Day 7/10 – Part 2/2

Svinefellsjökull

After a while I end up at a rock outcrop, a couple of hundred meters above the glacier. Finally found a nice glacier overlook from above. Two years ago I ended up at a comparable location above the Franz Josef Glacier after a hell ride (New Zealand Summer – Day 20/35), but then the weather collapsed. What a mess that was. This time it looks much better.

I can easily oversee the glacier from here. Beneath me I see a quite steep slope with loose rocks ending up in a vertical wall.

Svinefellsjökul

Somewhat further down there two other rock outcrops that protrude much further. The most far of the two, about 100 meters underneath me, is visible on this photograph.

Svinefellsjökul

While I’m taking my panoramas I’m thinking about going further down over the loose rocks, but would that be a sensible thing to do?

Svinefellsjökul

Carefully I’m going down a bit towards the first outcrop. I don’t thinks it’s that dangerous, but I have to be very carefull not to slip. Stumbling would be a bad thing and here it can happen before you know it.

Svinefellsjökul

The view is already much better.

Svinefellsjökul

To the right are the huge plains that transport the meltwater towards the ocean.

Svinefellsjökul

Now I’m a bit used to this spot, the other one of the second photo becomes much more in reach. It’s getting much more narrow down there but it must be possible to go there if I’m carefull. I already knew it when I was still up there, I just have to go there. Careful foot by foot I’m shuffling down with the tripod. I leave the bag behind as there is no point taking it with me and as soon as I have planted the tripod firmly on the rock, I return for the camera.

There is very limited space here and it takes some time to find to right posture. You easily loose your balance while looking around. Not a good thing with that wide hole underneath me.

Svinefellsjökul

Finally I’m having a complete open view on the glacier. Down there close to the water there should be an ice cave, but entering it is only possible when the lake is frozen. Impossible to get there now.

Svinefellsjökul

Then I return as careful as I got here and shoot a couple of telephotos of the crevasses in the ice. These I always wanted to have.

Svinefellsjökul

Nice patterns can be found with 600 mm.

Svinefellsjökul

Zooming in for another 1.5x, there are getting more beautiful still.

Svinefellsjökul

Disadvantage is that the scale on these photos has gone. Are we seeing here a couple of meters or tens of meters?

Svinefellsjökul

Almost all detail photos are from that more condensed area in the center of the last overview photos. Some have been shot a bit more on this site of the middle.

Svinefellsjökul

I like these last two the most. The intense blue tint of the first…

Svinefellsjökul

…and the symphony of ice patterns on this last one. A photo that’s completely in balance. I wouldn’t know how to further improve on this one.

Svinefellsjökul

I have been noticing a couple of rain showers at sea and now it seems they are much closer than earlier. It’s also getting darker above the ocean. The last I’m looking for is to get wet up here. A last view on the glacier and then I have to get off this mountain. I’m getting very hungry by the way. After breakfast I’ve only had one banana and I need another scoop of coals on the fire. Maybe even two.

The trail here is much more muddy than the other part. In some places the trail has been hollowed out by water until my hips. It’s like walking trough a World War 1 trench. It’s another 3 kilometers back but happily it’s all downwards.

Halfway I encounter a pair of Snow Ptarmigans, with these feathered feet. I’ve seen a pair earlier down at the parking lot, but then I rather started the walk because it would take quite some time. This pair is in the bushes and I don’t even take the time to go after them.

I would have thought that it would be around 15:30 (started at 12:00), but it appears to be already 17:00. No wonder I’m feeling hungry.

Back at the car I start the next part of todays trip, 127 km towards Höfn. This area is just loaded with glaciers. Actually these are just tongues of one big glacier: thee Vatnajökull. Beautiful landscape. Pity only that it’s quite impossible to get out of the car. Stopping in the middle of the road is just too risky.

After a while I notice a lake filled with icebergs. Strange, that just looks like… indeed Jökulsárlón. I could start shooting some photos here, but I’m completely exhausted. Tomorrow I will go here and today I want to arrive at my hotel before dark. Soon after the sun sets, it will be pitch black out here. There is no lighting. During the day you have to keep paying attention on these narrow roads, let alone in the dark. Above that I also would have to start looking for my hotel.

But I don’t get it. As far as I know, Jökulsárlón is 70 kilometers past Höfn. Have I passed it already? I’ve been driving for little over an hour now, so that is in fact impossible.

I continue for a while and then I’ve been driving for 1.5 hours. With an average speed of 90 kilometers per hour I should have covered that 127 kilometers by now. The gps doesn’t know Höfn but it does know Höf and that is 50 kilometers from here as the crow flies. Having a shitty moment now. I don’t know where I am! I hope not that I have to drive back for an hour.

But as I think it through this just isn’t possible. On the map I see that Jökulsárlón is before Höfn and there I was less than one hour ago. Höfn should still be lying in front of me. And Höfn is in the middle of a glacier area which fits the scene outside.

Just have to continue then. I still have 3/4 of my fuel, so no worries on that part for the time being. I’m still able to return to Vik using only a 1/4 of my tank.

Not long after that I notice a sign, Höfn 7 km. Great! Still weird that it took me one and a half hours. I still don’t understand that. After a little driving around I find my hotel.

Tomorrow I’ll have another day in this area. In the morning I intend to continue for a bit to the north and then return to the two icelakes, if necessary until in the evening. The day after that I reserve for the drive back to Keflavik, little less than 500 kilometers and 6 hours of driving. I can use the morning to shoot again at the icelakes and/or Skogafoss or Seljalandfoss that I skipped yesterday.

Have to find out where to stay tomorrow night. Maybe here in Höfn again. The obvious alternative would be Vik, but I don’t like it that much overthere.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Iceland Winter 2013, Day 07

Download the original gpx file here.

edit