices and some juice.
Next course was cereal and milk.  I knew it would be a long time to the
next meal.  We had gotten our laundry done the day before which was a
huge help.  The whole basket full for about $15 (1000 Krona) a
relative bargain, and one we both needed.

Walking outside to load the car, I knew the day would be different, the
weather was mild for the morning, and the skies clearing.  So we
departed for the north country… well that meant going a bit south
first.  We passed Lake Mývatn again, then turned north on the road that
passed Dettifoss Falls again, but on the east side of the Jökulsárgljúfur National Park.  The downstream portion looked like the Grand Canyon (left image).  Lake Myvatn looked
like a wholly different place without the wind and fog, it was clearing
in the north and warming rapidly.  We stopped again at Dettifoss Falls,
although after leaving the "ring road" (#1) and heading north on #864
was very much a wash board rattle, it was worth it.  Dettifoss was
clear, dry (mist was blowing to the side we were on before!) and
although many tourists were there, we managed to squeeze in some shots,
panos, and video.

The falls behind us, we turned north in a serious pursuit, first stop was
the settlement of Kópasker.  R200706291450511749
Population 175 give or take 10 souls
depending on which guide book you read.  We were headed as far north as
you can go on Iceland.  About 2.5 km. from the Arctic circle.  Crossing
the Melrakkaslétta plain (fox plain) to Hraunhafnartangi point.  We
stopped short of the "H" point, to photograph and video an old
abandoned farm.  Stone walls, collapsing "turf house" and other
structures, all clearly close to a century old, all vacant except for
sea breezes.

N 66’31.829 W 016’00.765 is where I turned south.  Steve’s GPS says N 66’31.492 (see his image) but he got cold and went back to the car and didn’t go as far north as I did.  Oh well, next time Steve!
In February we made
it to S65.12 before we turned north.  The Greenland Sea looked very
cold, and if the wind was any indication, IT WAS… our day had warmed
to 16 deg C (a veritable heat wave at about 61 deg. F) but out here on the plain, it was
windy and back down to 9 degrees (48 deg F).  Next stop, or in this case, cruise
by, was the village of Rauferhöfn.  And then pressing onward to Þórshöfn.

By the time we arrived at Þórshöfn it was 4:30 p.m. and we had only
consumed a granola bar and some English crackers.  So we hit the
grocery for some water, Italian salami, sliced cheese and more
crackers.  Two "sandwiches" later we mutually agreed we could survive
until some real food was available.  Note:  This is about $5 for eight pieces of salami, and $4 for a similar amount of mild cheese. 

This peninsula held the largest
fields of lupine I had ever seen.  We stopped a few times to gorge our
cameras on this visual feast.  R200706291810381817
While I was making the image at the right ready for this page, I noticed what I thought was dust on the sensor.  It was not.  It was bees swarming all over the lupine.  The area is also rich with birds, and in the late light of day, wonderfully illuminated as they watched us.

Now it was over two sets of mountains
that form the backbone of the Langanes peninsula, and Bakkaheidi range
that presses into the northeastern sea.  The latter was covered with
intermittent fog banks and banks of snow on either side of the car as
we zigged and zagged our way up and down the mountain passes.  We
stopped so many times for a while it seemed like we would never make
any progress taking so many photos.

We climbed through the clouds one more time crossing yet another
peninsula jutting into the sea, too steep on its face to allow roads
to ring its sharp edges.  We stopped for diesel fuel in Vopnafjörður (fjord of weapons).  The image at left translates to $7.69 USD/gallon.  So it was $122 for 2/3rds of a tank. 

Finally we were in Egilsstaðir and "home"
for the night. 456 km. in total.  A long day.  R200706292244201666
We’ll be here for two days.  Dessert was taken to a whole new level in Iceland here.  But the view of the lake from the grounds of the Gistihúsið Egilsstöðum at 10:45 p.m. was the best of all!


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