Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mountain bike to Engidalur

Mountain bike Mánaljós
Today I’m on my own and I can enjoy a day out on my new toy – a mountain bike. I don’t plan on getting a car anytime soon and since I need some kind of transportation here, even if it’s just to make it to the discount grocery store Bónus, a bike it is. I’ve always enjoyed mountain biking so I ordered a real good one from Reykjavík as soon as I arrived. The local sports store put it together, and there’s even a small bike workshop here with a guy who’s good at fixing and adjusting just about everything on it. It took me a while to find bike bags and a helmet but now I’ve got all the gear and am ready to go. 

Birdlife in Engidalur
Today I just take a short ride out of town, past the newer residential part of town and Bónus and into Engidalur valley, just before the airport. The road follows along the interior of the fjord and the area is rich in birdlife here since the waters are quite shallow, especially during low tide. It’s fun just to sit along the water, listen to the birds and watch the reflection of the mountains in the water. At the new cemetery, the road turns gravel. A few farms are scattered throughout the area. I want to scout out the area since my hiking map says there are some nice trails here. In fact, there’s a lake up in the mountains called Fossavatn that I’d like to see. There’s a sign pointing to it and a jeep track leading through a deep river and after closely examining the river, I decide that I can't get across. 

Picturesque farmhouse
(It would have been amusing to watch me “examine” the river. First I attempted to drive through it on my bike, got wet feet when I lost my balance and put my foot down. Then I parked the bike, took off my shoes and waded through it, but without wading shoes and I didn’t get far before the rocky bottom became torture.  Well, since my shoes were wet anyway, I put my shoes back on and waded through it again. This time I got nearly all the way across but the water went up past my crotch and I decided to call it a day. Cold and wet, I sat for a longtime on the shore hoping the sun would come out and warm me up.)

My trip is cut short by a phone call, time to race back into town and take care of some house duties. But I’ll be back soon with a battle plan since I really want to see that mountain lake! 

Later back in town, I stop in the fish store at the harbor to buy dinner and chat with Kári Jó. He sees my hiking poles and asks where I’ve been. He laughs at my adventures and tells me just to drive farther along the gravel road all the way to the power station and there’s a bridge over the river. Duh!