Iceland – Skaftafell

I was surprised by how civilized and well serviced the Skaftafell campground was. It’s the Icelandic equivalent of Yosemite Valley – the perfect first campsite for all newbie campers in a great location with easily accessed walks. But unlike Yosemite there was hardly anyone about. Everyone was very respectful – playing card games in front of their tents! The showers were like hot volcanic fire hoses and the little cafe had draft beer, meat soup and other delicacies including skyr and great coffee (of course, its Iceland!).

After our second coffee we took of up the hill to view Svartifoss. Spectacular imbedded in its setting of black vertical hexagonal basalt columns.

Svartifoss from afar

Svartifoss from afar

The honeymoon shot

The honeymoon shot

Someone told the paparazzi that we were in town.

Someone told the paparazzi that we were in town.

Basalt detail

Basalt detail

Hiking up further you come out onto the long finger-like spur of Kristínartindar stretching southwest between the huge glacier Skaftafellsjökull (actually a spur of the Vatnajökull ice cap) and the once glaciated valley of Morsárdalur. As you climb you get increasingly open views of the glacial flats stretching out to the sea where huge floods of water and rubble (a jökulhlaup) spurt out every time a volcano erupts under the great Icelandic ice cap Vatnajökull.

alluvial plain stretching for miles....

Alluvial plain stretching for miles….

All the way out to the lonely cape of Ingolfsshofði.Which is where the first Nordic settler Ingólfur Arnarson over-wintered in 869 AD. Looks pretty godforsaken unless you like eating seagull eggs.

All the way out to the lonely cape of Ingolfsshofði.
Which is where the first Nordic settler Ingólfur Arnarson over-wintered in 869 AD. Looks pretty godforsaken unless you like eating seagull eggs.

The view as you climb the spur gets better and better. Especially looking down over the precipitous drop to the heavily fissured glacier below – frosted in ash and grime from the recent eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, as well as the usual melange of ash, algae and dust.

Climbing along the edge

Climbing along the edge

the sweeping ice floe - like a charcoal drawing

the sweeping ice floe – like a charcoal drawing

Detail

Detail

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The 15 km walk continues to the neighboring Morsárdalur which is now ice free.

Morsa valley

Morsa valley

And winds on until the marker which is there to help us find our location.

You are here!

You are here!

It has lots of interesting cultural markings on it to help me place myself in the landscape. However, the landscape itself made better sense to me.

DSC_0357

One Comment

  1. Michael Hurwitz January 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Cool, cool, Kjool!! Seeing these photos one can imagine for a moment a world free of turmoil. An amazing eye for composition Donald, always a thrill to open your posts.

    Reply

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