Day 3/10 – Part 2/2

Godafoss

Arriving at Godafoss the sun is in a better place, but not for the right bank where I was yesterday. Let’s have a look whether it’s possible to get to the other side.

On this side of the river is also a road, but that veers off the river a bit further. I park the car and walk a couple of hundred meters through snow and over rocks towards the waterfall. Despite the fact that the snow is sometimes a bit too deep for my shoes, I reach the water quickly.

Here I find a trail along the river. Ah so here it is. I do recognize it now and I think there was even a path down to the water, but I cannot find that. There is only ice and snow. I find a spot without wind and it’s quite good to be here. It’s freezing only 1.5 degrees and without wind it’s just lovely. Nice bit of sunshine as well.

In the foreground is the left branch of the river and above it the right arm. The water is dark because the sun illuminates from left and the light is blocked by the waterfall. At the same time it provides for a kind of special atmosphere.

Godafoss

On top of the waterfall on right are a couple of people walking. This gives a good indication of the height of the waterfall, about 12 meters I think.

Godafoss

The sun is just above the mountains on the background.

Godafoss

In the end I have been busy photographing and filming for one hour. Inevitably, the sun disappears behind the mountains and then it’s time to call it quits.

A little while ago several people were arriving at the other side, looking in my direction with question marks on their faces. Like, how did he get there? We want to to there too. Now, on my way back, they have tracked me down and are all plowing through the snow towards me. Glad that I have finished.

With one of them I start talking. His name is Steve and he originates from Alice Springs, Australia. He’s carrying a camera and a couple of crampons and asks me whether I think it’s possible to descent here to the river. Sofar, I’ve only seen a slippery sheet of ice so I think it’s not the most sensible thing to do. He smiles a bit and seems to consider it seriously. If he slips and tumbles into the river, he’s as good as dead. No one will be able to rescue him in time and if he’s able to get out by him self, he will be done within 10 minutes.

He has been here for a week and will go to Kulusuk in East Greenland for 17 days, next week. He still has to learn skiing, the Norwegian style, and then he will go to the glaciers. After that he has 30 days of Jordan on his list. I tell him ’You are doing quite some traveling’. ’Not bad’ he says, ’Last year was a lot better, when I traveled for 10 months’. For this trip his savings were not enough, it’s al charged to his credit card.

Last week he has seen the Northern Lights. It started right away at 21:00 and lasted until 02:00, two green bands. That’s what I want (-; He says that he started to feel bored after a while. When he saw it, the forecast was a 2.

Two conditions are ok for tonight: clear sky without clouds and no moonlight. Now I need some solar activity. When I have a look at the forecast for tonight, a 0 is predicted: Iceland Aurora Forecast. Not sure, whether that means that there will be nothing or only a little, but I will for sure have a look.

Almost back at the car, I shoot a couple of patterns in the snow.

Godafoss

Godafoss

Once, back in the hotel it’s time for a couple of hours relaxing and eating until it’s time for the Northern Lights. Around 21:00 I return to the pass towards Godafoss. Everything has turned to ice meanwhile, but the spikes provide for good grip. While driving down again, my attention is drawn by a soft glow behind the mountains on my left. First it seems to be the light of a city behind the mountains, but as I think of it, there is nothing there and now I have another look it has a soft green color, Aurora!!! Wow!

Alternating between looking forward to the road and then left to the light I keep driving in search for a parking spot. This takes a while. I have to continue driving for at least 20 minutes before I find a turnoff. Now I finally can have a proper look. There are two green bands, right above each other, reasonably low above the horizon in the north. Little or now movement and no other colors either. The intensity is quite low.

Quickly go outside, setup the tripod and start shooting. After a couple of tries I am getting good exposures. Annoying are the cars that are passing by continuously on both the main road and the turnoff where I am standing. Everybody is driving with their strong head lights on. You can see them coming from miles away.

After a while I’m fed up with this and pack everything. I play for a little while with the thought of going to Godafoss again, which is very closeby. But the thought of wandering there on my own in the dark above the icy water in that still ferocious wind, doesn’t appeal that much to me when I have given it a bit more thought. Back to the hotel it is. Very happy that I finally have seen this phenomenon for real, despite that the light itself was very weak, it was in one word Magical with a capital M…

Back via the pass again and when I’m driving along the fjord I notice all the lights in Akureyri. I have foreseen this earlier this morning and now it’s time for a couple of photographs. A little further down the road I find a parking space next to the road. There are a couple of other cars with some weird figures in them. No idea what they are doing here but it doesn’t look normal to me. These are not tourists. Have to stay alert for trouble.

Akureyri

Keeping close to the car as a precaution, I shoot the photographs and return to my hotel as quickly as possible.

Akureyri

In the hotel I am having a big bummer. The photos of the Northern Lights are not sharp. In the dark I turned the lens completely to its stop. Normally this would focus it to the distance, but apparently it hasn’t. Stupid! I should have focussed it my self on a clear star. Hope that I will get another chance.

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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