A tiny chapel and simple graves in a little town on the south coast of Iceland. [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my late May 2015 Ring Road Trip.]
Title pretty much says it all. We pulled in somewhere in the southeast to try and get closer to a herd of reindeer. What a sight. I’d actually seen a few reindeer in 2014 when my boyfriend and I took a little road trip up to Lapland in Finland (although they look like a different breed).
[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my May 2015 trip around Iceland’s Ring Road.]
Iceland’s environment is so unique in the world. A volcanic island so close to the Arctic Circle, it has some pretty extreme natural attractions. One site I’d never managed to see before my May Ring Road trip this year was Hverarondor Hverir. Hverir is a geothermal area with boiling mudpits and steaming fumaroles (essentially steam vents on the surface- click here to see video of this place).
Hverir is just south of the Krafla caldera (pronounced “krahp-la), a large area of intense geothermal activity, some of which is harnessed by the Krafla power plant. The whole area is pretty desolate, and a drive through this otherworldly landscape is really awe-inspiring. Other locations in Iceland great for this kind of thing are 1) the Hveravellir Nature Reserve accessible only by the highland F-roads and 2) several geothermal spots on the more accessible Reykjanes peninsula in the southwest (I’ll be posting photos of this at some point in the next month or so).
An Icelandic horse grazing by Lake Mývatn in the north of Iceland. [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures of northern Iceland.]
As you are driving along the south coast of Iceland (going towards Reykjavík) you pass through Myrdalssandur, a huge expanse of nothing but coarse black volcanic sand. Af the end, as the landscape turns back into rugged vegetation, you come upon Laufskalavarda. This is a small mound by the road, where over time travelers made little cairns for good luck. There are so many cairns that it’s actually hard to find a loose rock to stack.
Dettifoss is a mind blowing spectacle of nature. It’s in Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park, home of the Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. It is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The sheer force of the water thundering over the drop is mesmerizing (see this video at 2:00 for proof), and the spray from the falls will soak you on a windy day.
The last time I visited Dettifoss it was late June and the edges of the canyon were lush and green and there was a rainbow. This time, it was earlier in the summer, late May, and the edges of the canyon were coated in crazy swirls of ice from the waterfall’s mist that had mixed with the rich, volcanic black silt beneath it. It was incredible.
For much of the south coast stretch of the Ring Road, the road runs along the base of dramatic cliff left behind when the coastline receded (within recorded history). About halfway between Reykjavík and Skaftafell, the river Skógá comes thundering over the cliff edge into a shallow ravine created by the falls.
You can either walk up to the top of the waterfall or walk in very close to its base. The ground in the ravine is all black sand, creating a vivid contrast with the white-blue water of the falls and the lush green moss clinging to the rocks around it.