From Skaftafell to Hverfisfljót, Day Six
Brúarárbotnar – Hverfisfljót
The blue sky from yesterday is replaced by dense fog again as Conni peeps out of the tent to check what makes these strange noises. And sure enough there they are, our woolen friends - five of them casting a reproachful glance in our direction for disturbing them at their favourite breakfast spot.
We pack up and follow more or less the Brúará over hilly terrain. In spite of a mostly grey sky and intermittent drizzle, we declare this to be the perfect atmosphere for these surroundings. When the sky is grey, the moss shines in all shades of green all the more. Unexpectedly, given its current size (we think it has been particularly dry lately), the Brúará carved out an impressively deep canyon featuring waterfalls, basins of sapphire blue water and flows past walls entirely made of basalt (good shout David! We think we found your lonely footprints in the river bed :p ). Having no major obstacles to worry about anymore, we take our time today to soak up the scenery.
As we reach the southern edge of the plateau, we can already see the sea at the horizon - almost back in civilisation!
If we took the direct route, we could reach the ring road in the late afternoon today. Instead, we decide to stick to our original plan to make a detour in the direction of Hnúta for having a look at the dreaded Hverfisfljót and this extraordinary thing we could see there, we were told (only we had no idea what that thing could be; thanks again David!).
Different from all the other lava fields before, the Núpahraun flourishes in lush green and is soft as a sponge to your feet. Here and there, peculiar black boulders break the picture of a purely comfortable mossy carpet. We have a good laugh when we realise that many of those boulders share the same funny hair - a big tuft of grass sitting lonely right on top, punks!
When we arrive at a spot from where we should see the Hverfisfljót tumbling down the pass between Hnúta and Brattháls in the distance, we can just stare in confusion. Where there should be a river is only a brown mud slide left with occasional spray emerging like a fountain from somewhere hidden what appears to be inside the slope. Right at our feet however from behind a bend, the grey river roars past us with unbroken force, mixing with a deeply blue freshwater river. Our best guess from our viewpoint is that the river carved a subterrestial channel and in fact vanishes into the depth of this channel before reappearing at the foot of Hnúta.
We don’t go any closer to verify but still discuss the possible existence of a natural bridge over the Hverfisfljót whilst following the river further southward. Note: David went much closer to the canyon and took impressive pictures. It seems that the river isn’t really subterranean: the canyon is so narrow that it is just not visible from below.
We pass a big installation for water level measurements, which tells us enough about the threat the Hverfisfljót poses to settlements further downstream - not very surprising! At a massive step fall, we leave the Hverfisfljót behind to search for a last camping spot on this trip somewhere to the east of Dalsfjall.
By now the sky transformed into a patchy grey of low-hanging clouds with sunrays caressing the hills now and then. Once more we’re in awe and feel that, whilst we are more than grateful for the perfectly friendly weather for most of our tour, this unsettled sky is the true soul mate of the landscape - two pieces of the same thing that simply belong together. After having circumvented various swampy patches, we pitch our tent slightly elevated, allowing us to enjoy the beautiful view a bit longer before night and fog settle.