Iceland Pt. 3: Myvatn & Egilsstaðir
There was a bit of commotion as we approached Goðafoss. It took me a second to process that not only were there two kayakers sitting in an eddy above the falls, but they were about to paddle over the edge.
As we held our breath one, then the other took a nose dive through the thundering water and emerged somehow still in one piece in the calm water below.
As reluctant as I was to see my indoor accommodations at Hofn in the rearview mirror, I hadn’t come to Iceland to be comfortable. I was there to rough it in a tent for a month, and it was about time I got back to that.
That attitude really came in handy at our next campground in Myvatn. From a distance, the campground looked picturesque. It was the best weather we’d had in a while, and the sun was shining over the serene lake beyond the site.
It wasn’t until we pulled in and the air around our bus started to look hazy that we vaguely recalled hearing that Myvatn is named for a small bug called a midge.
I was painfully aware of that fact as I stepped off the bus into a swarm of midges so dense it actually felt like a solid mass. I spent the next three days accepting them as added protein in my diet and trying to talk with my mouth closed.
Luckily the few moments that it was 60 degrees, sunny, and the wind picked up enough to blow the swarms of midges away almost made up for the fact that every surface in my tent had become a bug graveyard.
We also had plenty of reasons to get on the bus and escape for the day. We hiked the nearby crater Hverfjall, walked between the dark stacks at Dimmuborgir (a collapsed lava lake),stood on pahoehoe lava from the 1980’s at Krafla, and stopped for coffee and snacks in Husavik. Oh, and visited the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss.
Egilsstaðir was a good chance to shake the bugs out of my clothes and sleep under a ceiling for a couple nights- the campground could not accommodate our traveling circus of 20+ tents, so they gave us some large, empty rooms to crash in.
We managed to fit in some serious rockhounding and puffin-watching while we were there, so by the time we left my bag was at least 10% rocks and I had just about filled my last memory card with adorable penguin-birds. All in a days work.
“I tramp a perpetual journey.”
― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself