Day 3 – Start of the Ring Road

First off, about last night.

We saw the Northern Lights! It was amazing. The only thing missing was my husband at my side. I miss him so much!

It was going to be a short night since we were picking up my sister at the airport, so we decided to sleep in the car. And since we could park almost anywhere, we wanted to park somewhere dark, where we could have the chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Mom researched and we ended up deciding on Lake Kliefervatn. I looked it up on the map and saw there was a “shortcut” we could take.

It was a shorter distance mileage wise, but in time it took longer. It ended up being a road entirely of crushed black gravel winding through a lava field. It was so neat. Again, pictures wouldn’t do it justice. In the distance you could see the lava field rising up to where the volcanoes lie. Who knows if they’re still dormant. Apparently you can never know. And there are SO MANY volcanoes here.

Once we got to our destination and settled in it was midnight. It’s been getting “dark” at around 11, but even at midnight you can still see out and there are faint glimpses of the daylight in the distance. Crazy. Best time to see the Northern Lights was supposed to be between 1-3am. Darkest time of the night. We set the alarm and curled up in our seats at the lakefront and tried to sleep. 1:30am the alarm goes off, we peek out and see nothing in the sky. Fall back to sleep. 2am I hear mom stir and then she says “Jess! I think I see them!” Tired beyond belief and assuming she was seeing things, I didn’t respond and turned around and cuddled back deeper into my sleeping bag. Silence. Then, “Jess for real look! I think the sky is moving!” I disbelievingly peek out. And I see something. I look closer and press my face close to the window. “Mom it is!” I jump out of my sleeping bag scrambling for my shoes and my camera and tripod. I wasn’t sure how long they would last! Mom was right behind me. We ended up standing out side for over a half hour just gazing up and admiring the light show. It wasn’t super colorful since it’s early in the year for the Lights and there are long days so the sky isn’t really fully dark. But it was a pale pale green, almost white. The streaks bounced and waved and moved. It was awesome. But even more amazing through the lens of a camera with a long exposure.

We slept for another hour and a half after that and then headed to the airport. Sarah came, and her boyfriend Levi! She thought it would be a surprise. We knew. ;p

Today was long. We’ve driven for over 6 hours and covered a lot of ground but here are the basics.

We headed up North. The drive is always changing, always unique. It’s like Mars, and then Scotland, and then the badlands of the western USA, and then Utah. Snow capped volcanoes, glaciers in the distance, steep green peaks, and then dry black mountains and craters.

We stopped lots of places for photo opportunities, but our first official stop was Goldafoss. It is labeled one of Iceland’s most picturesque waterfalls. The water is how I pictured glacial blue to be. It was beautiful.

Next was the geothermal fields in Lake Myvtan. There are steam vents everywhere across the lava field. When you stand by them you can feel the heat. Smelled like sulfur, but the warmth feels great!

Next was Grjotagja Cave. In short, a clear blue hot river pool flowing through a cave. I so wish we could’ve swam there but there is a no swimming sign and apparently the temperature fluctuates so you never know when it will suddenly get super hot.

Next we hopped and skipped over to Haverfjall Crater. It looks so epic! It’s a picturesque black crater you which you can hike up and then walk the rim. It was sunset as we hiked up so we didn’t have time to hike the rim. That would’ve take approximately an hour. Instead, much to my mom’s momentary panic, we started running down into the crater. It was long way down in. Then we climbed the small mound in the center. It was a fun run down, a grueling walk back up!

Tonight, we’re camping on a long gravel pull off of a road near the base of the crater. So we’re surrounded by Lake Myvtan, geothermal steam vents, and the crater. I feel so alive!

Okay. No. I’m just cold. lol

Lake Kliefervtan where we camped in our car and saw the Northern Lights
Mom and I bundled up in our mummy bags
Northern Lights
Northern Lights
Me trying to take the cliche “hey look I touched a distant volcano” shot.
Sarah and her boy on the side of a lava field
Ring Road Landscapes

Mom by a fjord
Godafoss

Grjotja Cave – Thermal river in this cave!
This volcanic crater is massive. See how tiny we look?
Bottom of the volcanic crater. See why I swear sometimes we are on another planet? lol. There are miles and miles of areas that look like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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