Sunday, December 4, 2016

Day 12 - Breakfast -> Check out -> Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon -> Mt Lómagnúpur -> Destroyed Bridge, Skeidararsandur -> Skeiðará -> hiking trail to Svartifoss -> Lunch fish & chip

Breakfast was provided. But again, it was the usual mundane western style food.

After breakfast and checkout, we were on our road again. Our first stop was Fjaoratgljufur canyon.

Enroute, passed by a house with its roof covered by Lava rock. From the signboard, these are the old houses of Drangshilo 2.
No one is allowed to go near or into the house as the area is too dangerous

We continued on ring road 1 across Mýrdalssandur floodplains and Eldhraun, the largest lava field ever to flow on Earth in historical time,
and to the small village Kirkjubaejarklaustur.

It was a narrow & bumpy ride on 260 towards Fjaðrárgljúfur, off the ring road, not far from the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.
At Kirkjubæjarklaustur, often abbreviated as "Klaustur", see Kirkjugólfið (the Church Floor), a protected natural monument, just
east of the village. Kirkjugólfið is columnar basalt, shaped and eroded by water and wind, only a few minutes’ walk from the road.
In the afternoon of 21. May 2011, a sub-glacial eruption started in the Grímsvötn volcanic system underneath Vatnajökull Glacier.
Later the same day, the eruption broke the ice cover of the glacier and started spewing volcanic ash into the air. The amount of
ash fall was the greatest close to Kirkjubæjarklaustur. The eruption went on for about a week. It ceased on 28. May 2011.
The day’s weather was rather cloudy and cold, unlike the sunny day before.

Fjaðrárgljúfur is a narrow and beautiful canyon with narrow walls in south east Iceland which is up to 100 m deep and about 2 km long,
with the Fjaðrá river flowing through it. The canyon was created by progressive erosion by flowing water from glaciers through the rocks a
nd palagonite in the bedrock over the millennia. River Fjaðrá has its source in the mountain Geirlandshraun and falls off the heath edge in
this stunning canyon until it makes it down into Skaftá river. River Fjaðrá has changed a lot in the course of time and today it is often
rather low in water. Most people choose to walk along a walking path up on the canyon's edge while simultaneously enjoying the view above
the canyon.

Walking back to carpark

Enroute, saw another waterfall

Enroute along the ring road, spotted an anonymous cascaded waterfall which was quite beautiful.

Highway 1

Mt Lómagnúpur: a precipitous promontory near the south coast of Iceland. The former headland now stands on the edge of Skeiðarársandur, a big alluvial sand plain with lots of winding rivers and long bridges along the road. The water in the rivers comes from Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe, situated nearby.
Skeidararsandur is a vast sand plain, formed from alluvial deposits which were washed down by numerous torrential glacial rivers.
It covers 1300 km², making it the largest sand in the world. There is little vegetation in general to be found at Skeidararsandur.
It is very rocky near the glacier, becoming more muddy and gravelly further on and made up of of sand and clay where it reaches the sea.
It is an almost desert plain that is mainly made of volcanic sands and crossed by a glacial river– the Skeiðará. There’s no village in this region, only a few farms.
In 1996 this area was badly damaged by a avalanche caused by a volcanic explosion that originated beneath the Vatnajökull glacier.

Gigantic Skeiðará Glacier. In spite of its short length, this river has a bad reputation. It is especially feared because of its frequent fatal glacier runs. In front of Skaftafell and Skeiðarárjökull, Skeiðará has formed the Skeiðarár Sandur, a black plain of lava sand and ashes crossed by a lot of small rivulets which covers the whole area between the park and the sea (about 40 km long and 5 to 10 km wide).

In 1996, glacier runs took place and destroyed parts of Route 1 (the Ring Road). The 880 m long bridge was damaged by floating ice boulders the size of houses

Next, we drove to Svartifoss in Skaftafell National Park.
We need to hike uphill for about 30mins before reaching the remote waterfall.
Svartifoss (Black Falls) is a waterfall in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland, and is one of the most popular sights in the park. It is 120m tall, is slim and surrounded by dark lava columns, which gave rise to its name. The base of this waterfall is noteworthy for its sharp rocks. New hexagonal column sections break off faster than the falling water wears down the edges.

Svartifoss, framed in by beautiful basalt columns that surround it

After viewing the fall and hiking down, it was past lunch time. We had fish & chips again.

The food stall

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