Iceland – Day 4


The day in Iceland wouldn’t be full if we haven’t visited at least one waterfall, so on the fourth day, we checked out Fardagafoss, Litlanesfoss, and Hengifoss 🙂

We also attempted to drive to Lake Askja. That was my first real take into Highlands 🙂

 

Lake Askja

I wanted to check out this lake as it looked marvelous at the pictures 🙂 Plus, I really wanted to drive in Highlands!

Askja Caldera is located in Vatnajökull National Park. Askja is a 50 square kilometers subsidence cauldron formed when a lava chamber, just under the surface of the earth, emptied in a volcanic eruption, causing the roof above it collapsed.

There you can see Öskjuvatn Lake – the deepest lake in Iceland and Víti volcano. Víti volcano contains a 60m deep geothermal lake filled with bright blue water at 22 degrees Celsius.

On the way to Askja, there are shelters (Dreki Huts) with rangers. You should inquire there if it is possible to bathe in the lake. Sometimes due to the weather, it might be not possible. When access is restricted, you’ll see some wooden “x” planted right on the trail leading down the crater. You can still see everything from the top, though.

The interesting fact: during the Appollo program, they were using the area for training lunar landing missions!

Prepare for around 1h hike in some snow even in summer. But the views after reaching the top are worth it – at least from all the pictures, I saw online!!!

Road to lake Askja

Initially, I wanted to take road F88, but the hotel owner I stayed at told me it is not possible with my Dacia Duster. I would need a car with higher suspension and snorkel because of the waist-deep rivers to cross 🙂 See, don’t always trust Google Maps! 😀 He also gave me a crash course on how to cross a river with a car!

Instead of F88, he proposed road 910. It has three rivers to cross, but he said they should be doable in my car. At the start of the route, there was a map showing where the rivers were.

It pointed out that you will need 4×4. If you don’t have 4×4 and go with your regular car, the insurance on it will be voided, so remember that!

The route we picked was terrific, and the views breathtaking. The only problem was that it takes around 7h one way to get to the lake with it. It takes you over the dam, and there are some waterfalls on the way. The road until the dam is paved and pleasant to drive on. Afterward, it turns into a gravel road.

So yeah, after crossing two streams with my car, and 3h on the bumpy gravel road while trying to keep up with another jeep that knew the route, my mom was close to killing me 😀

So when we learned, we still have another 3 hours and two rivers to go, and it was already 19.00 we decided to turn back. Not that the darkness was an issue, the midnight sun is an excellent solution for that:)

My mom started being afraid something will happen to the car, and we would get stranded. A Youtube tutorial of how to change a tire did not convince her it would be fine 😀

But I will definitely be back!! I had so much fun driving on this road!!!

What is important to remember is to:

  • Check road.is whether the road is passable, right before you depart.
  • Have enough fuel. We met a couple that had to turn back because they were running out of it.
  • Take some food in case you get stuck in the middle of nowhere. The cellphones don’t have coverage in some areas.
  • Have a map on you. Sadly I thought Google would be enough. It is not, it does not have all the F roads, and I was forced to follow some guys that knew the road.
  • Don’t cross a deep river if you are not sure you can do it. Follow some other car and see how the driver does it if you are not sure. Car insurances in Iceland do not cover river crossings, so be careful.

I have read it is possible to take public transportation to Askja, and they drive super jeep. Many private companies can also drive you there.

But I have to admit; I had a lot of fun driving with all the adrenaline pumping through my system 🙂 Even though I only crossed small streams, it was a lot of fun!

Fardagafoss

This waterfall was close to the road, so we decided to check it out. It takes around half an hour to hike to the waterfall, and you can enjoy the beautiful gorge and views over the whole valley. It is possible to hike to the waterfall if you want to check it out from a closer distance.

Litlanesfoss

Right before the road 910 to Askja starts, there are two waterfalls: Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss. It is located next to Lagarfljót lake and faces Hallormsstaðarskógur forest.

The whole trail is around 2,5 km. Litlanesfoss is the first waterfall you will see while hiking up the hill after around 1,5km.

Basalt columns flank Litlanesfoss much like Aldeyjarfoss waterfall and I love how magical it looks! This waterfall is 30 meters high in two steps and cascades into a small pond.

Hengifoss

A little bit more up the hill, you will see Hengifoss. It is 128 meters high, making it the 2nd highest waterfall in Iceland (3rd in some rankings)!

It takes around 1-hour hike to reach it (2,5km). When I was there, it was not possible to hike right next to the waterfall. The trail was closed due to the preservation of flora. However, when it is open, it is possible to walk behind the waterfall, where there is a small cave.

The red layers behind the fall are called fossil soil and show different climate changes when volcanoes erupted fossilizing the earth.

To be honest, I preferred Litlanesfoss or waterfalls from the previous day. But it is a beautiful hike, though rather crowded.

 

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