Northern Iceland

22 06 2016

Originally, I wanted to visit the fjords in the north west part of Iceland but quickly realised that in the time that we had available that we wouldn’t be able to do so. Another area I wanted to see was Akureyri with it’s botanical gardens and the area around Myvatn which had a fair number of earthcaches and thus surely an interesting geology and topology. We realised that the most practical way was in a rental car and I picked this up at the airport a couple of days after our arrival. The 380 km journey to Akureryi was on pretty good roads that included a 6 km long tunnel under Hvalfjördur, that shortens the 65 km drive around the fjord. However, on the way back to Reykjavik we chose to drive around.

A statue in the middle of nowhere

A statue in the middle of nowhere

Wild Icelandic horses

Wild Icelandic horses

We chose to stay in a guesthouse in the centre of Akureyri and found it very comfortable. Our evening meal was really fresh sushi from a local restaurant. The day after we headed east to the Myvatn and Dettifoss area where there were many earthcaches to log. Our first experience of the mighty waterfalls on Iceland was here at Godafoss. It was on a fine day and the photos turned out quite well in addition to giving me both a traditional Godafoss Cache and an earthcache Genesis of Goðafoss.

Godafossen

Godafossen

When we reached Myvatn we were greated by a fantasy like environment with pseudocraters forming islands in the lake and crazy jagged lava formations forming a foreground to a huge volcano that we unfortunately didn’t have time to climb up.

Dimmuborgir

Dimmuborgir

I parked the car about three hundred meters from Dimmuborgir and headed off towards the cache. I noticed a guy coming from that direction and guessed correctly that it was a geocacher. He hadn’t found the cache so returned with me so we could look together. We found it without too great difficulty and then after a chat went on our different ways only to bump into each other again later in the day.

Dimmuborgir where I met the geocacher ah_toermalijn

Dimmuborgir where I met the geocacher ah_toermalijn

We intended to have a hot bath at Myvatn but the cold biting wind put us off. At least we got to see a few earthcaches in the area including Gervigígur / Pseudokrater / pseudocrater – Myvatn, Myvatn Nature Baths, Hverir Iceland and Víti at Krafla

Hot baths at Myvatn

Hot baths at Myvatn

Pseudocraters at Myvatn

Pseudocraters at Myvatn

A busy fumarole

A busy fumarole

Mud pools at Hverir

Mud pools at Hverir

Viti crater at Krafla

Viti crater at Krafla

After the visit to Myvatn and surrounding points of interest we drove on to Dettifoss, which is a really impressive waterfall, purporting to be the largest in terms of volume in Europe. We also walked upstream a kilometer or so to the little sister waterfall at Selfoss. The volume of water is the same of course but not the fall height.. We were at the wrong side of the gorge to be able to log the earthcache but we did find a simple trad at the carpark, Island-2013 MSB.

Dettifoss

Dettifoss

Dettifoss and a visitor

Dettifoss and a visitor

Selfoss - somewhat smaller than Dettifoss

Selfoss – somewhat smaller than Dettifoss

From Dettifoss we started our drive back to Akureyri via Husavik, which is a fishing industry influenced town on the north coast. Here we ate a great fish dinner and grabbed a couple of caches – Husavik: the whale museum and Switzerland in Iceland in the charming small town.

An old snowmobile at Husavik

An old snowmobile at Husavik

Husavik harbour

Husavik harbour

Gamli Baukur restaurant at the harbour in Husavik

Gamli Baukur restaurant at the harbour in Husavik

We arrived back in Akureyri late in the evening but it was still light of course. After a good night’s sleep we started our journey back to Reykjavik by visiting the unusual church, and the botanical gardens, Lystigarður Akureyrar before leaving Akureyri.

Akureyri Church

Akureyri Church

Akureyri botanical gardens

Akureyri botanical gardens

On our way up to Akureyri we had noticed an earthcache at Grábrók Crater, but decided to leave it until the journey back to Reykjavik. I’m really pleased we stopped here and walked up to the top and round the periphery of the crater. It reminded me of the time I did the Tongariro Crossing but on a much smaller scale.

Kotárgil - one of many ravines

Kotárgil – one of many ravines

Grábrók Crater that we walked up and around the top

Grábrók Crater that we walked up and around the top

Another detour we made was to Akranes which is another fishing town. After that we decided that we would drive around Hvalfjordur, despite it adding more than 60 km to our journey so we could see more of the country.

Colourful rocks at Akranes

Colourful rocks at Akranes

Akranes new lighthouse

Akranes new lighthouse

This is where we found the toughest earthcache of our visit, in fact the toughest trek. It took us up and down steep paths with rope handrails, through caves and across rivers. The earthcache was at the waterfall Glymur.

The path went through a cave...

The path went through a cave…

...and across a bridge

…and across a bridge

Glymur - one of the highest waterfalls

Glymur – one of the highest waterfalls

After that adventure and on somewhat shaky legs we decided that we had had enough excitement for the day and headed back to Reykjavik without any more detours.

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