Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jökulsárgljúfur National Park, Iceland

After backtracking from viewing the Ásbyrgi formations, we now planned on seeing as much of Jökulsárgljúfur National Park as we could. There are two roads in the park, one down the east side of the canyon and one down the west.

I had read that the road down the east side was better maintained. Also, the western road would have to be a round trip drive as the road becomes an 'F' road and we could not take our rental sedan on it. However, the woman at the visitor's center said that the formations at the end of that road were worth seeing. So off we went down the western road.

It was a washboard dirt road but we made it to the end and hiked around the formations. These were also basalt but on their side and really strange looking. (And for those that need to know, in the parking lot, even at this location in the middle of nowhere, was a bathroom.)

Retracing our route, we headed south on the eastern 'better maintained' road. No way! This road was worse: dirt, rocky, washboard, potholed. But it was also the way back to the Ring Road so we kept going. Our plan was to stop and see three waterfalls: Dettifoss, Selfoss and Hafragilsfoss.

We managed to see two of the three. We stopped at Dettifoss and Hafragilsfoss. Dettifoss is billed as the most powerful waterfall in Europe. It was impressive but a little note here that I live within 1 1/2 hours of Niagara Falls so I do have something very powerful to compare it to. That said, it was impressive.

To see Selfoss would have meant an additional hike beyond Dettifoss. Having already done a bunch of hiking, and still having a long drive ahead of us on a lousy road, we decided to cancel that and continue on our drive. Finally, finally, finally, we were back to the paved Ring Road, on our way to Seydisfjordur.

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