Iceland
Moglet in

© Copyright Moglet 2011

13th September

We had a good look at the map in the morning and decided that we’d spend the day driving to Dettifoss and Selfoss, two big waterfalls in the area.  Then seeing how the day went, we’d either head back to Hlid again or drive on to Asbyergi.

Both waterfalls are very close together, so we parked up and followed the
footpath to Selfoss first.  The weather was still a bit grim, although the sun did peak out occasionally.  Once we made it to the first falls, I have to admit the sight was pretty impressive - not that the water falls any particular distance (only around 11m), it's just the sheer volume of water that cascades down it constantly that you have to be impressed by.  The ground has been cut away on either side by the force of the water, and much of the ground at the level we were walking on looked like it acted as an overflow area when the volume increases sufficiently.
After walking just about as far up the bank of Selfoss as we could get, we u-turned and headed back towards Dettifoss.  Both falls are on the same river, with Dettifoss being the most powerful waterfall in Europe.  They’re supplied by meltwater from the Vatnajokull glacier on the other side of the country, so how much water goes down the river depends on the season, the weather and how much activity there’s been under the glacier.  And when you’re walking along what’s essentially a floodplain for a river that's supplied by water melted out from under a glacier in one of the most seismically active places on Earth, you can't help but keep peering over your shoulder in case there's a flash flood :-)

After a bit of a trudge back along the way we came, we eventually made it to Dettifoss.  I have to be honest, by this point I was tired and hungry, and starting to get a bit chilly despite all the layers.  So I waited up at the top of the falls and Jason clambered down on the goat-track they called a footpath, so he could get directly into the spray from the falls.  I have no idea why he enjoys these kinds of things - he came back looking like he’d just been dragged out of the sea, completely saturated from head to toe.  Mad person.  He took our smaller, waterproof camera with him but the SD card with the images on appears to have temporarily vanished so I’ll have to post those pictures later on.  Suffice it to say, there's a huge amount of water falling over the edge of a reasonably high cliff, and a constant stiff breeze throws a fair amount of spray into the air all the time - you can't see more than about half way down the falls because of it.
Back at Moglet we had a cup of tea and some sandwiches, then drove back along the access road to a sign we’d spotted on the way way in - another falls that wasn’t mentioned in the guidebook, Hafragilsfoss.  Feeling suitably refreshed after our late lunch, a change into dry clothes the sun making a much more concerted effort, we were really glad we’d followed the track to the lesser-visited site.  To my mind, it was a much more picturesque place, even if technically it wasn’t as ‘good’ a waterfall as Dettifoss.  I’m sure the rainbow from the spray helped matters, but even so, it was just a prettier place to be.
After the waterfalls we headed back to trusty Hlid for the night - if nothing else, to plug in and allow all our clothes to dry out.  Jason also took a walk to the local airstrip and had a chat with the man there and made arrangements for us to go there first thing tomorrow morning, weather permitting, to take a scenic flight all around the area!  I’m not a huge fan of aircraft - once we’re up I’m ok, it's just the taking off and landing I don't really like, and you can't really do anything about that, but if the sun comes out, I think we’re off!