Day 8: Mount Askja (Dreki) – Reykjahlið (Mývatn)

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Day began with a cold start, after a quite cold night at Mount Askja (Dreki) Campsite. However, as the day progressed, the weather changed much to the better, with blue skies and some occasional warmth from the sun – excellent road trip conditions.

Our first location of the day, was to visit the new lava field from last years Bárðarbunga / Holuhraun extremely active volcanic eruption.

Lava Flow Leading Edge

Once at the new lava flow, we walked over the leading edge of this new (less than a year old) lava, along with a friendly couple from the Netherlands, who were also exploring the same area of the new lava flow.

Gunnar conducted 2 quadcopter flights over the lava flow, to film the area with GoPro. During the second flight, the quadcopter experienced full technical failure (probably die to steam & fumes) and crash landed out of sight, into the very sharp new lava – probably the worst place to lose a drone. However, after ca.20 minutes of searching, we managed to recover the downed quadcopter (miracle!), which had sustained serious damage, to both the quadcopter frame and GoPro.

Lunch

We were hoping the video would be unaffected by the crash, but we are currently experiencing major difficulties extracting the data from the file – we will have to work on this later to see if we can recover the data.

Desolate Landscape

We then drove north to (F910 (50km) F88 (90km): 140km), via Herðubreiðarlindir, following Jökulsá á Fjöllum.

During this long and quite challenging drive through the lava fields, we had the good fortune to have a beautiful view of Herðubreið mountain (1682m) on our left hand side most of the way, which looked spectacular.

Herðubreið mountain

During this long drive, we experienced a number of river crossings, a couple of which were quite interesting, as the river levels are higher than normal for this time of year. Everyone enjoyed the river crossings, especially both drivers. We also encountered a couple of deep and dirty large puddles along the roads, which left the cars looking respectfully dirty in true exploration style.

We then drove to Dettifoss (Europe Largest Waterfall) via Grimsstaðir, where we were treated to a spectacular view of this amazing waterfall.
It was nice to be able to walk right up to the edge and experience the full power of the mighty waterfall.

Dettifoss

Following this we then retraced our steps to Highway 1, and drove west to Krafla, to experience this geological hot spot.

We passed through by the geothermal energy power station, and walked out to the natural hot springs, with boiling mud pools and fumarole area.

Krafla Geothermal Hot Spot

Due to the late timing, we then had to move straight on to Reykjahlið (Mývatn), where we camped the night, after partially cleaning both exploration vehicles and re-inflating the tyres back to normal road use pressures (from the deflated mountain road half pressures).

Overall, it was a very long and tiring day, with a lot of challenges along the way. We were all very tired and extremely hungry by the time we reached our campsite, but fortunately there was an excellent restaurant just across the road, where we could rest and recover, before retiring to bed.

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