Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gjáin, Stöng, Hjálparfoss, Seljalandsfoss

(Photos: "hidden" waterfall near Seljalandsfoss)

How strange it feels to sleep in a bed!
We’re ready to leave at 8:15 and take Kristín with us. She has a few days off work and since we’re headed to Sigrún’s anyway that evening, she’d like to come along and visit her sister.

The weather is much more to my liking today – a bit cooler and partly cloudy. Later we’ll even run into a bit of rain. First stop, Stöng and Gjáin. We walk around a bit and then head towards Stöng first. As Ernesto and I head towards the footbridge to cross the small river, Kristín (age 60) just takes off her shoes, rolls up her jeans and walks right through the river barefoot. After taking a peek at the building at Stöng, we take a long walk throughout the whole Gjáin area. Gjáin is a small green valley with several small waterfalls, ponds and basalt structures. Mushrooms are scattered throughout the area. We briefly consider hiking to Háifoss, but decide against it and get in the car instead and drive to Hjálparfoss, another beautiful waterfall surrounded by basalt structures. Then we get back into the car as the first raindrops hit, and head south. Stop at a few stores along the way for supplies, and then finally reach Seljalandsfoss. Although I’ve seen Seljalandsfoss close to fifty times in all kinds of weather, today our local guide Kristín showed us the “hidden” waterfall that’s a few meters behind the campsite. There’s a small trail behind the campsite leading up to the waterfall, which is invisible from the main trail. Once you get up to the top, there’s a bit of climbing to do. Finally there’s a wooden crate propped up to help people climb up and take a peak. Wow! This waterfall is so steep and full of green moss, that it reminds me of something in the Amazon rain forest. You can also enter the hidden waterfall at its base by walking through the large crevice between the rocks. Make sure to wear rain gear! After exploring the top of the waterfall, Ernesto and Kristín take of their shoes and walk through the crevice to get an up-close look. Because of my infected toe, which is bandaged up, I stay behind to take pictures. That’s ok, I’ll be back! Ernesto and Kristín get soaked, and although both have raincoats, they’re wearing jeans. But the weather is warm and it’s a lot of fun.

In the evening after a long day of waterfalls, we finally arrive at Eystri-Sólheimar, where Sigrún welcomes us with a pot of wonderful fish soup. For dessert we have crepes with homemade rhubarb jam and ice cream, and there’s plenty of wine as well.