Incredible day today. Since I am so overwhelmed and running out of words to describe this glorious county, my camping buddy volunteered to write the Day 4 blog.
Myvatn, where we landed last night, is known for its unique geology as it sits on top of the meeting of two underground tectonic plates. We had been getting strong whiffs of hydrogen sulphide (think rotten eggs) for a while yesterday from all the underground geothermal activity; today our nostrils were in overdrive. It’s important to note that we were classy and did not hold our noses, perhaps because we were so overcome by the amazing landscape (-:
We started the morning with a mesmerizing visit to Hverir, aka Namafjall, a high temperature area with active steam vents (the earth blowing steam), fissures (cracks in the earth), fumaroles (basically earth burps through which the earth releases hot sulphurous gases), and mud pots (more earth burps in the form of bubbling, toxic mud). It was truly the closest we have ever come to feeling like we were on Mars.
By the way, “fumarole” is Salma’s new favourite word. By the way, we read somewhere that Neil Armstrong was sent to a similar area in Iceland over fifty years ago as part of his training for the famous lunar landing.
Back to Hverir, the views were stunning. Hats off to Iceland for making a safe path through which we could walk. On the topic of smart Icelanders, we have to also say that each person we have encountered has been superbly friendly, polite and helpful. Their English is also amazing; much better than our Icelandic!
Next, we climbed the Hverfjall 500 m high black and barren volcano crater and hiked its perimeter at the top. During this short 1.5 hour hike (maybe longer because we couldn’t resist stopping to take pictures — can you blame us?), Mother Nature pelted us with a series of four-letter words: wind, rain, hail and finally after she had had our way with us, some warmth…not that the weather detracted from our experience of this serene and strange environment or anything….just saying.
We ended our day hiking the Dimmuborgir nature reserve with unique lava formations something akin to hoodoos. The pictures say it all: majestic, eerie, cool.
We’ve gotten used to the sulphur smell; even the geothermically heated water in the showers smells of sulphur. Such is life – many people pay for this smell (Banff Hot Springs, anyone?); why not just enjoy it?