After spending the night by the lake, Mývatn, we walked across the street to the beginning the Dimmuborgir trail, which runs almost 7km. We had arrived in the evening, so the first night we just checked Grótagjá, an cave filled with hot water. It’s on private land, so you are allowed to look inside and take picture, but not go in. So of course we did *cough* not climb in with an Icelander and his Swedish cousins to sit on the rocks and dip our toes into the almost 45 degree water. It was not *cough* a wonderful respite from the millions of non-biting flies that covered us anywhere we went near the lake.The next day, we got up and headed over to the trail. It was a really great hike. The path wound through small, gnarly fairy tale trees growing over huge rock formations made by lava thousands of years ago till it came to Hverfjall (Hver Mountain) a huge gravel hill with a gaping crater in the center. I took some pictures of Hverfjall, which I’ll post next. A short walk from this-gates-of-Mordor-esque monolith, the actual lava fields of Dimmuborgir start. Huge lava formations in a stone henge-esque circle were filled in with hardy, dark greenery as well as moss and lichen of every color spilling into the crevices that the path twisted to avoid. Dimmuborgir translates as “dark cities,” and the crumbling lava arches and columns really do look like the ominous ruins of some ancient stronghold. In Icelandic folklore, this place connects earth with hell. I can’t top the wikipedia description of this area’s geological origins: “The Dimmuborgir area consist of a massive, collapsed lava tube formed by a lava lake flowing in from a large eruption in the Þrengslaborgir and Lúdentsborgir crater row to the East, about 2300 years ago. At Dimmuborgir, the lava pooled over a small lake. As the lava flowed across the wet sod, the water of the marsh started to boil, the vapour rising through the lava forming lava pillars from drainpipe size up to several meters in diameter. As the lava continued flowing towards lower ground in the Mývatn area, the top crust collapsed, but the hollow pillars of solidified lava remained. The lava lake must have been at least 10 meters deep, as estimated by the tallest structures still standing.” To be honest, my iphone pictures did a better job capturing the actual colors and feel of the landscape, so you might want to check out my “from the road” post about the hike.