As this story started with rain and a ranger at the end of the day before, we pick up our hero after breakfast, as he heads off for a walk to Hljóðaklettar, the whispering cliffs. He checked out the troll, the church, the rocks and the caves, and even made it as far as rauðhólar. A pleasant, if damp stroll before lunch. The rock grottoes and tangled mazes of Hljóðaklettar certainly did have some interesting formations, at times reminding me of Pinnacles NM in central california, but one thing it did not have was any sort of confusing echoes, allegedly one of the hallmarks of the area. I attribute this to the light drizzle, flattening all sounds.
Packing up and driving on, it was finally time to visit Ásbyrgi.
A very well built display in the visitor center was a nice surprise, and then I drove off into the head of the valley. There were actual cliffs here. They reminded me a lot of Kangaroo point, all tumbled broken jumbles, but still vertical. Surprisingly all along the road were fulmars, waddling back and forth. I learned that baby fulmars can't actually fly at first. They are too heavy. (they're big, they don't look like juveniles, hence my confusion) Apparently they walk/fall to the sea, and then float around for a bit before being able take off and fly. Even the presence of fulmars and gulls here is a little odd though, the sea isn't that close. Seems they like it here though. Approaching botnsvatn, the pond at the head of the valley, I could hear splashing and thrashing, and thought I might be approaching something cool, I quietly snuck up, camera ready.
But no, it was just a young fulmar flapping around in the pond attempting to take off :) I clambered up to a perch on the side of the cliff, admiring what was probably one of the nicest looking settings for climbing in iceland. Seemed solid enough, well featured, probably great sport climbing. The rock probably wouldn't be strong enough, nothing here is, and of course, it's a national park. (I was later told in no uncertain terms that no, there was no climbing here) hehe, oh well, no more climbing dreams for me. Iceland has done a pretty good job of squishing that part of my brain. Poor brain.
Did I mention that it was now a beautiful sun dappled afternoon? Seems it only rains and pours when I want to go further from the car.
Unless I was going to start doing any of the longer hikes here, I was now largely done with Ásbyrgi. Not bad, lived up to it's hype well enough. I'll let this one pass :)
But I had more to do. I wanted a nice shower or a swim, so I pulled out the map looking for swiming pool icons, and headed north east again. Onwards onwards. The first pool was closed for the season already, so I continued on to Kópasker. I'd heard pretty atrocious things about Kópasker, but it was actually quite pleasant. It had a quite nice looking, if a little exposed free camping area, a lake, nice roadside scarecrows, a lighthouse, and the town was nice and compact, a proper village facing the setting sun.
But it had no pool. I wasn't feeling like getting a guest house, not on a sunny clear night, and Raufahöfn had a pool. I decided to burn across to raufahöfn, and then the next day I could come backwards and see the top of Melrakkasletta. No big deal, it was only another 40k or so.
The road north of Kópasker very quickly became the edge of the world. This was the highlands, this was wide open nothingness. Except that the sea was on your left. It was quite an expanse of not much. I started to see a few merlins here, and I would see more before I left the area. And, as I'd seen beach sculptures on tjörnes, here I started to see island sculptures. Colour coordinated even. Flotsam, collected in colours, and attached to sticks and erected on small islands in the middle of all the lakes in the area. Rather unusual. I suspect there's not a lot to do with free time out here.
I arrived in Raufahöfn. Pool's closed on thursdays. I should have left straight away.