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Rainy Day in the Highlands

The weather was forecasted to be rainy all day which is typical weather for summer in Iceland, but we were lucky the past few days with having sunny skies. The rain wasn't all that bad, but it was the wind combined with the rain that made a few parts of today unbearable.

Our day started late with relaxing and sleeping in. We finally got up and went to our first attraction: Sigoldufoss. This was a waterfall with gorgeous views that we could park right at and walk up to. Since it was in the highlands, it was quite a drive from the touristy centers, so there was almost no one there which was fantastic. We took a few photos and headed to our first "hike" of the day, Sigöldugljúfur, which is on the same river just a few minutes from there. We turned off the main dirt road onto a smaller dirt road and continued on until we saw a few other cars where we parked and got ready for our 1-mile hike. We quickly realized the road we drove in on was the hike. But we had a 4x4, and it was a road, so it was fine for us to drive up to. But it was funny we just drove there even though you could hike it from the main road.

Sigolduglufur was incredible. It was like a dozen waterfalls that were falling from the canyon into a river. Purely picturesque for sure. The thing I loved about it was that I was able to hike down a little bit to get to the top of the major waterfall. That area, wet with moisture from the river, made that place a really neat oasis. I was fascinated with seeing the water channels which were deep grooves in the ground that you hardly knew you were walking over. Some of the waterfalls in this area were seemingly coming out of nothing.

We entered the Fjallaback Nature Preserve where a ranger handed us a card that told us the exact same thing in about 15 different graphics: don't drive off the road under any circumstances. It was weird because the ranger was just standing on the side of the road at the entrance - no booth or anything - just on the side of the road.

On our way to our hike, we made one spontaneous quick detour to Hnausapollur (Bláhylur) View Point. This area was so windy. The rain had also started for the day and that combined with how windy it was made us laugh the whole time in the sense that we knew we had to laugh about it or we would be in bad spirits because of it. We hadn't experienced anything like that before, but it was an unforgettable moment. We got out of the car in all our rain gear, took a few photos, and got back in the car before we were blown away by the wind.

Our main hike started by hiking to Ljótipollur Crater, then around Nordurnamur mountain, and finally around Stútur Crater. The hike started out super windy and rainy, but we powered through because it was such a beautiful place and we weren't really cold, just slightly uncomfortable. Both Katie and I had decent (although not completely waterproof) jackets on and overall we did fine. After hiking up to the Crater and back down, the weather was a lot nicer to us with almost no wind and just some rain. So it got a lot better after the first mile or about 30 minutes.

The hike was incredible. We hadn't hiked on anything like that yet and we were really glad we braved the weather and went out there. We even saw some sheep on the hike which was cool to photograph them in a very Icelandic scene. The best part about it all was that we passed no one on the trail that we were on. There were people at the top of Stutur Crater, and a few people in the parking lot for Stutur Crater, but no one on our trail, even though this is one of the major natural preserves in Iceland. That aloneness is the reason we hike and we loved every minute of it.

At the end of the day, we drove all the way to Hella for 2 things: gas and groceries. We needed groceries for the next few days since tomorrow we are heading back to the same area for a longer hike, and the day after we have an early start getting on a bus to Thorsmork. So today felt like the appropriate day to drive out of the way to go get some supplies to make sure the next few days would go smoothly.

Trailhead Location
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4.74 mi 1.9 hrs 2,315 ft 699 ft
View Graph
Pretty Teal Color
Selfie in Iceland
Snaking Through
Tall Waterfalls
Underground River
Bláhylur Lake
Our Hike
Unearthly Landscapes
Ljótipollur Crater
Nordurnamur Mountain
Three Sheep
Colorful Mountains
Another Sheep
The Trail Back
On the Side of the Road