Hítardalur (the valley of Hít) is a long valley in western Iceland. Driving along it, you can see the effects of volcanism, including lava flows and several different types of volcano.This particular example seems to shimmer with rainbow colours as you drive towards it:


Halfway up the valley the road splits in two and becomes on the one hand the driveway up to a farm nestling at the root of a small volcano and on the other hand a track leading further up into the valley (ending at Hítardalsvatn, a sizeable lake). Coming back from the lake and nearing the small volcano, which is called Bæjarfell, you can see two rock columns:




As you come closer you can see that they are sort of human-shaped. The upper one is called Hít, after the troll-lady who lent her name to the valley, and the lower one is called Bárður. In some folk tales he is said to be Bárður Snæfellsás, a human man who became a troll, but in other tales that Bárður is said to have settled in the glacier Snæfellsjökull, making this a different Bárður.


There are also a number of caves in the mountain, and a cliff face with carved graffiti going back to the 1700s. I didn’t visit the caves on this particular drive, but I may go back there later and find them.


Hvalfjörður hiking trip: The final stretch and consequences


You can, if you wish, turn back from the viewing point (see yesterday’s post), or you can go on and close the circle. This entails wading the river to get to the other bank. Some had the foresight to bring Crocks for wading. I did it in my bare feet. The way back is not as steep, but the trail winds through thick shrubbery in which encroaching roots and branches can cause injury if you aren’t careful. Click to enlarge the image.


Torn hiking shoe

This hike finished off my hiking boots. I’ll have the winter to break in a new pair before my next mountain hike.

Hvalfjörður hiking trip: The goal


Glymur (“The Ringing One”) was, until quite recently, Iceland’s highest waterfall at 198 meters. With the receding of the glaciers another, higher waterfall, has been discovered in the river Morsá, but its height of 228 meters needs to be confirmed before Glymur officially loses the title.


Glymur and part of the canyon wall. This is not the place for you if are scared of heights or if you have height-induced vertigo. Click to enlarge the image.

Hvalfjörður hiking trip: The cave


The trail goes through a cave. It has three entrances and must have been made by running water. Click to enlarge either image.


There is the destination up ahead: the canyon cut into the mountain by the river Botnsá. Our destination, the waterfall Glymur, tumbles down inside the canyon.To see the entire waterfall you either need to follow the river up into the canyon, or hike along the eastern edge of the canyon until you reach the viewing spot.


Stóra-Drageyri in Skorradalur

This old farm belongs to the Iceland Forest Service and has been slowly decaying since the 1960s.

At first sight the house doesn’t look too bad:


Click to enlarge images.

Broken windows are only to be expected:

But then you come to the back and see some real damage:

It wouldn’t have surprised me to see small trees up there:

From the inside: