Drive Through Iceland 8: Lava Mountains

                                                In continuation of earlier blog DTI 7: Tough Day Ahead……

Day 3 and we made an early start at 7 AM.  We reached the garage at 8.25 AM where the technician was fixing another tyre.  He was up and working at 7AM, on an Sunday morning!  He took us up next and we were all set in 25 minutes.  He had to leave to attend to another car stuck in a river stream about 30 kilometers away.  Thank God, the tyre hadn’t torn or split. Else, it would have meant another 300 kilometers to find a new tyre.

Hekla Volcano

Hekla Volcano

On the way, we passed by Hekla again, a beautiful, curvy, snow-clad lava mountain.  It looked like a large ship turned upside down.  It stretched for about 25 kilometers and was high enough to be noticed from a distance of 50 kilometers.

Hekla erupts every 10 years and last erupted in January 2010. The Icelandik Government allows visitors to climb to the top.  But they also warn travellers of an imminent eruption. After a point where an extremely rough F road ends, Hekla volcano top can be trekked – an 18 kilometer trek over the mountain and glacier, to get to the top.

At the beginning of the day, with one flat wheel, I could not have risked driving on that road.   We had to skip this trek and had to satisfy ourselves by watching it from the base.

We got to Seljalandsfoss in time to catch the mountain bus for Thorsmork, one of the most popular visitor site in the interiors.  This place could be reached either by a full fledge powerful 4wd like a Landcruiser or by special mountain bus.  The mountain bus has tyres that are as tall as me – certainly more than 5.5 feet and has a ground clearance of over 2.5 feet.

Pushpa-Nishi at Katla Volcano base

Lagoon 5-6 years back – Now lava land as in pic

On the way, we could see the place that was popular, about 5-6 years ago for its lagoons surrounded by snow.  The volcanic eruptions had thrown out huge burning stones, which formed large mountains.  The lava exposed to the cold temperature on the top formed ice glaciers.  The water at the base of the mountain, now has lava sand and stones.

It was a wise decision to have taken the mountain bus to Thorsmork as there were quite a few unbridged deep river crossings on the way.

Two kilometer climb to the top of the mountain at Thormork led us to a beautiful view of multiple glaciers around us. It was like a mini Kala Pathar, located near Mt Everest base camp, where one could see snow-clad mountains all around you.  We could see 3 ice glaciers, next to each other, making for a panorama of about 180 degrees.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall3After the visit to Thormork, it was time for Seljalandsfoss waterfall, a giant fall that drops at least 250 feet, from the top of a cave.  The cave can be reached at about half the height of the waterfall. A climb to the cave took us behind the waterfall. We repeatedly circled around the waterfall and the point at which the water hits the floor with great force.  As you can imagine, the circles were superb fun.

This waterfall became Nishi’s favorite.   On our way back, we had to pass by this waterfall again.  Nishi made sure that we trekked around the waterfall a couple more times.

140 kilometers later, we reached our night halt. We slept with the excitement of a glacier walk that lay ahead the next day.

To be contd……………

Written : Badri Baldawa

Edited  : Meeta Kabra