Thursday, 14 January 2016

Iceland 2.12: Hveradalir

As promised in the weather forecast, the following day dawned cold and misty.  Since the cloud was due to clear later, we decided to visit Hveradalir - a local geothermal area - in the morning and leave any driving until the afternoon.  This turned out to be a wise move, since it meant that Hveradalir was amazingly atmospheric in the low cloud.  We took the road as far as we could, and parked next to a French Land Rover.  Visibility was pretty poor at this point; but, since the footpaths were well marked, we wrapped up warm and set off for a walk.

There was some minor geothermal activity at the top of the hill, along with a small number of hardy plants which had managed to gain a foothold in the challenging environment.

After walking in the low cloud for a while, we came to the edge of a plateau and a flight of steps leading down into the valley.

It was quite a sight, with the cloud and mist mingling with the steam from what seemed like dozens of fumaroles.  The steps were steep, but well maintained, so we gradually descended into the valley floor.

What goes down must come up, unfortunately, so after a highly enjoyable time exploring the area around the river we started the long climb back to the top of the hill.  By this time the low cloud was clearing, and we even had glimpses of the sun on a few occasions.

Having built up an appetite during our morning's walk, it was definitely time for lunch.  By this time the cloud had cleared and the sun had come out, so it was warm enough to have a picnic.  We decided to eat our food at a place we'd seen the previous day: the waterfall of Gigjarfoss.  I tried some "straight" photography of the water, but the harsh light was unattractive so out came the Big Stopper.  Since there wasn't much colour in the scene, my favourite shot of the scene is definitely the monochrome version at the end.