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Skaftafell - Svartifoss

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sunset over Skeiðarárjökull
We got into Skaftafell at 8.15pm and drove to the furthest field, which we had almost to ourselves. (There were maybe 200 people all up on the site, but there must be several thousand at peak times. There's a photo of the camping area on the next page.) We ate dinner while watching the sunset.

Feeling lazy, we drove back to huge toilet block near the Information Centre, which had plentiful hot water. Camilla showered, but we didn't have enough 50 króna pieces for me to as well. Back at the tent I played with long-exposure photographs (nothing turned out particularly well) and read and wrote for a while by torchlight, going to sleep at 11pm.

Friday 29th August

It was a bright sunny morning. I woke up at 7.30 but went back to sleep, and we didn't get to the Information Centre till 9. There we paid our camp fees and boiled water for muesli, soup, and coffee. Camilla found a drying room, so she did a load of washing while I tried to dry the tent. In the end we set off at 10.40 - the plan was to do the most ambitious day-walk on the "heath" Skaftafellsheiði, up to the peak of Kristinartindar and back.

Climbing through the woods, first we came to Hundafoss (Dog Falls), then the dramatic Svartifoss (Black Falls), which plunges in between hanging basalt columns reminiscent of organ pipes.

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Svartifoss
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Svartifoss basalt columns

From Svartifoss the track climbs up to the Sjónarsker viewpoint, which offers a panorama of Skaftafellsheiði, Kristinartindar at its top end, the mountains on either side of it, and the plain below. The centre of Skaftafellsheiði is a flattish alpine area, obviously rather muddy when it rains, though the tiny pockets of mud were just a curiosity for us!

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towards Kristinartindar
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through the heath
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Kristinartindar
We had lunch at 1.30 on the western edge, then stopped again at a viewpoint west of Kristinartindar. There were superb views of convoluted coloured mountains over Morsárdalur and of Morsárjökull and its prominent medial moraine.
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along the edge
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coloured mountains above Morsárdalur
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Morsárjökull with medial moraine

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[Alternative spellings: Skeidarajokull, Skaftafellsheidi, Sjonarsker, Morsardalur, Morsarjokull]

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