From Skaftafell to Hverfisfljót, Day Seven
Hverfisfljót – Ring Road
What a perfect timing for an entirely rainy day! When choosing our camping spot the day before, we estimated that we should be about two hours away from the ring road, even in pathless terrain. Fabien spots a fading jeep track almost right behind our tent, which we follow after being satisfied with its approximate direction compared to what we had planned relying on the GPS.
We’re in full rainproof clothing today and our noses and cheeks are a bright red from a biting frontal wind hurling sharp raindrops into our faces. The jeep track continues to almost perfectly point in our preferred direction but winds through terrain we wouldn’t have thought anyone would dare to drive through. Walking along the track, Conni has no difficulty with imagining an infinite amount of ways how the jeep could get stuck, topple over on the side or just slip off a cliff. We come to the conclusion that only very dedicated locals (as compared to stupid tourists! - possibly for reaching the water level sensor at the Hverfisfljót) can be responsible for this track, giving us confidence in where it might lead to.
Dodging swamps to the left and right, it spares us more than once the tedious search for a passage. But that also means that the path is actually meandering much more than we had previously thought or planned, but the terrain doesn’t obviously allow a more direct way. In any case we’re sure we would be much slower if we tried to find an alternative way by ourselves.
About 3.5hours later and soaked to the bones we reach the Seljaland farm and therefore our first paved road of the week! It’s not before another 30 minutes that we finally reach the ring road to hitchhike back to Skaftafell. Fabien is not in the best mood anymore since this last bit took us much longer than expected and we’re basically frozen now. We’re amazed about how many drivers can just ignore two lonely figures who hold out their thumbs in the middle of n owhere in the pouring rain. Heartless pack!
Of all people, it is a young Australian lady who just got her driving license who picks us up from the side of the road and lets us dirty her nice rental car. What a relief!
We arrive shivering in Skaftafell and are reminded of the fact that there’s no intended place for poor hikers to warm up, spread wet clothes or generally just to rest. We therefore end up in the cafeteria/restaurant, where it’s surely not well received that dirty hikers empty their rucksacks, change their socks and let their clothes dry but in the end they have to tolerate it. What do they expect when there’s nowhere else to go?!
We reserve a whole corner of the dining room and indecently do exactly all of the above. We declare the whole thing our living room and delve into all sorts of food and snacks i.e. we’re good, hungry customers after all and leave a fortune. Thinking about the previous days from the safety of this cafeteria, we can barely process the fact that we really made it. We’re extremely proud and read the travel diaries of other people about that tour with a completely new understanding. We also spend several hours online just researching more about the various obstacles we encountered.
And Conni is already checking the map for other possible remote tours.. oh do they never learn?