HOW TO CRUSH ICELAND IN NINE DAYS (part 3)
[PART 3 OF 3]
*Over this past weekend, Bryan and I were terrified to hear that our beloved Dave (yes THIS Dave) was in a very scary diving accident. Dave ended up hitting his head while jumping off a dock and he fractured four vertebrae. We are so glad to report that he is doing well and will make a full recovery! Please keep Dave in your thoughts and prayers and join us in wishing him a speedy recovery. Seriously though, we can't go back without them and we're already tired of waiting to go back, so hurry up and get better!
So it turns out that when you're having the TIME OF YOUR LIFE, and you realize that your trip is more than HALF OVER you start to panic, no matter how relaxing the trip. You start to think of all the things left to see, all the miles left to cover, all the photos left to take, and (worst of all) what you will do when it's over. Day four was pretty epic, and the bar was set pretty high, but Iceland never failed to outdo itself.
STOP 1 - HENGIFOSS
Our first stop of day five is the most popular waterfall in Northern Iceland, Hengifoss. It was also one of the most... well, I don't want to say miserable... but it was fucking miserable. The hike was three miles straight up a mountain in the rain. And the mud. And it was cold. By the time we get to the first waterfall we are all out of breath and feeling pretty siked that we made it up so quickly. Turns out that is just the baby waterfall at the halfway point and the large one is still a ways to go.
OH WOW! We made it! What?? This is just the little halfway thing?
Hengifoss is the only hike we did that had some serious mud, but it was some SERIOUS MUD. The hike was so difficult that it was super satisfying, but by the time we got back to the car all we wanted to do was be warm, eat junk food, and take a nice, long break from hiking.
The area below Hengifoss was like another world. Lots of water and awesome rocks!
STOP 2 - DETTIFOSS
Dettifoss is known as the most powerful waterfall in Europe, and it did not disappoint! Getting there was interesting. We drove for miles and miles on this effed up dirt road across terrain that looked like a deserted alien planet that looked like it had never seen water, despite the fact that it was super foggy.... then BAM!
Teeny tiny TK (me) on the edge of a mother-effing cliff.
I can't even explain how crazy this place was. First of all it was insanely foggy and it was rainy, so the rocks were slippery if you weren't careful. There were no signs or ropes guiding you and warning you to stay back. You could walk right up to the falls and it was unbelievable.
SAFETY. ROPES. ARE. FOR. BABIES.
STOP 3 - MYVATN
Or in otherwords, Mars. We spent all morning getting drenched at Hengifoss and Dettifoss, and were very glad for a change in scenery.
We were so happy to be out of the rain and in a place where HEAT COMES OUT OF THE GROUND that we didn't care that it smelled like eggs!
"Looks like Mars, smells like eggs" - Gracie E. Thornton
STOP 4 - MYVATN NATURE BATHS
Everyone that knew I was going to Iceland was like "You have to go to the Blue Lagoon!!" We did go to the Blue Lagoon on our last day and it was awesome, but it was also the most touristy thing in Iceland. While we were exploring the North, we came across a smaller, way less touristy (but still sorta touristy) nature bath in Myvatn. After a full day of major hikes and getting poured on by freezing rain, the thought of soaking in a hot natural bath sounded AMAZING. It was half the price of the Blue Lagoon and you can stay as long as you want. We were there from 10pm- midnight. Right before going we got a pizza from Daddi's Pizza (it was SO GOOD) and pre-gamed by polishing off a few Redbull vodkas in the parking lot. Best way to end the day, ever.
Bryan on Iphone, ladies and gentlemen.
After soaking for two hours and taking nice long hot showers afterwards, we set up camp by the water and passed the eff out.
The campground in Myvatn was beautiful! We ate out that night and showered at the hot baths, so we can't vouch for the facilities, but the staff was very nice when they demanded payment. On a practical note, if you show up late at a campsite and don't get a chance to check in and pay, expect a polite knock on your tent in the morning. Tourism is #1 in Iceland and they are very good at collecting the super fair fees they charge.
STOP 1 - HIKE UP A VOLCANO
Started the day off by hiking up a volcano (of course) and enjoying a very cool and vast view of Myvatn. Random story. We checked out a semi-cool lava formation that Bryan was strangely drawn to. It turns out that it was because the place was called Dimmuborgir, which was the name of a band that was featured in a CKY movie that Bryan and Dave used to watch when they were first roomates together in college. (Bam Margera and the CKY guys went to Iceland in that one).
Back to the volcano. This trail felt super long because it was straight uphill. We got to the top of the main part of the trail but Bryan wanted to go higher and convinced us to join him by annoying us until we agreed. I'm glad we did because the view from the top was awesome!
I told Bryan to wear clothes that would stand out in nature. I guess he heard "dress like you're color blind"
STOP 2 - ICELANDIC HORSE
Had to pull over real quick to pet this beautiful creature.
STOP! That Horse looks like THOR!
STOP 3 - GODAFOSS
This waterfall was in the movie Prometheus. Tight. There was a guy flying around a drone like a fighter jet, which you have to respect when crashing means you'll definitely never see it again.
STOP 4 - GRETTISLAUG, THE MOST BADASS CAMP SITE EVER
We did a lot of driving that day, and we read about a campsite very far north that sounded awesome, so we made it our destination and showed up around 9pm, and oh my GOODNESS was in incredible. We took this little dirt road all the way there, no idea what it was going to look like. Along the road there were tons of sheep and gorgeous horses running around, on one side there was a huge mountain with dark fog hanging over it and on the other side was the ocean. It was stunning.
OK. I accept the fact that I can't describe this campsite because it was too awesome... But I will try. It is on a peninsula on a fjord in the north of Iceland. It overlooks the mountains on the other side of the fjord, and there are some epic white cliff islands in the middle of the fjord. Fjord is a very fun word to say as often as possible. Anyway, this campsite was also at the base of these epic cliffs that always seemed to have the sun glistening off of them, and there was a big black sand beach adjacent. Also, this place had its own HOT SPRING, which was basically a series of naturally-heated hot tubs the size of swimming pools. The wind was intense, but we tucked up close behind ol' Rhonda (our "experienced" Jeep), and she protected us well enough.
Bryan was losing his mind over this campsite and all the awesome stuff surrounding it.
Do you know how good a Rum and Coke tastes after a full 15 hour day of exploring?
After an awesome meal and a few round of Captain-n-Cokes, we explored the area around camp. These are taken between 11pm and midnight!
ONLY MISSION - SEE SOME OF THE WESTFJORDS
Apparently people come to Iceland just for the Westfjords. You can spend up to a month exploring just that area because it is so vast, so we decided to spend our second to last day exploring the lower part of it. Everybody told us that there was no way to see the Westfjords in one day.... and they were mostly totally right, but we had an awesome day driving through the wilder parts of Iceland and seeing one of the coolest waterfalls in the world.
UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN, the scenic route is the ONLY route in the Westfjords.
OUR MAIN STOP - DYNJANDI
Can you spot me? Dynjandi was Bryan's favorite waterfall of the whole trip.
We got a lot of cool side-of-the-road stops in, but in order to make the Westfjords work at all, we kind of had to drive in, see Dynjandi, and drive out. We camped at ReyKholar, at a site that had AWESOME showers we couldn't drag ourselves away from for like half an hour.
We spent the morning driving back towards Reykavik.
STOP 1 - GLYMUR
(Apparently pronounced "glimmer") We attempted to hike this waterfall (our last one) on the way back to Reykavik and gave up half way haha. We were having dinner with an Icelandic family that night so we didn't want to be also also we were exhausted.
LAST STOP - THE BLUE LAGOON
(All Blue Lagoon photos shot on Iphone.) We got the Standard Admission, which included a mud mask. Everyone had these white masks on and it was so eerie.
mUd by dAv
Bryan and I started planning this trip with Dave and Grace back in MARCH! It was the most excited we've ever been for a trip (Honeymoon excluded), and it was all we could think about for months, and we knew it it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Once we got there, it was even better than we expected, and we were like "wow! this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip!". I will be SO PISSED if we were right about this trip being once-in-a-lifetime. I can't think of anywhere in the world I want to go more right now than BACK TO ICELAND.