Dettifoss: Grimsstadir to near Asbyrgi. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

July 20, 2013

Dettifoss: Grimsstadir to near Asbyrgi.

It was a cloudless morning while sitting outside my tent facing south marvelling at the vast vista. I could see the blue outline of tabular snow streiked mountains that peek above the flat horizon, all the way to the snowfields of Vatnajokull glacier over a hundred kilometres away. The young family of three small children, mamma and pappa together with one neighbour here at Grmsstadir live an isolated existence far from other people. They must travel one hundred and forty kilometres to the nearest supermarket in Akureyri. And the children go to school forty kilometres away in the village of Reykjahild by lake Myvatn. "In the old days, people here shopped once in September, enough to do through the long winter" claimed the young woman who only moved up here from Reykjavik in 2005. Her man's people have been here generations, though. "There used to be a lot more people living here. Grimsstadir used to be a small village. Now there's only us and the people in the other house" she said, and continued "It's beautiful here, but the winters are awful and this past winter, there were terrible snow storms." "So, how do yous get about in winter" I asked. "Snowscooters a lot" she replied. "The main highway is kept open by snow-blowers, and my husband takes the tractor and clears snow out to the highway each morning."

They like the farm at Modrudalur provide services in Summer to passing tourists and travellers, with a campsite, guesthouse and café. I certainly had my money's worth in charging batteries and using the Wi-Fi; because, I spent the morning updating this journal; and, it wasn't until two in the afternoon when I set out.

Today I would ride to the waterfall, Dettifoss, on road 864 running north off highway one just before the bridge over the Jokulsa a Fjollum river and which, Grimsstadir is four kilometres in. It's a dusty unpaved road through what is called "Holssandur" desert and badly corrugated in places. It was a case of constantly riding around the worst holes; and, much of the time there was no avoiding the regular ridges the entire width of the road; then, it was best to be patient, allowing the bike to run over the ridges gently, not forcing forward, ramming into them with terrible shaking of the bike and the chance of breaking something. Patients though, was easy today, it being such a warm sunny afternoon

Four o'clock on Saturday afternoon and Looking back, I see Mount Herdubreid. I am just over 20km from turning off the Ring Road, east of the bridge over Jokulsa a Fjollum from where it's 5km more to a turn off, F88 (Ferda) which runs 60km south to Herdubreid; so, from this point, it is at least 70km south to this mountain.
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The road swings near the Jokulsa a Fjollum.
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Looking out south west, the sun gleams on the river.
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Reaching Dettifoss at half five.
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The river is like liquid cement with a tint of milky coffee and probably has the same force as thousands of tonnes of tumbling cement rubble. I've been here twice before and each time I'm mesmerized by the crashing flow over the edge and the thunder and fine spray. The shear size of the place. It took ten minutes walking down the path into the canyon to the first view-point. I was down just looking and taking photos and forgot about time, and, when I climbed back up the path, I looked at the watch and saw 19.00, I still had to eat lunch.
Lunch was cheese on crisp bread. I remained sitting at the picnic table in warm late afternoon sunshine, before setting off again at quarter past eight. Is for riding till midnight but at ten o'clock, just as the road began to descend toward Asbyrgi with dwarf birch luxuriant vegetation now on either side, Is passing a jeep-track off up along a stream and though I'll camp. But when I pushed the bike up the track and over the rise, I found a four by four had got there first. The tent was up on a nice grassy stream bank and there was no one around. Most everywhere else was thick with birch until, when I'd double back to the road, I saw a small patch by the stream sufficient big for my tent.

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Today's ride: 49 km (30 miles)
Total: 2,863 km (1,778 miles)

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