Grjótagjá Lava Cave Iceland

Iceland: Day 6

September 16 (Snow)

Egilsstadir-Myvatn

Grjótagjá Lava Cave Iceland

Today’s weather forecast was more of the same: snow and rain with brief periods of blue skies.  Why did I even bother looking up the weather forecast anymore?  We experienced every type of weather possible daily anyways.  However a couple of things were certain: 1) Waterfall gods despised us since the weather was always at its worst when we were near waterfalls… 2) Having a reliable vehicle was by far the best decision for Iceland travel (slippery dirt roads, ice, snow, etc).

First destination of the day was a waterfall called Dettifoss: the most powerful waterfall in Europe in terms of water displacement.  The landscape was completely covered with 2-3 feet of snow as far as the eyes can see.  Unfortunately the road to Dettifoss was closed when we reached the junction [Tip #6 – When it is snowing it is extremely handy to check the Icelandic Roads Administration website  even though the website looked like it was built by a dyslexic 10 year old.  Aesthetics aside the website was actually very informative].  On the way back we saw two travelers driving a Toyota Yaris towards our direction (yes a freakin Yaris in deep snow)… of course being a good Samaritan I flagged them down and updated them to turn around as the road ahead was closed.  Karma quickly struck as they informed me that there was a new road that remained open a few kilometers down the ring road!  We must’ve been the first tourists to visit Dettifoss that day because I had to trail blaze for the smaller cars including a couple of smaller SUVs in order to reach the designated parking spaces.  It took about 20 minutes to hike through thigh-high snow until we reached Dettifoss (it was difficult to decipher trail markers/cairns in a near whiteout condition).  There were plenty of beautiful and photogenic waterfalls in Iceland alone (such as Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, etc) but Dettifoss was not one of them.  The only word I would use to describe Dettifoss was “brute” because Dettifoss was simply that: A huge earth-trembling waterfall that moved serious amounts of water.

After Dettifoss we headed west for some time and finally entered the Myvatn Lake area. It was supposed to be one of the most beautiful location in the country but its beauty was hidden from us with a thick blanket of snow and fog (visibility was becoming a minor concern for driving).  Along the way to Myvatn we visited Hvenir: a geothermal area spewing sulfur in great quantities (difficult to photograph through sulfur steam and not too photogenic IMHO).  Next up we drove to the rim of Viti Crater (an Icelandic friend told me this crater was actually man-made but I wasn’t sure).  From the lack of tire tracks I was certain no one else had visited in a while… I jumped out of the car to explore on foot while my mom called my dad who was 6000 km away in Asia as if we were in the middle of a Starbucks (only we were at the top of a snow-capped crater).  When I realized that we were actually parked 20-30 meters INSIDE the snow covered rope to alert tourists from falling into the inner crater rim I quickly ran back to the vehicle and continued on with our journey (there were nothing significant to see as everything was covered in snow.

From Flickr I found a hidden gem called “Grjotagja” and it was actually quite difficult to find because everything was covered in a thick blanket of virgin white snow.  Grjotagja was a series of underground-ish hot springs (quite dark, damp, and cramped when I finally visited it in person, but the pictures turned out marvelously!).  We settled into yet another B&B that night but only after a relaxing visit to a fantastic hot spring called “Myvatn Natural Bath” (similar to the famous Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik but way less commercial and way less busyl).  I will never forget the experience of being submerged in a pleasant hot spring while snow gently drifted across my face.  I will certainly return here again in my lifetime with my wife to experience this mystical corner of Iceland…

Trip Map/Gallery

Iceland Day 6 Road Map

Iceland Day 6 Road Map

 

2 replies
  1. tooyota says:

    Good day I am so glad I found your webpage, I really found you by error, while I was looking on Yahoo for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a marvelous post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I dont have time to go through it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

    Reply
    • Kelvin says:

      Thanks for the kind words tooyota! Honestly this site is not live yet and it shouldn’t even be searchable yet! All I have populated was the Iceland trip and I have yet to set up the RSS feeds haha. I am glad you are liking it so far! Please check back soon and join our Facebook army!

      Reply

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