Day 3/10 – Part 1/2

Myvatn Area

The breakfast is at 7. They do have really everything. I choose for an English breakfast and a plate of curds. Forgot about something. Yesterdays breakfast was also very good. But because of that heavy burger of the previous evening I had only a piece of apple pie and a kind of donut-thing. I also took a cup of coffee. Couldn’t find the milk though. There is a whole tray with packets of sugar and sweets but no milk. On the other side I notice a pack of Mjölk. That’ll have to do then. I poor a good splash in my cup, but it turns out to be yoghurt. Fok. Why don’t they put Yöghurt on it then? It starts to thicken immediately. Lets give it a good stur then, but it starts to thicken again. I have a sip of it but that’s just enough, yuk. When I’m walking back to my room, I see the can with milk, just next to the tray with sugars…

Today I’m not in such a hurry. The sky is completely clouded and the mountain pass I have to pass, has worse colors on the roadmap than yesterday: slippery and drifting snow. Also there haven’t been that many cars there since midnight. Better wait for another while. There is some blue coming into the sky, promising! The weather forecast for the local airport predicts ’broken’ for the whole day, so partly clouded and opening up completely after 18:00.

Around 10, there are several cars on the mountain pass, so I will be fine. There is also a lot more blue sky now.

I start a little experiment: timelapse movie during driving. I want to do that tomorrow during the 400 kilometer driver back to the south. Sounds like fun, instead of making short clips. Two problems to solve though: 1) how am I going to attach it 2) how many photographs per hour are necessary and how many can I store on the card?

For the time being I set it to 1 every 30 seconds. 120 photo’s per hour is about 5 seconds of film. Maybe a bit on the short side but good enough for this first try. The movie has to become fluent enough but now too slow. I attach it to the sun cover at the passenger side. Problem is still that I can only attach it up side down. But, these images can be flipped very easily. After a bit of fiddling it’s running.

The mountain pass is not too difficult. A snow plow with two enormous propellers in the shovel, sweeps a lot of snow into the ravine.

Halfway I hear a couple of anxious beeps of the GoPro. Oh, oh, yesterday I thought about charging the batteries, but forgot about it afterwards. All going well? Not so.

Arriving at Godafoss there are very little clouds in the sky. Clear blue sky with a nice sun shine. The sun is shining from the wrong direction though, because it’s at an angle behind the waterfall, backlight thus. Furthermore, the place is completely crowded with tourists, all standing just above the waterfall. I’ll skip this for now and have another look in the afternoon.

I continue to Myvatn, a volcanic area. Some parts of the road are slippery, but all in all it’s doable. Lake Myvatn is completely frozen and the ice has a light blue color. For photographs however it’s not interesting at all. Far too wide and completely void of front- and background material.

Farther to the east over a mountain pass I encounter Hverir, a geothermal area. I’ve been here before. It’s not that special, but I’ll just have a look. It’s very cold again, -6 with a ferocious wind of 24 meters/second I saw this morning, but that sounds like more than I’m seeing here.

I’ve put on a warmer pair of trousers over my thermo legging. The other one was a bit too thin yesterday. But dumb enough I’m wearing one layer less on my upper body. Thought that that would be possible, but I shouldn’t have done that. I can feel it immediately. Also all the spots where there is no windstopper material, jump out immediately, neck, hands and the part just above my shoes. Head I’ve luckily thought about. Windstopper hat and two other hats on top of that. Quite warm. Then I remember having some very thin gloves with me, so that I have a bit of protection while still being able to operate the camera. Without any protection is just undoable. Every second possible, I put back on the warmer gloves on top of these.

I start with a couple of photographs of the snow field with an old volcano on the background against the light of the sun.

Hverir

Hverir

On the other side of me there is red brown hill, illuminated beautifully by the sun.

Hverir

Close to the parking lot I passed a fumerole and now I shoot a couple of photographs of the second. Then I shoot a short video clip of it as well.

Hverir

It’s a pile of rocks from where a lot of steam is coming out. Typically it’s just an opening in the ground and I think that they covered it with rocks, to prevent people throwing things in. There is really a lot of steam coming out of it. This time not with the GoPro but with the new camera. I have to try for a couple of times, because I didn’t try this at home before coming of course, well just for a few minutes it was, but I forgot about the special button to start capturing video. Soon I notice that it’s running. Have to get used to it though, now I have to pay attention to sound all of a sudden. You can’t just cough or make other sounds, because it will all be captured. People walking by make noise as well, so apart from that you don’t want to see them you also don’t want to hear them.

I truly liked shooting the videos yesterday. Moving images and sound provide for a completely different dimension than photographs. I will definitely do this more often. After I’ve shot the photos, the camera is already in the right position and it’s very easy to shoot a 10 second video clip afterwards.

While walking back through the mud I notice a swan of ice. At least it makes me think of that.

Hverir

On left there is a little pipe blowing steam and a couple of meters to the right of it, the swan is growing. Beautiful!

Hverir

Here even closer. Quite unique if you ask me.

Hverir

Afterwards I drive somewhat further. The road is clean and just for a second I play with the idea of going to Dettifoss and two other waterfalls 70 kilometers down the road. But then I remember that I have seen these roads being red earlier this morning. Better not go then. I do continue for another bit in that direction and see a sign for Krafla, the powerplant. It’s only 7 kilometers. Halfway there are a lot of cars and people with cross-country skis and dogs. Finally, the road shades off into snow and I stop here for a couple of photographs of the little factories.

Geothermal Factory

Geothermal Factory

Back on the main road, I continue further in the direction of Dettifoss for a photograph of the snow.

East of Hverir

Back towards Lake Myvatn I stop for another factory I had seen already on my arrival here.

Geothermal Factory

Photogenic subject with that volcano in the background and the blue pond in the foreground.

Geothermal Factory

Here I’m standing in full wind and shooting proves to be difficult because of it. I capture a movie which clearly shows the ferocious winds. It’s just impossible to keep still.

Then I follow another small road but that is soon covered with a thick layer of snow with deep tracks into it. Curious whether I will be able to pass here. It’s possible but only barely. The snow scrapes the bottom and the cars glides in all directions. In the end, a couple of kilometers further I finally end up on the main road and I still haven’t a clue what I should have seen there.

Back in the direction of Akureyri I see a turnoff to the coastal town of Husavik. I have joined whaling tours several times there during previous trips. Because I still have enough time, that detour looks attractive. But the fun stops rather soon. The road disappears completely in snow. I can’t even see the markers anymore and these are at least half a meter high.

Better to return via the same route. I take a short stop for a view on Lake Myvatn and the beautiful Hverfjall crater. Photogenic thing but not in current lighting. Better return to Godafoss.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Iceland Winter 2013, Day 03

Download the original gpx file here.

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