After three days loitering around Húsavík, I hit the road again. The emptiness called, and I had fresh groceries. Also, with five (5!) LDS missionaries discussing skyr in the grocery, it was definitely time to move. Can't let them catch me.
I was headed to dettifoss. The biggest waterfal in Iceland that I hadn't seen. I was going to get out to dettifoss first, to make sure I had what I thought was the right light for photos, before going backwards again to camp out at Ásbyrgi. Crossing Kelduhverfi definitely had some nice slumps and rifts, but hardly as impressive as it had been made out to be. The sort of thing that is interesting when you put it together that it's the same set of rifts that cross Þingavellir, but to be really amazing, I think you would have to have seen it in the 70s, before it was restructured by earthquakes and rifting. Apparently there are heaps of lava caves here though.
Anyway, Dettisfoss. The road in the the east side, from the north is quite ok. No real drama there. Nice views, and with a big jeep, there would have been some interesting side roads to go and look around. I arrived in the carpark, which was quite flash. Running water and flush toilets, apparently a recent addition. And surprisingly, sponsored by ATVR, the alcohol and tobacco government monopoly. I don't really understand how it's in their mandate to sponsor picnic sites and campgrounds, but I guess "alcohol in iceland" doesn't always make much sense either :)
Dettifoss sure is big. I'll give it that. It's filthy though. Dirty dishwater or washing machine water. I know glacial runoff is often grey and dreary, but this was really grotty. I guess I'd been expecting more. I seem to recall seeing pictures of Dettifoss with glowing white water, a powerful inspiration.
It's still a great big waterfall though. And, as lovingly as always, iceland lets you walk right up to the edge and slip off. Fences and viewing platforms are for the weaker countries, destined to fail evolution by preserving the weaker instances of humanity.
After a few happy snaps, I walked south (feels north, upstream always feels north, into the highlands always feels north) towards Selfoss. Selfoss was a beautiful waterfall. A deep V across the river, with waterfalls on both sides. I got sidetracked by the pools of water all over the side of the river, wondering where they'd come from. In other locations it would simply be high tide. I guess just rain here? I hadn't really noticed puddles anywhere else.
South of dettifoss I took a nice sideroad to a viewpoint over Hafragilsfoss. This was quite worthwhile. Although Hafragilsfoss was down in the bottom of the valley, it was a nice change to see the clear spring water of hafragil coming in from the side valley. It was instantly eaten up by the Jökulsá á Fjöllum filthy greyness, but still, good to see.
I drove past Ásbyrgi (again), another place that had been built up pretty high, and headed up the west side, going to camp at Hljóðaklettar / Vesturdalur. This was very nice. Absolutely deserted, but obviously packed with people in high season. Very ghosttown. This would become a recurring theme as I continued around the northeast, though this evening I would actually be joined by one other car turning up quite late.
I had a nice dinner, seated in the dining room, (front seat of the micra) and retired to bed, reading "Veronica decides to die" by Paulo Coelho. I'd been recommended this book at least a year or two earlier, and had borrowed it from Herdís a week or two before I left, but it had just been sitting around in the car. I ended up finishing it that night. This lived up to its reputation and then some. A stunning book.
I awoke to the sound of a ranger asking for money. He was quite nice, and it was hardly early. He gave me a nice map of the area. It was wet again. As predicted repeatedly during my last weeks at work, the rain would come as soon as I stopped work. This rainy day continues elsewhere...