Iceland 2021 Page 5

Thoughtful Ride To Þjórsárdalur Camp

Ready for another day on the road!

Now you see it ...

... Now you don't.

Frozen mountain top in the distance.

Messy post-rain cloudscape.

One liter of reduced-fat milk: My constant companion in Iceland.
Enjoying the wacky weather.
Spot the sheep!

Ready for another evening.

Comfy as usual!

The Commonwealth

Sleeping bag got a little damp at the foot again. Time to dry it before packing.

What damp adventures lay ahead today?

Pricey, but given how hard it is to find salad greens in this country, I'll take it.

Wild, weird ground cover.

Info about the farm replica.

Turftastic!

The hand sanitizer is a bit out of place, but oh well.
Whoah, okay, there's that 'stepped inside a game of Skyrim' feeling again, big time.
Oh boy, poop troughs!

YES. MORE FISH...

Strangely narrow hallways.

Drying things off again!

Into the Highlands

The room without luggage exploded all over it.

A nicely equipped highland touring bike.

Gas? Who needs gas!!

I like this guy!

These little hillside streams are often exploding with green.
Water suspended on moss.
It's like running your finger over extremely thick grass.
A really intense carpet.
Everything is just the right size to make surface tension a major factor.
The carpet goes right to the edge of the water.
Long strands of moss.
Waiting to climb the next hill.
What's this land good for?
Volcanic wasteland.
Glacial lake thick with rock dust.
Fresh water from contributing streams mixes slowly.
Power marching off towards the city.
At first I thought it was a burned-out cabin. I think it's actually some kind of monument.

Two flavors of glacier, mixing together.

I recommend against jumping!

A fine place to contemplate hydrodynamics.

The first of many, many sand skids.

Under every rock... A spider!

Very slowly climbing the hills.
This is a pretty weird landscape.
Moonscape!
Lots of funky road ahead.
Politely discouraging off-road drivers.

Yet another sand skid.

Ugh, nearly fell from that one.

Water busily rushing.

Enjoying the weirdness of the place.

The sun's getting low at the edge of the hills.

One pedal at a time...
Where I stepped up from the road to walk around a bit.
It looks like mud, but it was solid enough for riding. Most of the time.
This is what you get, for decades hence, when some punk-ass tourist decides the rules don't apply to him.
What's around the bend? More mountains!
Lava tube funkyness by the side of the road.
Hey look, an intersection!
Tired but enjoying life.

Come on GPS, stick with me...

I find it hilarious that there is a warning about needing a 4x4 vehicle out here in the middle of the park.

It's a wee footbridge! Strong enough for my bike too.

Manhandling the bike over the hillside trail that pedestrians use to get to the camp.

Perhaps this is part of a sign, repurposed to be part of the bridge. Why else would it be here?

The charming pathway to the camp. That water is actually quite warm.

Folks up late doing dishes.

The sign at the head of a four day hiking trail.

One of the few acceptable patches of open ground that was also a polite distance from other campers.

Exploring On Foot For A Change

Doing laundry in the midday sun.

The camp area during the day.

The site in the late afternoon.
These clever campers found a wooden pallet and built their tent over it.
Folks lined up in the car camping area. Looks like one of them is a bike rental company.
A Kubb pitch.
A busy campground!

The MOUNTAIN MALL!

Pretty steep price. Perhaps they got tired of people "borrowing" their power sockets.

Be Nicelandic! Don't be an Iceland Dick!

A bus full of goods.

Today's lunch, tomorrow's breakfast.

Sardines from Poland! At least, that's what my translate app says.

Now this is an office.
A wide, flat glacial outwash plain, also known as a sandur.
A procession of hikers, doing the more elevation-heavy day hike around the ridge.
Someone enjoying the wind.
Some hikers reaching the high point of the northern ridge trail.

Have fun in there, folks!

Folks basting in their juices.

Hoenstly, I will never understand the appeal of sitting in a hot spring with two dozen random strangers.

I wonder what the story behind these is. Are they all from cars that got destroyed by the roads?
A slightly more traditional looking structure.
Yay Iceland!
Sheep doin' their chompy thing.
The hot water is host to all kinds of strange life.
If this was in Oakland I would assume it was industrial waste. Out here, it's got to be some naturally growing variety of algae.
BLOOORRRP
Mist coming off the hot water.

A driver trying their luck.

I hope those luggage compartments are water-sealed!

A beat-up diagram. I'm currently at the lower of the two house icons.

Hikers examining the local maps, and getting advice.

Yay! More bike tourists!

A tempting valley to explore.
An enjoyable evening walk along a rough riverside trail.
So many interesting rocks here!
The sun lingers at this angle for hours.
Such interesting light here.
A nicely oriented lens flare, I think.
Obsidian?
Climbing up out of the narrow valley, onto the lava field.

A confusing terrain.

Alternately rough, and smooth as glass.

Some artist could probably turn this into about two dozen really nice looking table lamps. Well, except it would be illegal to do so.

I swear it looks like a hunk of stale bread.
Slowly the moss and lichen heaps up on the rocks, and tears it apart, a tiny piece at a time.
Such odd shapes here.
Pop!
It kind of looks like the rock face exploded.
A bit of open space running through the middle of the lava field.
It looks terribly romantic!
Oh crap, I should have been on this trail the entire time. I feel pretty dumb about that.
Given how many people must walk on this trail every year, it's no surprise they were having problems with erosion before they set it up.
The official bathing area isn't the only spot with hot water. All this water runs the spectrum from warm to burning.

Heading back down towards the camping area.

Three sheep buts clustered together looks really alarmingly like a black bear.

Wassup?

Mineral deposits crusting over the hot water spigot, making it look much older than it actually is. Not to mention gross.

Weird And Glorious Terrain

Looking back from the little pedestrian trail, as I manhandle my bike along it once again.

Sometimes I get the impression that sheep are activelty searching for the most remote patch of grass, even when they're surrounded by perfectly good grass near home.

Pretty sure this is the last actual bridge the road will provide me with for the next 50 miles.

Who wants ice cream?

Aaah, the open road! I really should have come here with better tires...

Enjoying the day.

Ugh, more loose sand.

Some motorcyclists waiting for their group to catch up.
Little pictures in little boxes can't really convey how refreshing it is to be surrounded by this.
An unwelcome amout of sand on the road, but the surroundings more than make up for it.
My view as I ate breakfast.
So many rocks, slowly drifting down the hillside...
Fields of flowers, interesting mountains, good weather, and no one for miles.
It's a long, rough way up.
Stopping for a snack and pee break, because why not.

It's like a massive, sparkly piece of naan bread.

Oh look, Timmy has spilled his soda water on the polyester carpet! Except... THE CARPET IS ALIVE.
You think it's ice, don't you? Or some kind of resin or sap? Nope! It's ordinary rainwater, floating on top of a blanket of thick moss due to surface tension.
Sometimes the water sinks in, sometimes it doesn't.
A spider patrols the surface of this strange mossy world.
When I saw this, I had to stop. It just looked so bizarre.
Water drops large and small ride atop this surface.
Once the drops grow beyond a certain size they start to vibrate in the constant wind.

I didn't try drinking one, but I was tempted.

Valoria, ready for more travel.

It was within easy walking distance of the bike, so I strolled over.

Nice sno-cone material, except for the grit.

Scoopable!

The first of many river fjordings.

Crossing number 2. Same deal as the first crossing.

Successfully shoved the bike across. Good thing I have waterproof bags along the bottom.

This fellow did a U-turn in the river, since it was the widest part of the road. He's probably towed a hundred broken cars down from these roads over the years.
Up there somewhere is a cute little lake, according to the map.
Okay, the bags are across, now for the bike...
Now those are some dark hills.
Looking back down at the road.
I am amused by these river crossings!
Another shot of those black hills.
And over the hill... More hills. And more river crossings.
Winding my way down to crossing number 3. Too minor to be listed on the official map.
Not looking forward to all that sand.
Just the worst for traction. Good thing I was already walking the bike.
Fortunately it's not very deep.
That was relatively easy! Didn't even need to remove the lower bags.
The sand is always a nuisance.

I don't recall seeing hills this dark anywhere else. The lack of vegetation contributes to it.

Mmmm lunch! More sardines!

This is a good day.

Time for a break by this vibrant little stream.

Lots of tiny fungi saying hello on the bank of the stream.

Straight down from the side of the mountain on my left.

Ice cold. Time for a drink!

Even with the river crossings, this chunk of the route is actually easier than the chunk leading down into Landmannalaugar from the north.
Approaching another river crossing.
Had to take the lower bags off again for this one.
A pair of cyclists going the other way. We traded tips about the terrain ahead.
I was tempted to try blazing right across it while still on the bike. Glad I didn't.
The black hills probably melt snow quickly in the sun.
Wet, but too full of rocks and well compressed by truck tires to be mud.
Another hour, another crossing!
You can see how the puddle grows as cars range farther up and downstream from it, aiming for the shallower edges.
I think this is crossing number ... Ten? Eleven? Do the minor ones count?
This was one of three crossings in a row, as the river zig-zagged over the road.
I took another drink here. It was just so tasty looking...

A strange hunk of rock, worn down from years of flooding.

As I got closer it looked more and more bizarre.

I suspect this fell down from the hillside above, years ago, and then the debris around it got washed away.

Dang, this hill went up a long way...
Another roadside snack stop.
Strange terrain at the top of this hill.
Still not the last fjord!
Pleased to be up here!
Looking back from a long, careful climb.
Things have names out here?
Such an interesting texture. Like the plates on a turtle.
I'm not sure what this marker is for. It was driven into the ground about ten feet from the edge of the road.
So much green!
Such lovely colors...
One of the larger fjords, but it had a narrow span suitable for my bike.
Pausing halfway across for a photo.
It's not deep, but the tires tend to sink into the rocks.
Snacking and pedaling!
The last valley before the big downhill.

These rocks are here as a polite reminder that people shouldn't go joyriding away from the road.

The last fjord -- in the highlands at least.

My constant companion.

Giddyup!

Ugh, this hill was steep.
It's not a rock... It's some kind of article of clothing, smashed into the road.
I do believe I'm looking at a mangled pair of shorts.
The reward for that climb: An incredible panorama.
Hundreds of square miles of wandering river, in one view.

Deep channels eroded into the hills from meltwater streams.

Partway down, leaning on the brakes. A fall onto this at speed would be brutal.

A landscape of fuzzy lumps. Not a tree or even a bush in sight.

Look at that cute little bridge! Awww!
This river did not have an easy way for a bike to cross, and it looked deeper than all the others.
Taking the bridge option.
It really was a cute bridge.
Someone got so wired on their French-press coffee that they took off and forgot the French-press.
Lovely land lumps.
Spooky lumps!
The evening sheep are aglow!
Look at that fluffy halo!
A flat road cutting through a very bumpy landscape.
A tiny wedge of sundog next to an old contrail.

I tihnk these ruts are from groups of horses and cattle being run up and down the road.

At first I thought those parallel ruts were made by animals. Then I realized that they were previous versions of the road.

People drove their trucks over the hill in the same ruts, year after year, until the ruts got plowed too deep and began scraping the underside of the vehicle. Then they started driving up a fresh patch of ground on one side. Do that for twenty or thirty years on a fragile landscape … and now we all get to look at the results for about a century.

Ah, finally at my stopping place for the night!

I always like signs with lots of symbols. Plenty of services to choose from.

The fire escape ladder is somewhat lacking.

An interior that houses 20 people, and only two of us sleeping there.

No need for a tent tonight!

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