Landmannalaugar - Nyidalur

Trip Start Aug 05, 2012
Trip End Aug 19, 2012

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Flag of Iceland  , Northeast,
Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wake up at 8am. After breakfast, most of the members of the group wanted to chill out and enjoy the hot spring. But O. and I did not get enough out of Landmannalaugar and agreed immediately when Pierre suggested we could climb Blahnjukur. 
Blahnjukur is a volcano and is about 940 m high. Despite its black color, its name translates to "blue peak" in english due to volcanic ash and lava flows.  


A hiking trail leads up to the top of the mountain. It was quite steep and slippery, and the weather was very windy that day making the ascent all the more difficult. After 40 minutes, we reached the top and could enjoy the panorama despite the extremely strong wind. We were only the three of us over there, dominating lakes and glaciers while lava flows was playing hide and seek with a light mist. 
The descent of Blahnjukur volcano is supposed to be quite dangerous and slippery due to the huge amount of stones covering the ground. But Pierre, O. and I, as good skiers, started to glide and surf over the smooth layer of stones and we reached the bottom of the mountain with no difficulties. This fast fast descent, surrounded by the amazing color of Landmannalaugar's ryolithes, was a memorable experience. 


On the way back, we met J. and S. who were strolling in the Langharaun lava field. We walked together back to the campsite where we arrived around 11 am. The rest of the group had already packed every tents, even ours ! Therefore we had time for a quick shower before having lunch. We finally left the campsite at 1 pm.

Our first stop was at Ljötipollur, a lake nestled in the crater of a volcano, as often encountered in Iceland, you might say. Here the rock is bright red, which contrasts with the green of mosses and the blue water of the lake. Red, green, blue: an explosive mixture to a breathtaking landscape!
Strangely, Ljotipollur means "ugly pond." Personally, I find this lake beautiful, even when the sky is gray.This volcano is relatively recent: it was formed in 1480. A pocket of magma tried to rise to the surface. During its ascent, it unexpectedly encountered with an aquifer. A so-called phreatomagmatic eruption occured: the thermal shock caused a violent explosion and gave birth to this 1.5 kilometer long crater. Water then cooled magma and recorks elegantly the gigantic wound, obscuring the probably chaotic bottom. This type of crater is called a maar and is very common in Iceland, and even in Europe. 
From the top of Ljötipollur, we could enjoy the 360° view over Landmannalaugar and Frostastašavatn, which is another beautiful lake very close to Landmannalaugar's campsite.









When we left Ljötipollur, we rapidly lost sight of Pinto II, our second car. We turned back and found Pinto II in the middle of the road, trailer blocked and clutch jammed. It took Alex several minutes to fix the problem and we could eventually leave Landmannalaugar. We drove towards Hrauneyjar and stopped at Hrauneyjar Highland Center to fill the tank, take a cup of coffee, and connect to free wi-fi ;-)

We then took road F26 which is in fact a rough track meandering in Sprengisandur rocky desert and surrounded by two huge glaciers: Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull. We stopped a couple times to enjoy the view, despite a strong wind. We finally arrived at Nyidalur which is a small oasis in the middle of the track with a hut of the Icelandic Hiking Hut. We slept in Gamliskali (The Old Hut) which has two storeys. We shared the place with another group and we occupied the sleeping room on the ground floor, close to the kitchen. The room was equipped with bunk beds and a large table. WC and showers were in a separate house.







After dinner, we went and discuss with Sola, the manager, who told us that the first ford we were supposed to cross the next day might be very difficult due to high level of water and strong current. We had to wait for the rangers' opinion. 

The mythical road F910 would not be easily tamed ! 

The only chance for us to cross the ford and take road F910 will be to leave early in the morning the next day...

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