Exploring Iceland: Þórsmörk Nature Reserve

After a day in Reykjavik, we began a 12-day, criss-cross exploration of Iceland via super truck.

About an hour from Reykjavik we stopped to photograph the first of many waterfalls we visited in Iceland. “Foss” is the Icelandic word for waterfall and while Urriðafoss (Trout Falls) is not very high (6 meters), it flows the highest volume of water of all the waterfalls in Iceland. All that falling water produces a lot of mist and we learned the hard way that it doesn’t take much of a breeze to deposit some of that mist on a camera lens! We quickly realized that if you’re photographing waterfalls in Iceland, it’s a good idea to keep a lens cloth handy.

Mr. GeoK walked slightly downstream (up wind) of Urriðafoss to set up his tripod.

We spent the rest of the day exploring Þórsmörk (Thórsmörk) Nature Reserve, located about 160 km east of Reykjavik. The last 30 km into Thórsmörk is a winding 4×4 track with about 20 unbridged river and stream crossings.

Our first stop in Thórsmörk was at Gígjökull, a glacial tongue off the Eyjafjallajökull ice cap. Eyjafjallajökull erupted three times in 2010, disrupting air travel for several days that April (when we were in England for spring break).

Thórsmörk is one of the most popular hiking areas in Iceland. At our second stop, we hiked an easy trail to the top of Valahnúkur. At 458 metres above the sea level, the peak offers a 360° view of Þórsmörk including the Eyjafjallajökull glacier with the river Króssá in the valley below. There are several interconnected trails here. We opted for a loop that took us past a Singing Cave (Sönghellir) and a backcountry campground before returning to the trailhead at Húsadalur. Our total hiking distance was about 5 km.

Our penultimate stop in Thórsmörk was another hike at Stakkholtsgjá canyon. The 100 meter tall canyon walls converged to a narrow slot where a waterfall tumbled down. Measuring just under 3 km (return), we spent almost as much time photographing the waterfall as we did walking the trail.

Our last stop in Thórsmörk was a fun one for K, who got to take the wheel of the super truck for one of the river crossings. The smile says it all!

Just before we reached the ring road we made our final stop of the day, at the 60 meter tall Seljalandsfoss. We opted not to walk behind the waterfall, because it was raining steadily and fairly crowded. Next time we’re in Iceland, we’d like to visit Seljalandsfoss and the nearby Gljufrabui waterfall, preferably very early one morning.


2 thoughts on “Exploring Iceland: Þórsmörk Nature Reserve

  1. Pingback: Hiking Iceland: Lagaveguer | Out and About with the GeoKs

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