Mývatn & Hvirir
Finally, a sunny and nearly wind free day! Driving to Mývatn from Akureyri we’re doubling back to where we passed yesterday, but the landscape changes with the weather. Not far outside of town the lake at Ljósavatn was a mirror that was difficult to ignore while driving past.
Driving back along Mývatn, the park and trails at Höfði gave us the mythical Icelandic forest that people joke about (you can get lost in there), where snowy trails led us to lava pillars rising from the lake and a few flocks of migrating birds. Dimmuborgir was next - a network of rocky lava pillars and caves that makes everyone think of elves/trolls/dark arts etc. I was looking for pale goth-y death metal types on a pilgrimage, but only discovered European tourists in colorful jackets taking selfies.
Not far away is Grjotaga, where the earth seems to have cracked in half, leaving a warm-water filled cave that proves to be a treacherous climb down while trying to protect the DSLR and myself from going for a swim. It’s eerie, dark, and hard to not want to jump in the water, if only for a moment.
Back on the ring road we head back east, past a geo thermal lake where a spout of high-pressure boiling water violently empties out, and signs everywhere warn of water pockets nearing 100C. No swimming here…
Climbing over the hill we come to Hvirir, a volcanic area of steam vents, boiling mud, bad smells and hot earth. And tourists. It’s a desolate, wild place of violently venting steam, mud and wildly colored earth.
We decided to check out Dettifoss, a bit further east, which proved to be a 1km hike in. I didn’t go all the way to the falls, but found a good vantage point and some interesting quiet landscapes of snow and rock, all starting to shimmer and melt.
Long drive back to Akureyri. Passed out pretty quickly.