Saturday, August 20: The drive from Djúpivogur to Höfn is about 105km, stretching around Iceland’s southeast corner. There are no towns along this stretch, and thus no place for breaks. We get one last glimpse of Bulandsdalur before we leave Djúpivogur, and, though we don’t know it at the time, we won’t see blue skies for the rest of the day.
Fog settles over the southeast Ring Road as it winds between sloping mountains and the North Atlantic Sea. The sloping mountains look like giant piles of gravel that seem avalanche prone, made up as they are of gabbro (dark, often coarse-grained igneous – i.e. volcanic – rock rich in magnesium and iron) and granophyre, which has a fine texture and smaller grain size.
We pull off at the bottom of one of these strange mountains, and I feel unsettled, fearing that one loose rock could start a rush of all the rocks to the bottom, engulfing us and our economy-sized car.
The black sand beach is pretty, but it’s very cold and windy out here today, and foggy as well, so we don’t stop here for long.
As we drive on, we come to a pull-off overlooking Lón (“lagoon”), a shallow bay whose 30km-wide estuary is framed by Eystrahorn and Vestrahorn, two granite spikes to the east and west. A long sand and pebble beach stretches out between the two mountains and almost connects them except for some small estuaries.
Here, we can see the black sand and pebble beach reaching out into the lagoon. A cold wind is howling across the lagoon here, and after taking our pictures, we huddle back into the warmth of the car.
We drive a bit further and see people walking out over the pebble beach. Of course I have to get out to see what there is to see. Mike by now is so sick with his cough and sore throat, he opts to stay in the car with the heat on. I’m also getting sick, and this little jaunt over the pebble beach, which isn’t easy to walk on, probably does me in for good.
From this pebble beach, I have a great view of Eystrahorn, a mountain with barren and gravelly steep cliffs, at the eastern end of Lónsfjördur.
You can glimpse our little red car in the parking lot; Mike is sitting inside, warming himself by the heater, while I’m being buffeted about by the gale-force winds.
Of course I have to take some pictures of the pebbles. Between the wind and walking on these, I feel like I’m struggling through a sea of quicksand.
A little farm sits nestled in the folds of Eystrahorn across from the pebble beach. With all those slopes of gravel surrounding this farm, I don’t know how the people can live here without being in constant fear of a rock avalanche.
Even though my throat is hurting and I’m freezing through and through, I must take some pictures of the pretty wildflowers that are growing stoically from the amidst the pebbles.
Finally, I stumble across the quagmire of pebbles and make it back to the car, where I am grateful beyond belief that Mike has stayed in the car and kept the heater on.
We continue on around the lagoon. Spotting a few dapples of light on mountains, I beg poor beleaguered Mike to pull over for a few more shots.
Finally we’re reaching the western end of Lón.
We’re not too far from Höfn now, but we have one stop to make before we get there: the Viking Cafe and Stokksnes.🙂