Day 2 – Reykjadalur Valley

Last night. was. cold. I slept in my 20 degree bag in a fleece blanket, in my winter jacket with an extra sleeping bag on top of me. I did finally warm up but it took a long while. By 5 am I stripped off my winter coat and went back to sleep.

We didn’t get up until 10. The sun was out and we welcomed it. We washed up, made a quick breakfast, packed up and we headed out to see a nearby waterfall (Oxarafoss) near the tectonic plates. So many people there though. We didn’t stay long.

The amount of tourists that we’ve seen in this country so far is astounding! However, they seem like the nicest tourists in the world. Most seem to be from Europe. Everyone is so polite and respectful. They’re friendly, down to earth… the locals and the tourists alike. Everything is so clean. the campgrounds, the towns, the cities.

We spent the majority of our day in Hvergagerdi in the Rekyjadalur Valley (yeah and try and say that). It was an hour hike up to a hot river. It’s just what it sounds like. A river (more of a creek) that is flowing with clear hot water. It’s like a moving hot tub.

But let me back up. At the bottom of the trailhead there is a small little cafe, outhouses (not the best we’ve been to) and a horse corral. You can ride up. Not sure how much it is.

The hike up was beautiful. It was steep and seemed to go on forever, but it was so worth it. There was such contrast everywhere. Steep drab mountains, lush green valleys, bubbling hot springs and steam dot the landscape and the trail, and fluffy horned sheep roam everywhere. The sheep seemed to love grazing on the green grass right along side all the hot springs.

Halfway up there was a cliff overlooking a gorgeous waterfall. Photo heaven!

Then we finally got to the hot river. There were a lot of people, but somehow there was space for all! It’s not deep. When you sit in it it rises to above your belly button, but it’s perfection to lie in or sit in and relax in after a steep hike up. The farther you go up the river the hotter it is, move down and it’s cooler. It was so weird to see people in bathing suits in Iceland sitting in a river and then cooling off on the grassy banks. People were literally tanning on the bank and it was only like 67 degrees out! haha.

We stayed for over an hour until the sun disappeared behind the mountain and then hiked back. And on the hike back downhill, I was freezing! I’d been sweating and hiked most of the way up in my bathing suit top, chilled in the hot springs, laid the bank, eaten snacks and everything in a bathing suit, and then on the way down I was in my winter coat again. The weather is so weird here.

Now it’s night time. We headed back towards the direction of the airport since we pick up Sarah in the morning. Mom wanted to sleep by this particular lake tonight to try and see the northern lights. I followed google maps for a shortcut that ended up taking us on a crazy dirt road in the middle of what appeared to be a gigantic old lava field with what we hope are EXTINCT volcanoes rising up on the side of the road. THAT literally looked like another planet. Again, pictured don’t do it justice.

But we made it. We’re by the lake. And for tonight, yes, we’re crazy, we’re just gonna sleep in our car – by the lake and the lava field and old volcanoes. EPIC. lol I’m kind of glad. I feel like we might be a bit warmer anyways!


Breakfast in the making!!
The valley where Oxaurfoss falls into
All the random hot springs that dotted the landscape of our hike. Do you spot the sheep?
Falls in the valley!
The hot river!
Chilling with my head on a grassy pillow lol
A cool bridge with hot springs on either side. Smelled like hell and mom said it looked like she was walking into hell. haha
Volcanic fields

5 thoughts on “Day 2 – Reykjadalur Valley

  • Christy

    Fantastic adventure! So much fun to read about & so much to learn about from a country I don’t know much about! Thanks for sharing! If you could bring back a postcard for my class that would be much appreciated! 🙂 We are going to be tracking States & Countries this year. I’m looking forward to reading more about your journey!

  • Jennifer Barnett

    What an adventure. Looking forward to traveling it with you.

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