Skaftafell National Park Trip || Part III

Skaftafell National Park, Iceland

At the end of September, six friends and I rented a van and drove to Skaftafell National Park for a three day camping/ hiking adventure. This is my final set of photos from that trip (part one and part two). The sunset on the way down from Kristínartindar (day 2)  lit up the low brush in orange, red, and gold in front of snow covered mountains glowing a faint pink.

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On our way down we visited two waterfalls, most notably, Svartifoss (black falls). It’s named for the dark, looming basalt columns that hang in a semi-circle around the fall.

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That night, we laid out on the grass by our tent, wrapped in blankets but still freezing, to look at the stars. I lived in the country in Maryland, but I’ve never seen a night sky that even comes close to what we saw that night. The milky way was remarkably bright, and we counted a dozen shooting stars and twice as many satellites.

Night camping in Iceland

One of the guys on the trip was a skilled photographer, and he took a few great shots of us lying by the tents (above) and of the starry sky (below).
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We woke up at 5 the next morning to drive to Jökulsárlón (the Glacial Lagoon) to see the sunrise over the icebergs that break off from the glaciers and float in the lagoon before drifting in to the sea. We wandered along the shore and spotted a few seals swimming among the huge chunks of ice. 

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Then we drove across the shore road to the black sand beach. The icebergs that wash out to sea then wash back on to the beach, creating a magnificent contrast against the volcanic sand. We spent a few hours wandering down the beach, daring each other to run into the surf to touch icebergs, drawing in the sand, and just lying on the cold beach, letting our exhausted bodies soak in the sheer beauty of it all. 

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Oh, and of course, what kind of trip would it have been if we hadn’t made it to a heitur pottur (natural hot spring) on the way back? There’s nothing quite like a natural hot tub in the middle of nature to soak away all the uncomfortable moments of camping so close to the arctic circle.

P.S. This was back when I had no camera, so all the photos are by my friends: Stephanie Seeger and Andreas Schönfeld.

21 thoughts on “Skaftafell National Park Trip || Part III

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