One of the reasons I love road trips so much (besides the obvious: love of car games – our favour on this trip was one called “contact”) is that you have the opportunity to discover what many people might miss. A lot of highlights for me were in what we found along the way. Sometimes our stops were planned, and other times we pulled over because one of us spotted something worth exploring.
As we started heading back west after our Ice Cave adventure, we caught a glimpse of a waterfall off in the distance, just as we were approaching a little turn off the main road. We ran off to explore and found this tall waterfall, which was tucked into the hills. Just a small hike up to the fall, all the rocks and crevices were covered in layers of squishy velvety green moss. With the sun slowly starting to set behind us, this impromptu stop was a perfect way to end the day!
A look back at Dusty from the waterfall
The next day, after a night at Vik Hostel (where we were surprised by a traditional Christmas treat of glögg), we were lead on a Viking Tomb hike by our proprietors (and their dog!). This was basically the only time on the trip that I didn’t bring my camera with me. The hike was beautiful and would have made for some great photos, but it was also the most strenuous hiking we did the whole trip. Imagine a steep hill of rock. Now cover it with a layer of moss, a pile of tall grasses, and up to two feet of snow in some places. Each step you took resulted in sinking down about a foot into the fluffy lava-moss-grass cloud that was the hill.
Next up alone our drive was a stop at the Sólheimasandur abandoned aeroplane. Like the tucked away 1920’s swimming pool we explore on our way to Vik, this plane crash site is one I had read about, but never in a million years could have found without knowing about it. With the help of some handy-dandy directions, we found the right unmarked turn leading to a not-quite-a-road. Just when we started to think we might be lost forever in the endless black sand of the south coast, the plane’s skeleton materialised over the horizon. The rust-coloured sun was struggling to push its way out from the grey clouds, and the frigid wind whipped through the plane’s metal frame making the whole experience very surreal… and incredibly cold.
Dusty in her natural state… of looking like she’s in a car commercial
Off-roading is fun!
Back to the road once more, and we made one more stop on our way to the night’s destination of Selfoss: Skógafoss. With the sheer number of massive waterfalls Iceland has to offer, it’s striking how none of them look alike. Skógafoss is one of the more popular waterfalls, and very easy to find off the main road. You can walk right up to the base of it along the river, as well as climb up along side of it to the top. With such a grey day, we couldn’t see the rainbow that usually accompanies the waterfall, but it was striking none-the-less.