After a delightful night camping on the northwest coast of Iceland our first order of business was to visit a Wool Factory in Hvammstangi. It was a quick, but interesting free tour of how they make wool sweaters, hats, scarfs, and the like.
After that we drove for 2.5 hours on to the western peninsula.
The first stop came as a surprise and we saw a lot with lots of cars and people walking to a cliff a bit away. We are so glad we did because it turned out to be a small slot canyon with a stream running through it called Raudfeldar.
Legend has it that a troll was imprisoned in this canyon in the late 800’s (or right before the Vikings arrived). This was a great find!
Our next stop was 10 minutes away in Amarstapi where there is a rock statue of the troll. From here you can hike along the top of the coastal cliffs for about 2km to Hellnar through an ancient lava field. This was a nice easy walk, but we were a bit disappointed because people talked it up to us and we did not feel like it lived up to the description.
Further down the road we paid for a tour of Vatnshellir lava tube. This was where flowing magma cooled on the outside, but inside the lava continued to flow until there was none left and the tube was empty. It had three different levels of about 200 yards each. It felt like being in a cave without all the cave formations, but the fact that I was inside lava was really cool.
Our last stop was going to the glacier in the Snaefellsjokull NP at the far end of the western peninsula. We got there by going up F595 about 20-25 km, which we were not supposed to do in our rental car. Turns out the road was gravel and rock, but the car was more than able to handle it since it was relatively flat. If you go drive up until you take the right side of the fork and then park your car. It will be about a 30-minute uphill walk and when you take a left at the next fork you are almost there.
We know you are not supposed to walk out on the glacier, but this one was more like a ski slope. We walked out until we found ice and
crevices. Once there we could hear water dripping and running into the crevices. It sounded like they were deep and this is why you don’t go too far out. You never know when the ice may break and fall down the deep crevice. Once here we enjoyed the experience by doing totally safe things ;).
On the way down we found a small pond where the melt water collected and the glacier extended into it. You could tell the pond was deeper than the ice and so I sent Eric out to the edge of the ice for a “photo op”, hehe. Well the ice held so I do not have any photos of him falling into the freezing water.
By the time we got back to the car it was already 7pm (amazing how that keeps happening when the sun stays up until 10:30 or so), so we drove towards Reykjavik (the capital) before we looked for a camping spot for the night. This way we were closer to the Golden Circle, which we will explore tomorrow.
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