Vik i Myrdal + the Mýrdalssandur
The drive to Vik seemed to take a long time - and we hadn't booked
accommodation, which was a little unsettling. It was misty when we
arrived and finding the youth hostel with a spare double room was a great
relief. I didn't want to use our sleeping bags again, so we paid extra
for linen - that was 4800 Krona for the two of us, and we paid another
1400 for breakfast. We laid out our tent to dry - it was still damp
from two nights earlier - showered, did some washing, and hung that up
to dry as well. It felt much later - it had been a very long day! -
but we were in bed by 10.30.
Thursday 28th August
Breakfast in the hostel was bread and jams, smoked fish, and cereal.
While we ate I finished charging my last camera battery - I'd started
on my fourth on the Þórsmörk hike!
We didn't get away till 9.45, filled up with petrol at the service
station and bought a bird "poster" (1300 króna). We went down to the
beach and the famous sea stacks off-shore - these looked just like one
of the exposure histograms on my digital camera, and I wondered if it
was possible to take a photo of them with a matching histogram.
We clambered a little way up the cliff on a steep track, but the birds
kept their distance and didn't seem much closer. Photographing them
wheeling was next to impossible with my camera, but Camilla managed some
reasonable photos with her SLR.
our juvenile fulmar
We had climbed back down and were all ready to set off when we spotted
a juvenile bird half-flying, half-falling down a scree slope into a
tangle of bush. We tried to rescue it by taking it back up the cliff,
but I dropped it and it ended up in the water heading out to sea (turns
out this was probably good for it). Meanwhile Camilla had found another
juvenile, picked it up, and charged up the track while carrying it in
both hands - the same track she'd previously clambered up cautiously!
Having washed our shirts, we went to a wool
factory, where we bought some t-shirts and an Iceland bird
book we'd looked at in several places but had decided was too
expensive at 4400 króna - here it was 3400. That did, however, make
the bird poster we'd just bought redundant.
The it was off across the Mýrdalssandur (the sand desert produced by
glacial outwash/flooding). This is renowned for wind-blown sand and
grit, but the revegetation programs seem to be working, since most of
the areas we saw had at least scattered grass on top.
We stopped several times, using the little parking spots along the road:
for views of the sandur, the glaciers in the distance, and the island-like
hill Hjörleifshöfði above the plain; at the Vellustrompur pseudocrater
field near Álftaver; at Laufskálavörður, where we built ourselves a small
stone mound for good luck; and in the middle of the lava field for lunch.
Previous: Þórsmörk (Thorsmork)
[Alternative spellings: Myrdalssandur, Laufskalavordur]