Iceland Day 11, Hofn-Eskifjordur


Today, we'd follow the windy Route 1 along the Norwegian Sea from Höfn in the south-ish east to Eskifjörður in the north-ish east; it was a planned field day for unplanned stops. We start with scenes from the side of the road:

Ever since our climb into Raudfeldsgja, we've been on the lookout for another waterfall to climb into. There was no shortage of them, and we didn't get far out of Hofn before turning off of the road. This turned out to be a relatively painless, quick detour.

About an hour out of Hofn, the landscape once again shifted dramatically from rocky mountains to marshlands as we entered the Lón nature reserve area. Here we were in the midst of rounding another peninsula when we drove headlong into a dense, low fog. The light hovering just above the shallow lagoon was ethereal:

And here is where we made a mistake. We were within sight of our destination near Eskifjordur, and the golden evening light was just perfect for another waterfall hike! Driving down a gravel path that ran parallel to the main highway, we were surprised and delighted to find this lonely, seemingly randomly placed bench so remote from any human establishment.

Our confidence buoyed from the earlier hike, we thought this tiered waterfall appeared quite inviting. Indeed, for the first five or ten minutes we followed a well-worn footpath through the brush, until it abruptly ended. Between us and the waterfall were a handful of ravines that we could see, but still, it looked relatively reachable. What we didn't understand was that these places have no sense of scale: what we thought were moss and grass were in fact waist-high brush, and what looked to be a benign, ten minute walk turned out to be an hour and half of prickly, bush-whacking adventure.

Eventually, we did make it, and were rewarded by panoramic views along with swarms of midges. From the bottom of the cascade we realized how far we'd actually gone. Our car and the road were scarcely a dot and a line.

And that was the story of the waterfall by Hólagerði. It was worth it.

Kind of defeated by this experience and aware of the waning light, we hurried along the last leg of the trip, especially since we discovered that Icelandic place names are highly redundant, and we weren't exactly sure where our guesthouse was. What a huge relief then, when across the fjord we espied the distinctive arrangement of the reddish cottages!

At last, we arrived at the Mjoeyri Guesthouse, just as the sun was setting. We had a late dinner at Randulf's Sea House down the street: smoked geese tartar, fish stew, and arctic char.

Photos from the road, of the road:

Iceland Day 10 and 12