©Wolfgang Kaehler

Iceland 2017 Photo Tour, Day 7 & 8

Evening at Myvatn


By Michelle Alten

Iceland 2017 Photo Tour, Day 7 & 8

Day 7 – In the 1970’s, earthquakes ripped through Iceland’s surface.  Today along the mid-Atlantic Ridge where two tectonic plates meet, fissures slice through the earth.  At Grjotagja, it appears as though a jagged saw cut right through the rocky terrain.  In other spots, gases creep through the surface. Energy in this volcanic area is harnessed for electricity, but it is also used for pumpernickel bread!   This morning we see ovens built in the ground where locals are steaming their bread for 24 hours.  We taste the slightly sweet bread with our lunch.

Lava formations at Klasar – Myvatn


Velvet flower (Bartsia alpina)


horned grebe on nest


At Hofdi, we hike through a birch grove where wild geraniums and deep purple Velvet flower (Bartsia alpina) and bold yellow dandelions light up the forest.  We are looking for unique rock formations that reach out of Myvatn Lake.  A trail at Klassar takes us there.  The path rambles among volcanic hills where the rocks don gowns of mosses, lichens, and wildflowers. Wolfgang finds a miniscule yellow orchid with blossoms.  Who would think that an orchid could survive in this rugged Arctic climate?  At the trail’s end, rock formations rise like Henry Moore sculptures out of the water.


While the monolithic rocks inspire us with their drama, the landscape and birds of Skutustadagigar move us with their more subtle beauty.  Here the sun and clouds paint the surrounding hills with light and shadows.  Natures power has sculpted false craters here out of the earth.  A pond, Stakholstjorn, hosts so many beautiful water birds: my favorites are the horned grebe with its striking crest and bold red eye and the dainty red throated phalarope that swims near the water’s edge.

Wolfies with “fly protection”


Day 7 Birds – redwing, Barrow’s golden-eye, horned grebe, tufted duck, red throated phalarope, redshank, Arctic tern, red pole, Slovenian grebe, blackheaded gull, red winged thrush, snipe, white wagtail, whimbrel, black tailed godwhit, mallard duck, Eurasian teal, Eurasian widgeon, whooper swans.

dead willow trees

dead willow trees



Day 8 – Today we head for Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city.  The port and fishing town of only about 18,000, lies nestled in a fjord on the northern shore.  At this peaceful stop, we visit the botanical garden where paths wind beneath mountain ash and beds of flowers from a range of regions.  Most stunning are the blue Himalayan poppies and the wide range of unusual looking columbine.

Himalayan poppies at the botanical garden


For the past few days, Helgi has been keeping his eyes open for a good place to photograph the Icelandic horses.  He can’t stop on route 1 that we are taking around Iceland, so we set off outside of town driving past farms.  Then there it is—a pasture with a herd of horses and two foals.  As we approach, they come trotting over to the fence.  Their faces, framed in bushy mains and forelocks, make for appealing portraits.  These small yet stocky horses today are all over the island.  Riding, after all, is a popular sport.  But in the past, they were an important means of transportation, even carrying people over rocky mountain passes.

Godafoss waterfall! This grand cascade stretching over 30 meters of rock, adds to the collection of falls we have visited. Iceland is indeed a land of water where you see chutes sailing down mountainsides almost everywhere you turn. It is said that when Christianity came to Iceland, a local tribal leader threw his idols of pagan gods over this waterfall and declared that the locals should convert to the new religion.

One Response to “Iceland 2017 Photo Tour, Day 7 & 8”

  1. Andrea Burke

    What a wonderful trip with delightful photos. So nice to see my friend, Cherie St. Pierce having such a good time. I am so jealous.