Thursday, September 29, 2016

Iceland Bikepacking Week 3: Road Tripping


We arrived back in Reykjavik for the first time in 2 weeks and rode, in the rain in case you were thinking we'd escaped that, to Reykjavik Campsite where we'd started the adventure.


Like a blister in contact with one's boot, spending our days in puffy jackets, wool hats, and thick socks while knowing friends back home were lounging in shorts and flip-flops was digging at our psyche. Tired legs, abused chamois, and more rain in the forecast had us uncertain of how to use our last week in Iceland.





 Realizing our self-pity, we made a list of places we'd like to see before going home and plotted how we would visit each spot.


Talk about scattered! Buses wouldn't work. At least not in an economical or timely manner. So we rented an economy car, which for a couple of Americans wasn't so economy sized. Pint size is more like it. However, our vehicle's diminutive size was appreciated when gas was nearly $8 per gallon!


Only missing one turn leaving Reykjavik, we backtracked south on the Ring Road to check out the famous black sand beaches we'd bypassed while pedaling. Crowded and uninspired after having the black sands of Vik to ourselves, we quickly cruised southeast to the highly anticipated stop at Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. So many photos show the other worldly beauty created by the contrasting blues of ice on black volcanic sands or bus sized ice burgs floating in the turquoise water of the lagoon. And it is a beautiful spot. It is, however, an ugly result of man's effect on our world.



Up until roughly 80 years ago the lagoon didn't exist. It's size and depth have been increasing at a rising rate as the glacier feeding the lagoon continues to recede. Knowing this, we each felt a bit of sorrow as we watched the chunks of ice drift further from their birth place and closer to their eventual funeral at sea. A refrigerated breeze blowing off the lagoon kept us from too much contemplation and we soon found ourselves in the car with another decision to make.


Left or right?

Right would take us back to where we came from and would have us retracing a path we'd taken before.


Left would take us into a much more desolate part of the country and a much longer drive. With camping gear and infinite daylight on our side, we turned left.


We drove, stopping on occasion for photos or to stretch. Golden light mixed with clouds and mountains and rain. We turned up the heater and the music while giving the rain the finger for once.


When we finally decided to pullover and sleep, it was pouring and without a shared word we piled into the back seat or our mini rental. When one limb would fall asleep, we'd reposition for an hour or two until the new limb fell asleep and repeat the process again and again.

Fastfood
Eventually, I started driving again. When I stopped we were in a gray and rocky waste land that was unlike the other parts of Iceland we'd seen. Somewhere, down a path, was a highlight of our trip. It was confusing at first. Why couldn't we hear it? We crested a rocky escarpment and could feel the power reverberate in our chest's.


Dettifoss


Considered to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss was spectacular. In mere minutes, we were completely and utterly soaked from the fall's up draft. Power washer soaked. The shear amount of water flowing over the edge is truly amazing and I felt very small and somewhat insignificant and uncomfortable standing on the cliff's edge.

We wanted to stay, but the wet had quickly overpowered our rain gear and we retreated back over the escarpment. Just like that the 1000 freight train roar vanished. Our dripping clothing reassured that Dettifoss hadn't been a dream.

They had some monster potholes
The next hours were far less eventful. Towns were more spread out and points of interest became less accessible for our tight time table. We eventually concluded our round the island journey in the spot it more or less began weeks prior, Pingvellir National Park, where we'd gone scuba diving.



We toasted our trip with a couple of local beers and turned towards home.

Greenland from 35,000ft
Thanks for tagging along on our adventure