North Iceland Revisited, April 17-22, 2018

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North Iceland Revisited, April 17-22, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:02 pm

April 17 was a consumed by travel, flying Geneva to Paris to Reykjavik to Akureyri including an hour+ bus transfer between the international and domestic airports in Reykjavik. It was past 9PM when we arrived at Skjaldarvik Guest House, about 10km north of Akureyri. We were pleased that the hot tub was still open at 9:45PM.

It's still the long Arctic twilight overlooking the fjord. By the time we left Iceland over a week later it was completely light past 10PM.

When we found that Skjaldarvik had horses on site, we started with a ride the next morning.

As in 2015 the guides showed us how to get the Icelandic horses to use their distinctive tolt gait. Then the path was on the fjord beach.

Morning weather was delightful in contrast to the blizzard conditions on our horse ride in 2015. Here's the view from the beach of guest house at left and stables at right.

The mountains at upper left are near the Hlidarfjall ski area which we skied in 2015 and was still open.

Then we hit the road for Dettifoss, Iceland's highest volume waterfall which may not have been accessible in 2015. Driving past Lake Myvatn:

We arrived at the Dettifoss parking area in a stiff and steady wind, with a bit over a mile total walking to view both Selfoss and Dettifoss. So we need as many clothing layers as a typical ski day.

The stakes mark the temporary walking path avoiding puddles of melting snow.

The upstream Selfoss is viewable only from a distance.

Basalt columns line the river between the two waterfalls.

Devils' Postpile near Mammoth is the noted formation of this type in North America, but we have seen several in Iceland.

Coming from Selfoss, here's our first view of Dettifoss.

Looking downstream we can see people at the main viewing area beyond the huge snowbank.

With the prevailing wind that snowbank is formed by freezing mist from the high volume waterfall all winter. In left foreground you can see a stair railing to a summer walking path disappearing into the snowbank.

We climbed over rocks moving downstream.

We are now at the main viewpoint.


The mist deposition also leaves those interesting swirl patterns on the snowbank surface. We thought we were lucky to see Dettifoss in the spring, accessible when the snowbank is still there.

From the Dettifoss road there are wide ponds of melting snow.

On the way back to Akureyri we had this distant view of Godafoss, which we had visited with the Betchart tour group in 2015.

We stopped very briefly this time.

In 2015 on more solid snow we were allowed a slightly closer approach to Godafoss.

After a full day with Arctic Heliskiing April 19, we were grounded the next 3 days. On April 20 we took a short walk south from the Klaengsholl Lodge.

At the junction of two valleys we had a short climb to view this waterfall.

On April 21 one of the Arctic guides Paul took us for a drive north of Dalvik.

We drove through two tunnels to Siglufjordur, the northernmost town on the Troll Peninsula.

Ski jump is at left, waterslide into community pool at right. We stopped at a similar pool in Dalvik on the way back to the lodge. Siglufjordur has a ski area a few km out of town but we did not see it.

On April 22 we hung around the Klaengsholl Lodge most of the day waiting for weather to clear. When it did not, we left from Akureyri about 4PM for the remote Northwest, arriving in very quiet Holmavik around 9M. We were lucky to get a dinner there near the closed Sorcery Museum. Here's a front yard across the street from that.
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Tony Crocker
Posts: 10575
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

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