Laugar Hot Springs, Bifrost Volcanoes, Reykholt, & the Interior
We were lucky to have more time than we anticipated on the 6th day, and were well within range of Reykjavik at this point. We made the painful decision to skip the West Fjords. It would’ve been a rushed trip and we had wanted to spend some time backpacking there, which simply wouldn’t have been possible. Many of the hikes in the Fjords can take days to complete, and it’s worth it to allocate the right amount of time (some bloggers say that it is best to take a separate trip just to backpack the Fjords alone). We stopped at Hof (not to be confused with Hofn) and spent some time trying to coerce the Icelandic ponies to come say hello (and possibly pose for a picture). We cut up to Laugar Hot Springs (Route 60) to another hot spring, Guðrún’s Bathing Pool. It’s an algae bath that is the perfect temperature and overlooks a small waterfall and the Icelandic countryside, and we ended up spending several hours here. This site is an important feature in one of Iceland’s classic Sagas (The Laxdæla Saga) and it’s interesting to see how the site correlates with the story. The Edda Laugar Hotel (link here) is on the property as well, if you choose to spend the night.
We headed southwest on route 60 towards the volcanoes of Bifrost, and captured some pretty epic photos of the craters.
We swung by the historic town of Reykholt to brush up on our Icelandic history, and then optimistically headed towards the interior. This was the best mistake we made in all of Iceland. It was a resoundingly bad idea but it was still so spectacular that I absolutely do not regret it. We started at Husafell, took the interior road 550, found 15 km in that the road was blocked, turned around, and attempted to take 50-52-550 towards the interior. Often, interior roads that are blocked due to snow or ice will be open 15 or 20 km after the obstruction, and it’s possible to catch the tail end of the road through a connecting route, which is what we did. The interior is where criminals of the worst variety would be sent as punishment, and it was easy to see why. There was not a soul in sight, and I never saw a color that wasn’t a variation of white or gray. Although desolate, the magnificence of the interior was awe-inspiring. The next time I’m in, I hope to come in late July when the majority of the mountain roads (the F roads) are open so we can traverse farther in, as there are several hot springs, backpacking trails, and waterfalls deep in the interior that I believe would be well worth seeing.
That night on our way back to Reykjavik we camped in the Skjól campground ((Skjol site here) which was one of the most commercial campgrounds we saw. There were hot showers and plenty of places to clean dishes and camping gear. We had an entire field to ourselves and rested well here. This was the most expensive campground, coming in at about 2800 Kr total ($24.73) for both the site, the hot water and sinks, and showers.