As mentioned, Hveravellir doesn't have a whole lot to do. I went for another walk around the same loop, and took some more photos. I had a closer look at some of the pools, which was quite rewarding. The structures in the algae were very surprising. I really have no good theories for why or how they form. After a bit more of a play, I hit the road again, heading north.
Just after leaving Hveravellir, I came to a gate. A gate with a sign on it. From the chief vet of iceland, obviously attempting to control something. Fuck knows what though. There were sheep on both side of it.
One good thing about the gate was that it opened the door to a brave new highway. Still dirt of course, but effectively an autobahn compared to the road south. I had some old maps, that indicated "mines" near the road, so I was going to try and have a look for them, when I ran into a bigger problem. A great big lake. I don't feel like slicing up the old maps to show you why I was surprised, but suffice to say, Blöndulón didn't exist when the maps were made. At 57km², it's as big as Kárahnjúkar, but only generates about 15% of the power.
I had a bit of an explore, and quite admired their little artificial river. Water absolutely thumping out of the tunnel. A rather strange building nearby. I'm sure it houses some comms equipment, but that's not what concerns me. What concerns me is why on earth it was built to such a shape? Again, I was theoryless.
Still, standing around in the cold and the rain wasn't going to give me an answer, so I headed on, planning on having a hike out to blöndugil. This is a big canyon that used to be the drain for this big highland area that is now covered with lake. Now it mostly drains through the canals and holding dams, but some water still flows through the canyon.
Driving along, carefully checking my map, I came to a sign that even said, "Blöndugil." No parking though. Sometimes you get parking spots in the most unlikely places, other times nothing at all. Rugged up in my shiny new gortex jacket and my hornstrandir tested pants, I went out to face the world.
And it was good. From cold and wet in 15-20 minutes of photos in the rain two days earlier to effortlessly striding across the landscape, master of my domain, warm and dry, totally worth the pile of krona I paid out. I just struck out in the general direction of the canyon, there's no track, but it gave me a nice outdoors feel. Much better than following the boardwalk at Hveravellir with all the germans. The autumn colours were getting into full swing, with bright red leaves on the blueberries, golden yellows on various other plants. (Identification of heathland shrubs are not a strong point)
The canyon was, well, a big canyon :) It was steep, and rocky, and had a trickle of water in it, so I turned around and strode back across the landscape. Well exercised and happy, it was now time to get onwards, and find a place to stay.
With all the rain though, I wasn't itching to setting up in the rain and cooking in the rain. I wasn't sure what facilities I'd find at any campsites, so I called ahead and got a bed at Steinstaðirbyggð. It was a lovely bed that's for sure, though because I wanted to cook my own food, not pay extra for meals from the kitchen, I was directed over to the camping facilities. I should have just camped.
The campers facilities includes a big long house, seating for 20, four toilets, three sinks, an electric range with a full set of pots and pans, two gas bbqs outside, and a field of plush green grass. Turns out this was the same place I'd been to a year or two ago, while white water rafting, I just didn't recognise the names until I pulled up.
I enjoyed my night in a bed, but resolved that with campground facilities like this, I would make more effort to check the facilities before getting a bed.