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Iceland West, April 25-26, 2018

PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:28 pm
by Tony Crocker
On the morning of April 25 we drove south from Stykkisholmur across the Snaefells Peninsula with views of volcanic terrain like this.
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We stopped in Bogarnes for an hour at the Settlement Center, 2 multimedia exhibitions about the first Iceland settlers and Egils Saga. http://www.landnam.is/eng/saga-exhibitions/

Then we drove east to the Viðgelmir Lava Cave https://www.thecave.is/ . Here we descend into the cave.
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I have been in a few other lava caves, and in general they are less interesting than limestone caves with formations. But Viðgelmir in winter/spring is an exception because water/melting snow seeps in from above and forms temporary formations of ice.
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In April the stalactites are jagged similar to limestone cave formations while the stalagmites are more rounded.

Stalagmites occasionally form on the guard rails as well as the floor of the cave.
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This was probably the largest volume section I have seen in a lava cave.
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Mixed volcanic rocks on the ceiling.
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Our guide is showing sections where partially liquid lava oozed out between solid layers.
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There were even a few "soda straw" formations.
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The cave is about a mile long. Here we are at the turnaround point.
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As on many cave tours, the guide turned off the lights here for a total darkness experience.

A patterned ice stalactite formed on this guardrail.
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More ice formations on the return walk to the entrance:
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The guide said the ice formations melt out by summer, so this is an attraction best visited in spring.

Not too far west of Viðgelmir are Barnafoss and Hraunfossar. At Barnafoss the river cascades through a narrow opening in the volcanic rock, even tunneling below this thin rock bridge.
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A few hundred feet downstream the river widens, but the broad Hraunfossar flows into it, emerging from the gap between two lave flow layers.
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We finished our day with a relaxing soak at the Krauma geothermal baths.
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We spent that night at the Hraunsnef Country Hotel, which is attached to a working farm and had excellent dinner and breakfast. On our final Iceland day April 26 we awoke to a dusting of snow. We stopped for a quick 10 minute hike up to the Grabok crater.
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We then drive east again to Husafell, where we had a reservation for the Into The Glacier tour. https://intotheglacier.is/ Here's the bus/truck we ride from Husafell up to 4,200 feet on the Lagjokull, Iceland's second largest glacier.
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Wires behind Liz lead to the air tanks to adjust tire pressure. We are at a rest stop, which is the starting point in summer when the road lower is clear of snow.

Into The Glacier is a manmade tunnel, excavated and opened to public tours in 2015. The tunnel was intended to be circular but end up as heart shaped in the map below.
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The diagonal light blue line is an unexpected crevasse discovered in the excavation.

After the initial descent on mats, we put on chain crampons in this room for the rest of the walk.
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Lighting was usually like this.
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Thin dark lines on the walls mark the summers.

Some side rooms were excavated.
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This one can be used as a chapel for weddings.
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Eventually we get view of the intersecting crevasse.
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Here one of the guides explains ongoing movement/compression of the glacier.
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Without ongoing maintenance the tunnels would compress and disappear within a few years. The tunnels also sink lower into the glacier. After about 15 years they will be too low and the ice less stable at lower elevation. At that point Into The Glacier will close or a new set of tunnels will need to be excavated higher up.

The map below shows our stops April 25 (blue) and April 26 (red), names at upper left from east to west.
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We then had a two hour drive to Keflavik airport to catch our flight to Oregon.

Re: Iceland West, April 25-26, 2018

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:43 pm
by jamesdeluxe
Tony Crocker wrote:We spent that night at the Hraunsnef Country Hotel, which is attached to a working farm and had excellent dinner and breakfast.

Why hasn't Icelandic cuisine taken the world by storm? :lol:

Re: Iceland West, April 25-26, 2018

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:47 am
by Marc_C
jamesdeluxe wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:We spent that night at the Hraunsnef Country Hotel, which is attached to a working farm and had excellent dinner and breakfast.

Why hasn't Icelandic cuisine taken the world by storm? :lol:

It may be:
https://www.vogue.com/article/what-to-eat-in-iceland-local-food

https://www.thereykjavikfoodwalk.com/icelandic-food/

https://www.foodandwine.com/articles/should-you-eat-like-an-icelander

https://www.extremeiceland.is/en/blog/3185-iceland-bucket-list-food-to-eat

Re: Iceland West, April 25-26, 2018

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:43 am
by jamesdeluxe
Wow, who knew?