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Published: September 15th 2013
Most of day 6 was spent in the Lake Myvatn region (which is where we woke up), as there is so much to explore in this area.
We were a little unlucky with the weather although it could have been worse. It was fairly cold (probably 4 or 5 degrees), but on top of the cold we faced gale force winds (we'd estimate 60 to 80kms/hr... Although we have no formal education in this area). The winds would actually cause us to take a step back (or sideways) at times and we couldn't hold our cameras steady for the pictures if that's any indication. There was also a point where Chris was pretty sure he was going to be blown to his death over the side of a mountain (but more on that later). Suffice it to say everything we are about to describe took place facing those winds.
Our first stop of the day was the pseudo-craters located in Skutustadir at the south side of the lake. What's a pseudo-craters you ask? It's a good question 'cause we're still not quite sure, as they looked like regular craters to us; we will admit that they were significantly smaller
and less "rockstar" than some of the other giant craters in the area.
After exploring the pseudo-craters we made our way to Dimmuborgir. Dimmuborgir is a collection of oddly formed lava rocks. They almost look like a collection of rock piles, rock towers and modern rock art sculptures. There are numerous well groomed trails to explore these "dark castles" and the hike was both visually interesting and physically enjoyable as the rocks protected us from most of the wind. It is believed Iceland's Yule Lads (13 trolls that cause mischief and merriment in the days leading up to Christmas) live here...but we didn't see them.
Our next adventure was tackling the hike up Hverfull, which is a giant circular crater that towers about a half kilometre high (463m) and has a 1 kilometre radius. The hike up to the top was steep but not too difficult and the trek was worth it as the sheer magnitude of the crater can't truly be experienced until you're on top looking in. It was a beautiful semicircle and once again made us feel as though we were on the surface of the moon. The view of the lake and the surrounding
area from atop the crater was also magnificent.
We hoofed it back to the bottom of the crater and then made our way to Hverir where we were introduced to stinking piping hot vats of steam that flow steadily from the earths surface. The smell of sulphur was overpowering and the ground looked like it was filled with boils but somehow it was picturesque. The steam piped out from all sorts of areas and there were also a few mud pits where the mud bubbled steadily. It felt other-wordly; the area was barren and desert like but you were at the base of a large yellow/orange coloured mountainous hill, and you could see many others off in the distance as the steam surrounded you.
Despite the cold and the wind we decided to venture a climb to the top of hill at this site to see Namaskard (more steaming earth). Little did we know the mistake we were making. There was a sign at the bottom that read "very difficult trail" but the wind must have knocked it down as we didn't find it until our return. The trek up was very steep, very narrow, it had no
safety precautions and the winds were trying to blow us off the trail. We made it to the top where we found more vats of steam, a nice view of the area, but the winds were like nothing we've ever felt before. It was here where Chris was almost blown over the ledge. We decided it was best if we just went back down. It was a precarious walk down but we made it with all body parts fully intact. It was getting late in the afternoon and that experience ironically took the wind out of our sails.
We made one quick stop in the Krafla area where we visited the Stora-Viti crater (which was very large, but much, much smaller than Hverfull). Stora-Viti is unique as its filled with bright blue water and it borders some boiling mud pits.
We snapped a few photos and then headed for our next destination; the city of Akureyri (Iceland's second largest city with a population of a whopping 22,000 people).
On our way to Akureyri, we also stopped at Godafoss ("Waterfall of the Gods"). This waterfall has some historical significance; back in 1000 AD the "lawmaker" (the dude the
first settlers looked to to guide them) proclaimed that all of Iceland would adopt the Christian faith. After making that decision he threw all his Norse God paraphernalia in to this waterfall (hence the "Waterfall of the Gods"). The waterfalls themselves were horseshoe in shape and quite picturesque. It was peaceful to soak it in and we snapped quite a few pictures before hopping back in the car to complete the final leg of our journey to Akureyri.
We finished out the day by enjoying a dinner at Rub23, which was a fantastic Asian fusion restaurant who's claim to fame was there wide assortment of meats, fishes and spiced rubs.
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