Summer 2017 - Iceland on the way to/back from Greenland

In my last Blog I wrote about my exciting trip to western Greenland north of the polar circle. On the way to and back from Greenland we stopped for several days on Iceland. Flying to Greenland through Iceland has many advantages one of them is to be able to spend some days on this remarkable island, which is totally different to Greenland.

We did not have to much time on the way to Greenland, as we had been already quite late in the year. On the way back, however, we spent a good week, crossing the highlands and visiting some places in the far north around Dalvik. Many years back, still a student at the University, I participated in a research project and stays 6 weeks in this area. Since then I never visited the valley, where I dug up periglacial features.

This blog will be quite short, as, as usual, everything is packed already to start our Patagonia-Falkland-South Georgia Photographic Expedition. I am quite excited to go back to subantarctica again.

Reykjanes

Reykjanes and its vicinity is a place I know very well, but I wanted to look for some new locations for my upcoming workhop in Iceland during winter 2018. Some turned out to be quite nice, some are not really suited for winter..... Anyway we had tremendous weather and it was fun to see Reykjanes on a hot summer day!

 

 

Crossing the Highlands

We chose one of the easier crossings, a track called Kjölur, which is quite easy to navigate as all river crossing have bridges. Nonetheless it is really beautiful and expecially the thermal areas are spectacular!

We had a short stop at Geysir and Gullfoss and there have been some major changes to these places. Barriers and fences have been a quite unusual sight in Iceland, if you fall from a cliff, it is your problem..... But with the increased number of tourists, which are definitly not only outdoorsy people, the big places have to be managed differently. It is maybe not nice for us photographers, but it is understandable. During our last workshop we had been at the Black Beach of Vik when a tourist was caught by a wave and was never seen again.

At Geysir there are only a few more fences, but at Gullfoss the lower platform and its footpath boasts new fences and can be closed with a solid gate. I am sure that during winter we cannot reach the lower platform! Rangers are patrolling, the stairs have been widened, the visitor center is expanding and the visitors stood three rows deep at the major viewpoints. You had to cue! It all depended on the number of busses arriving.

All the same, Gullfoss is still an awesome place!

The North

After crossing the Highlands we drove towards Akuryeri and furtheron to Olafsfjordur, where we stayed in a cabin for a couple of days. The Trollaskagi Peninsula is one of the places, which are not overrun by tourists not during summer and not at all during winter. The mountains are as good as you can get it in Iceland and it is a great area for hiking in summer and cross country skiing during winter. And the Skithadalur in the Trollaskagi peninsula is is the valley, where I stayed more than a month to research periglacial geomorphological features. Our mountain hut is still standing (still the same maps and drawings pinned to the walls!!!), the mountains are still there, but the valley is now more grazed as 30 years ago. It was great to see the area again...

The whole peninsula is a lovely and remote area. Dalvik and Siglufjordur are the main towns, especially Siglufjordur is well worth a visit. The Herring Museum is a showpiece how recent history can be arranged. Highly recommended!

The first Northern Lights have been in the sky and the sheep and horses were beeing driven from the high pastures to be seperated and given back to their owners for winter pasture and stables. After a few days and some hot tubs we used the 1 to drive back. Fall was in full swing and the vegetation turned red and yellow!

Back to Keflavik

We did not stop often and weather changed to the worse as well! But the stop at Hraunfossar was really great, lovely colors and dramatic clouds....

Hraunfossar was the last location before we arrived in Keflavik and all was over.

I must say that after Greenland and Iceland I was tired and looked forward to stay at least a few weeks at home to recover before heading to the deep south!

What else is to say?

Tomorrow I will drive to Frankfurt and will meet my group on Wednesday in Frankfurt airport. Via Buenos Aires and Puerto Madryn we will fly/sail to Subantarctica. Elephant Seals, Albatrosses, Penguins and Whales - we are coming....

Check out my workshop pages for my next workshops especially our expedition to Greenland is a unique opportunity to see and photograph some of the most fascinating places Greenland can offer!

 

Munich Oktober 2017