At this point, we’ve seen glaciers, been white water rafting and whale watching, but looking back, I think our day, with Lake Myvatn and its geological wonders, was perhaps my favourite day. Here’s a preview:
The Lake Myvatn area is simply not to be missed. Just to remind you, Iceland is divided by two continental plates and this area is on the northeast section of this divide. There are active volcanoes across the divide of the island, but Different tour guides quoted varying degrees on this point, but essentially Iceland is growing from the middle a few centimetres each year. The geologic activity in the Lake Myvatn area seems to all stem from the volcano Krafla nearby.
From our base in Akureyri we simply took the ring road east again to get to the lake. We took a couple of photos here at a lookout at the north end and the view took me back to a childhood memory of watching The Flinstones….volcanoes, lakes, and human activity happening all at once.
The first point of interest we stopped at was Hverfjall, a cinder cone. Having no experience with no cinder cones before, we didn’t know what to expect, but we were hungry for knowledge. There is one path allowed straight up the mound of ash to the top which I imagine prevents erosion of this geological monument. It was fascinating to see the geometrical precision of the cone and its crater. Plant life has begun to emerge and it is wild to see it struggle to survive.
Next we drove a further to Namaskard, an areaa where the power of the plate fissure is visible through steam that is pushing out of the earth causing bubbling mud and steam. It was absolutely fascinating. I wish you had smell-o-vision because the gases were unbelievably stinky. To feel this close to ‘the heartbeat of the earth’ simply took my breath away.
We next drove up to the area of Krafla, where the geothermal energy is being converted into power. There is a visitor centre here that I would take advantage of on a future visit but we didn’t get there this time. The kids were getting strung out and we needed to move along. Krafla itself is worth the drive, as it is beautiful caldera filled now with turquoise water.
We had a long swim at the northern version of Keflavik’s Blue Lagoon, here called the Myvatn Nature Baths. A quick stop for some Rugbrauo (bread baked in a geysir), and we were on our way back to Akureyri via, another stunning waterfall, Godafoss. The guidebooks warned us that the Myvatn area is swarming with midges. We didn’t experience anything unbearable, although head nets were available everywhere until we got to Godafoss. I just couldn’t handle it and escaped to the car. Luckily Tim still got lots of pictures. Dinner and ice cream back in Akureyri completed the day and we fell into our beds. Simply put, our last day in northern Iceland, couldn’t be beat.