Wednesday, 29 March 2017 _ MegaGlaciers
Deb and I began our day with the included breakfast buffet at Lambafell. It was not bad, but probably the least exciting breakfast we’ve had. From here, we continued east on Route 1, past Vik and spending the next couple days at Skaftafell to do as much as possible. On the way to Skaftafell were a few sights we checked out around the Vik area that were worth seeing. The first one we came to was Dyrholaey, which is a natural rock arch and visible from the road. Although, we didn’t make the drive, there’s a gravel road leading up to a lighthouse on the cliff that I believe might have the best view of the arch. Many of the other turn-offs nearby restrict tourists from driving down them as they’re private property.
Continuing past the rock arch, we came to Reynisfjara, which is an expansive black sand beach. We stopped on the west side of the beach at an overlook that gave us a great view of the area. It was incredibly cold, windy, and rainy so we didn’t stay too long. Right in the town of Vik, we could see Reynisdrangar, which is a series of rock pillars protruding up from the ocean. It was now snowing and still just as windy, which led us to not check this site out for very long. Next stop, Skaftafell National Park. Luck must have been our side as the weather cleared and warmed up to about 55-degrees F. We checked out what the information center had to offer and we were on our way exploring what the glaciers had to offer. Our first hike took us out to Skaftafell Glacier, which was a short, flat hike out the S1 Blue trail. Traversing the glacial pools, you could walk right up to the glacier wall. I tried climbing up it, but who knew, glaciers are slippery. We ate lunch out by the base of the glacier and then returned to the visitor center to see what else we could get into.
The next hike we chose was the Morsardalur Hike, which was a longer hike that we mixed up a bit. We took Blue M1/M2/M3 (lava rock field, flat) to Red M2/M3 (forested, uphill) to Sjonersker Peak (cool view) to Svartifoss Waterfall (must see, Instagram Gold), back downhill to our car on blue trails. Deb and I moved pretty quick and spent about 3 hours on this hike. The elevation gain was not too bad, so in general it was a pretty mellow hike.
I booked all of our hotels 2 – 3 weeks before our trip, which in hindsight, was not early enough. The lodging by Skaftafell was mostly booked up by the time I ended up looking, which led us to stay in Hofn at the Apotek Guesthouse (apotekguesthouse.is). This was a great place to stay, it was just far from the entrance to Skaftafell (1hr 15min – 2 hr, depends on how fast you drive), which we wanted to spend a second day at. The main grocery store (Netto) was closed by the time we checked into Apotek Guesthouse around 8pm. This led Deb and I to Pakkhus (pakkhus.is), a cool restaurant on the harbor in Hofn and quite tasty. Some highlights included the smoked trout appetizer and the langoustino (lobster) pizza. They pair well with a tall Viking beer, just sayin’.