July 12, 2021 – Iceland Day 4
To view short video clips of this day, click here.
Today was all about adventure and discovery. We woke up to sunny weather with a simple plan to continue driving the Ring Road. We picked Egilsstadir as an end goal for the day since it would position us in a larger city closer to Studlagil Canyon for tomorrow.
East Iceland is the least visited part of Iceland and the drive along the coast and through the fjords was as amazing as it was daunting. Overall, we felt safe but we did find ourselves near Hvalnes point, driving up a steep scree slope that had me gripping the wheel while inching forward trying not to look down.
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, Iceland is chock-full of stunning waterfalls. I couldn’t have possibly counted all of the ones we saw, but some sources claim that there are up to 10,000. We never tired of seeing them. Nykurhylsfoss (Sveinsstekksfoss) in the Berufjordur fjord provided my daughter with a much-needed escape into solitude.
At one point, Google Maps wanted us to take a shortcut off of the Ring Road. I hesitantly exited onto route 939 and soon found that it turned into a gravel road. I kept going for about 20 minutes until we came upon the Folaldafoss waterfall in a remote area of the Berufjarðará river. What a find! This picture doesn’t do it justice as much as the video in the link does.
While there, I googled our route to determine if we should continue on it. What I read was enough to convince me to turn around. I would later learn that it was the infamous Öxi Pass, a mountain pass that would have saved us about 60 km of driving but likely not much time since it was an all-gravel road that has steep inclines and, as one source stated, “It is not for the faint of heart.”
Another 45 minutes up the road, we stopped for a rest break and a bite to eat in Stöðvarfjörður.
Having departed Hofn this morning around 11am, the drive time non-stop to Egilsstadir would have been 3 ½ hours. With our stops and unplanned detour, we arrived at our hotel sometime between 5-6pm. We walked around what turned out to be a very busy little town and ate dinner at an American-themed diner after having been turned away from a couple of places that were booked solid. We spent the night at the Gistihúsið – Lake Hotel Egilsstadir