Sunday, November 11, 2012

Iceland {Part V}

Day 9:
  • Catch the 0730 boat to Veidileysufjordur
  • Hike across beautiful Hornstrandir
  • Set up camp in Hornvik

Fun Facts:
  • Hornstrandir is the Northernmost peninsula in Iceland and is part of the Westfjords. It was established as a nature reserve in 1975 - there are no roads and very few homes. The only way to get around is by foot!
  • The mountains, steep sea cliffs, deep fjords and valleys, and harsh winters make for a chaotic landscape that very few find inhabitable! 
  • The area is home to arctic foxes and about 50 different seabirds, including puffins!
  • Here is a short video of some of the landscape in Hornvik, shot by an Icelander:!

setting out on a perfect day

riding the inflatable dinghy to the shore

lots of water and lush greenery

x marks where the trail crosses the saddle

C demonstrating a self-arrest with tent poles

on top

L crossing one of many snowfields being undercut by streams

into the valley

one of the arctic foxes living near our campsite

Day 10:
  • Day hike up to Hornbjarg cliffs
  • See puffins
  • Hike back out and camp near the boat launch

those are pretty blue skies for an uninhabitable Northernmost peninsula...

wicked looking jelly in the shallows (about 18" across the widest part of the bell)

shallow inlet crossing that was waist deep on our way back

arctic cotton flowers

perched at our first great view

the view in the other direction

C peering over the cliffs (see the trail cut into the left side of the field?)

steep descent down the other side (lots of birds perched on the rock face behind us)


After spending all morning and afternoon hiking the cliffs we decided to head back down even though we hadn't quite covered all the turf up there. We needed to get back to camp, break down, eat, and hike back over the snowy saddle and down to a spot close to where we'd be picked up in the morning. So, alas, we left the idyllic cliffs and meadows behind and started the long haul back. (I'm not positive, but I think this day may have broken my record for fastest transition between walking in ocean water and over a snowy pass.)

frigid snow runoff crossing (this was at 9:30pm)

back to the pick-up spot at 11pm, exhausted and freezing

Tomorrow: head back to civilization and onward towards Reykjavik!

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