Kind of a late start this morning. We retraced our steps for the first 30 Km or so back to Höfn and then north from there. We stopped at Hvalnes to get pecked on the head by arctic terns. Well, that wasn't our primary objective, but it did happen more than once. I got a few nice pictures of birds in flight. We followed this little ringed plover around that was convinced we were convinced it had a broken wing. We found the nest and got a nice shot (from a distance) of the eggs that don't look that much different from the rocks they sit on.
A few low clouds this morning gave way to beautiful blue skies and bright sun. Looking at the map we decided to depart from highway 1 and take 939 into Egilsstaðir. By doing so I'm sure we missed some beautiful vistas, but I can't believe the scenery in Suðudalur and Skriðdalur was any less inspiring . We arrived at the Hotel Herað by 1:30pm.
From the moment we arrived in Egilsstaðir, there was a sense something was very different. It took a little while for the sensation to reach the forefront, but both of us came to the realization at almost the same instant - Trees! There has been an obvious effort to cultivate trees throughout the town. It gives the place this sense of an oasis in the desert. The effect was quite remarkable.
From there, we dashed over to Reyðarfjörður, Eskifjörður, and Neskaupstaður. It must have been national town cleanup day, because every town had hoards of teenagers running lawnmowers and pulling weeds in public spaces all through town. It was great and looked nice too.
The road to Neskaupstaður crosses what the tour book claims as the highest pass connecting two cities in Iceland. We had finally mastered single lane bridges, now it was time to venture into a single lane tunnel. It was only about 1km long, but when you can't make out the signs instructing you how to proceed, it's a bit of a thrill! We passed without incident, and in fact didn't see many cars that entire day, much less meet one in the tunnel. At the end of the road at the far end of Neskaupstaður is a parking lot and a trail that runs out toward Flesjutangi. We only walked 1 km or so, but found a wonderful array of new wildflowers for our collection. The weather couldn't have been nicer and the scenery more spectacular.
That took most of the afternoon. We returned to Egilsstaðir, grabbed a bite to eat and headed to Seyðisfjörður. The climb and views from the top on both sides are spectacular. Here it was June 19 and the lakes on top were still mostly frozen. There's not a lot one can say to describe this area. You'll just have to look at the pictures. We made it to within about 2km of Skálanes, but were turned back because I wasn't willing to cross the stream without a bridge. That was more risk than I was willing to take on with a rental vehicle. Returning back to town I remarked to Launa Rae what a quiet little place this was, until I looked at my watch and it was nearly 9pm.
We returned to our hotel and called it a day...
- Suðudalur and Skriðdalur
- Neskaupstaður Part 1 and Part 2