Today, as I write this on the 14th of November, the sun is setting on a beautiful crystal clear winters day. The town is bathed in pink, and though it's quite cold, there's not a breath of wind. All week has been bitterly cold and very windy, and today was such a nice change. It made me think of another day like that a few weeks ago, and a great day out that has been patiently waiting for it's story to be told.
The new jeep hadn't been on any sort of trip yet, and with a bit of back and forth, we managed to get a group together. Two jeeps, and only 5 people in the end. Lots of people looked at the weather, and the time of year, and made lame excuses.
We got the best day of the autumn for a day trip to Landmannalaugur. 10C, crystal blue skies and only a light breeze. And after 10 days of grey rain and muck, to get such good weather on a Saturday, when we were going out for a trip no matter what, was simply fantastic.
And of course, with such good weather, how could the trip go badly? Being October, there was almost no traffic, just our two jeeps and the big blue sky. Arnar, Logi and Laukki in one car, and Iveta and I in mine, rolling around the wilderness. At Landmannalaugar we cooked up a warm lunch, (we were still in the highlands and good weather is still relative for October :) then headed off for a walk up Bláhnúkur. This was actually my first time spending any time at Landmannalaugar, normally, I'm only here long enough to get the packs organised for the walk down the track to Þórsmörk. Bláhnúkur was a lovely walk, uphill in the sunshine, I was down to my t-shirt for a while. We watched the sun start to cast giant shadows across the valley, and then with the wind picking up we headed down again.
Down, but not out! Now it was time to finally try out the legendary hot pots of landmannalaugar.
They're a let down. If you live in town all year, and go to Landmannalaugar once ever 10 years for a big outdoor adventure, I'm sure they're awesome, but if you've been to some of the truly excellent hot pots in Iceland, like Strútslaug or Landbrotalaug, or even just any of the other ones, Landmannalaugar really just doesn't stack up very well. It's heat is far too uneven. Perhaps it's more suitable in summer?
With the light fading, and the colours darkening through blue towards violet, it was time to hit the road. Twisting and turning homeward, with Iveta keeping an eye out for Aurora. We stopped at the junction with the F26 to look at the stars for a little while. Some of the best stars I've seen in Iceland. Arnar, Logi and Laukki were going to stay for a while and stargaze, and it was very tempting, but I knew I'd stay for an hour or two and take pictures, and I was meant to be going to a concert at 10pm :)
So Iveta and I took off, and barely 30min down the road, Iveta said she was pretty sure she could see some aurora. As we continued home, we headed into clouds, but we later heard that there were some stunning aurora that we missed. Oh well :) A fantastic trip even without aurora.
I don't know if either of these albums work for people that aren't friends, but it _may_ work, so I've listed them here: