Iceland Road Trip 2016, Day 8 – Back from Highlands

posted in: Iceland, Iceland 2016 | 0

Landmannalaugar

When we fell asleep it was a rainy evening in Landmannalaugar, and when we woke up, it was a rainy morning in Landmannalaugar. But it was less rainy than the night before, which is a bonus in Iceland. So we started with a hike up the Bláhnjúkur mountain. It is the one that has a strange blue/greenish color at the base.

The Landmannalaugar camp is a very busy place. Hordes of people coming and going all the time. Camping in a tent must be very uncomfortable here, because there is just the hard, rocky terrain. No fun at all, in my view. At the end of that day, I told Alex that I did not want to return here. The place seemed too uncomfortable. This is not for my age (lol). Well, we have returned here a year later, to go on the Landmannalaugar-Thorsmörk hike, so I guess my first impression was overruled by the beauty of this area.

Landmannalaugar - Camp Site
Landmannalaugar – Camp Site
Landmannalaugar - Camp Site
Landmannalaugar – Camp Site
Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar

The path to Bláhnjúkur is straightforward, it starts on the southern side of the campsite and goes up a quite steep trail. So there is no need to buy a very basic map from the wardens. But we were bought it anyway, as a souvenir.

Bláhnjúkur
Bláhnjúkur

The hike up the mountain was not very difficult but quite steep, and after a while I stopped seeing the point of going further. I could not see the end of the hike, and it was getting close to afternoon. We had to leave the highlands soon, so I insisted on going back. Alex wanted to continue, but this time my arguments won (I don’t know how, it was a miracle [These miracles are happening pretty often, you are a regular miracle worker. 🙂 — Alex]).

Vegetation on Bláhnjúkur
Vegetation on Bláhnjúkur

We got back to our car and went on to see the last thing in Icelandic highlands for the day, Ljótipollur crater and lake.

Ljótipollur

Ljótipollur crater lake (I think it translates to English as Ugly Puddle) is a really pretty and even surreal site. You most definitely need a good 4×4 since drive up to the viewpoint was steep and rocky.

Ljótipollur
Ljótipollur
Ljótipollur
Ljótipollur

We had planned to see some other sites in the highlands that day, but the weather was not cooperating. It was rainy and most frustratingly foggy as we came down from the mountain areas. So we went straight to, well, where people live.

Háifoss

Back to civilization, hooray! But first a little detour to Háifoss waterfall. After some rocky road, we saw this beauty. No words, just OMG.

Háifoss
Háifoss
Háifoss
Háifoss
Háifoss
Háifoss
View from Háifoss's viewpoint in the opposite direction
View from Háifoss’s viewpoint in the opposite direction
Lichens near Háifoss
Lichens near Háifoss
Lichens near Háifoss
More lichens near Háifoss

Gjáin Valley

Not too far from Háifoss, there is a little gem of a valley, called Gjáin. When you see it, you start to understand why Icelanders believe in elves. It is hard to imagine that this kind of beauty just emerged by itself inside the rocky desert. It must have been the work of fairy tale folks.

Plants of Gjáin Valley
Plants of Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley Plants
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley – waterfall
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley
Gjáin Valley

That day we stayed at a farm that was a B&B and also provided evening meals and horseback riding tours. I just wanted to pet a horse. This one was willing to be petted for a small fee of an apple.

Just wanted to pet an Icelandic horse
Just wanted to pet an Icelandic horse
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