7 October, 2012
Autumn is often caving time. The weather above ground can be rather unpredictable, and the days are getting short, so you can't stay out hiking all night. However, the weather above ground can be rather unpredictable :)
We had plans on hiking out to Ferlir, a cave near Brennisteinsfjall, which is a good two hours from the road, up in the mountains south of Bláfjall. It was a very patchy day weatherwise, with pouring driving rain interspersed with blue skies, and overnight the snow line had come down even lower, so we when arrived at the car park, already having lost two expedition members to weather related excuses, with driving sleet and a long wet walk ahead of us, we opened the book to look for better plans. Fortunately, we were in an area dotted with caves, and settled on Leiðarendi, one of the longer ones nearby, and nice and close to the road.
So close, it seems to have become rather developed. We were admiring the rather quality trackwork leading out to it, but then just got into it. It's quite a nice cave, sporting some of the same reflective shiny white slime stuff as in Litli-Björn. Currently, it's got lots of symbols and graffit drawn in it, and it actually comes off looking pretty nice. It would only take a few more fingers though to cross things out and make it just an ugly mess.
The southern section had some nice ceiling decoration, and nice shaped passages, but as we started coming into the northern section we found the colour changed, and we started seeing more interesting rocks.
Then, we saw chains ahead, and signage. Turns out this end of the cave has lots of stalagmites, which are not super common in lava caves. Apparently it used to have more! There's quite a few statues in places where they used to stand, apparently mostly broken in a two month period in 2007.
So, the development we saw... Turns out this is now quite the tourist cave. We ran into a group of 12-15 or so, all wearing matching overalls from Iceland Excursions, and then on our way out ran into a small group of 4 from Arctic Adventures. This was the weirdest. Their "guide" was wearing crampons in the cave. Claimed to be testing their reliability or something. I have no idea what he was thinking. Rock or no rock, walking around in metal spikes is just not right. And wearing full goretex shells! In a lava cave! Oh well.
Not the original destination, but a very nice afternoon anyway. An added bonus was that I got home in time to go and see Kon-Tiki at the film fest. Great story!