Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Day 8

Today’s the last day on Route 1.  We traveled southwest of Selfoss to find Snaefoksstadir Forest #11.  The country is flat and the tiny forest stood out – right off the main road.  It’s a modest 2-3 acre forest with a couple of picnic tables and surrounded by farm land.   

Snaefoksstadir Forest

Several miles south of the forest we came to Stokkseyri, a scenic coastal fishing village.  We discovered art galleries, cafes, restaurants serving up their lobster dish specials (very tasty), a well tended cemetery and a replica fishing hut used by fishermen for several hundred years.  The hut is approximately 18’ x 30’ and accommodated 8 people - cozy.

 Stokkseyri Fisherman’s Hut
At Stokkseyri I found another inverted tree in front of a house.  The tree trunk is buried into the ground with its roots in the air – roots simulating branches.  The inverted tree has its origins in pre-Christian Iceland.  It may have something to do with Odin (chief Norse god) self sacrificing by hanging himself upside down on an ash tree to gain “ultimate mystic knowledge”.  Christian interpretation: it’s the tree of knowledge (of good and evil) and also symbolizing man burying his head into materialism.   The inverted tree adds folk lore and mystery to the landscape.

 Inverted Tree at Stokkseyri 
(Aug 15):    Inverted Tree at Halsaskogur Forest 

We’re only 35 miles from Reykjavik and road traffic has picked up considerably.  On  our way to Gullfoss waterfall we made a stop at Kerid crater, a perfect cone shape volcano with a small blue water lake in the center - very scenic.   And we stopped off at the “Great Geysir”.   Due to the overwhelming number of tourist we decided to head to Gullfoss waterfall.

Kerid Volcano Crater 

Gullfoss waterfall is a spectacular favorite among tourist.  It’s not the most powerful (Dettifoss has that honor) but it certainly is the most dramatic and beautiful. The river has cut two cascades into the volcanic rock at ninety degree angles.  After the second cascade the water seems to disappear into a deep gorge.

Unfortunately, it was so late in the day and we had to get the Hertz car back we skipped Pingvellier National Park, a site of great historical, cultural and geological significance to Iceland.    

Monday, September 8, 2014


Day 7

We woke up this morning to the news that Bardarbunga, a volcano under the Vatnajokull glacier, 45 miles north of Hof, is a rumbling.  Tempting fate we back tracked 25 miles to Jokulsarion Ice Lagoon at the south foot of Vatnajokull.  When we left Hof it was a cool 48 degrees Fahrenheit, at the Ice Lagoon it was 36 degrees with gale force winds, very exhilarating!

On the way west we kept seeing cairns (human constructed way-finding pile of rocks).  Every once in a while we would see “paranormal cairn”, a two ton rock perched on top of a four ton rock, out in the middle of no where.  Is it a cairn, a glacier rock formation, entering troll country?

We stopped off at Svartfoss, a classic waterfall with basaltic rock formation.  I was going to fly it but didn’t want to disturb the tourist.

Running out of gas so we made a pit stop at Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Klaustur for short; it means “church farm cloister”.  Their petrol cost $9 a gallon and stocked-up on “meat stew”, $11a bowl. 

So much to see, on the way to our 10th Open Forest we stopped:
at Fjadrargljufur Gorge a beautiful eroded canyon 

Laki Lava Field with moss covered volcanic rock, beds of moss, tiny flowers, flowing streams, migrating caterpillars and wicked long legged spiders

Dyrholaey bird sanctuary with black pebble beaches, caves, and coastal cliffs 

Finally late in the day we made it to Volvuskogur Forest #10.  It was part of the University Campus landscape.  Not much in the way of amenities but obviously a favorite of the hitch hiking backpackers.  Camping is not allowed in the Open Forest but many are used when affordable accommodations are rare.  

Ended up the day with Garrett, alone, taking on Skogafoss, one of Icelands largest falls (90’ wide, 200’ fall).

Spent the night in Hella and traveled 200 miles