Yesterday Iceland Review went on an organized tour to the eruption area from Thórsmörk. This possibility sounded promising since Thórsmörk is closer than Skógar. Most tourists have seen the eruption from that direction, so Thórsmörk would provide a new angle to the new volcano.
The bus started from Ferdafélag Íslands at nine o’clock in the morning. The bus drive to Thórsmörk took four hours with a stop at the N1 gas station in Hvolsvöllur. Everyone seems to stop there, not for filling up the car, but rather to buy a hot dog or sandwich.
The road into Thórsmörk is not that long, maybe thirty kilometers or so, but it is cut by a number of rivers. It is a gravel road, and when you are not driving over a river the road is a true washboard. Even if you are not going to the eruption the trip is worth taking, but usually not many people go there this time of year. Now there were hundreds, if not a thousand people there. Most went on their SUVs but on our tour we were almost a hundred and Reykjavík Excursions was organizing trips as well as Icelandic Excursions.
The weather was perfect. Our hike started from the Útivist hut in Básar. First we climbed a mountain called Réttarfell. It is a perfect place to view the magnificent landscape at Thórsmörk with a beautiful view of Eyjafjallajökull glacier, but alas nothing but smoke could be seen when we looked towards the volcano.
So the trip leader decided to walk towards the eruption, up a mountain called Útgönguhöfdi. Of course it was a perfect hike in the crisp winter weather. A steep here and there and not really for those suffering from vertigo, but all made it safely to a place where we saw a bit more.
After a four hour climb up and down the mountain we went to the hut of Ferdafélag Íslands in Langidalur. The last destination was the mountain Valahnjúkur. This was the best view of the eruption, even though we were further from the action then before. The activity seemed to be greater, but that could be due to the fact that dusk was falling. Fire bolts went far into the air and little by little lave streaks became visible. Unfortunately, it became freezing cold as well and the camera could not catch the action anymore.
On our way back the Northern lights lit up the sky. A perfect day ended with a perfect night. Should you be jealous? Probably, but you always have the option of calling your local travel agent and booking a trip to the volcano.
Our special offer for the Iceland Review magazine with the eruption photos and article.
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Photos: Benedikt Jóhannesson/Iceland Review