Another day, this one still not sunny but not quite as rainy as the last. Crawling out of bed isn't so much fun when we have no hookup and the inside of Moglet is only around 7degrees, but once the kettle’s on and the Eberspacher has fired up, things get warmer pretty quickly - which is usually Jason’s signal to get out of bed!
The gravel tracks had snow poles rather than the regular markers so it was
clear that the area wasn’t adverse to a bit of weather now and again. But happily for us we’d not seen any proper snow since leaving Askja, and so far our luck seemed to be holding. The road signs were also pretty vocal about reminding you of the steep sides and squishy edges that they had - a sign we would have wished to see more of in the coming weeks... more on that one another time!
The garden decorations also show just how much time the locals can have on their hands during the long, dark winters...
The roads can get pretty remote and emergency shelter huts are scattered here and there. I think there's about 130 of them across the whole of Iceland, but don't quote me on that. They’re pretty basic inside, usually just somewhere to sleep, maybe the means to have a fire going but not often, and often no running water. But they’re no doubt a very welcome find if you’re camping and the weather turns cheeky, you can at least get out of the wind and rain and dry out for the night.
We’d decided to head back towards Husavik for a night or so, hopefully to clear the ever-present backlog of washing as well as have a look at the whale museum that we’d missed the first time around. We’d always known that the trip out towards Torshavn at the eastern
corner was a there and back. On the way through we decided to stop off and have a look at Asbyrgi. This is a sunken area shaped like a horseshoe several kilometres long and just over a kilometre wide. It was formed around 2,500years ago by of those tricksy catastrophic glacial floods that Iceland does so well - all the way from the other side of the country in Vatnajokull no less, when meltwater and who knows what other kinds of debris came smashing down the river path and and carved out this odd-shaped canyon in just a few days. The area is bordered on three sides by almost sheet cliffs over 100meters high, and there's a fair sized pool at the bottom that seems to be a popular spot for a number of various duck species. It’s also apparently home to the capital city for the Icelandic ‘hidden people’, a mystical race of elf-like people that inhabit all kinds of places all over Iceland.
We didn’t see any hidden people (probably on account of the fact they were hiding?), but we did see masses of trees - something rarely seen anywhere on Iceland. There was a bit of an experiment in the mid-forties to see whether trees could grow in the sheltered spot, and the experiment went on until the late 1970’s. I’m happy to say it was an apparent success, and a surprisingly welcome sight.
Despite whacking my head on the corner of the rear-view camera monitor in the cab (again!) and giving myself mild concussion, even I managed to enjoy the walk around the pathways winding through the trees. For us Brits it was a little taste of the UK really, and for the Icelandic it's apparently a rare treat, in summertime you can expect to hear loads of kids running all over the place, screaming in delight at the novelty of all those trees. Kind of glad we were there off-peak really :-)
But once again, nice chilled out place or not, the sun was chasing us back onto the road and west again towards Husavik. We stopped on the way so Jason could have a little look around a bridge that went over a currently smallish river, but where the banks clearly showed that at other times of the year there was a lot more water flowing under it (and probably around it too!).
We were also treated on the way back to a fantastic sunset, a bright orange glowing ball sinking behind the snowy peaks surrounding the bay of Husavik. Lovely.
Back in the town, we parked up in the now closed campsite (although the electric and water had been left on), and settled in for a night or two.