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Sneplafoss loop walk, Þjórsárdalur

Pictures are at the bottom...

26 July, 2016

Mum and I arranged another day to go off for a day walk, this time looking for an area that I've not travelled in much, with the idea of both a waterfall and a "mountain", and with a better weather forecast.

We found some inspiration in Fjöll á fróni, by Pétur Þorleifsson, originally planning on walking to Hestfjallahnúkur via Sneplafoss. The directions for the early part of the walk didn't really seem to be very up to date, and walking through the forest and the creek valey in Lambhúsdalur and up Illagil proved rather time consuming. We never found any real track, and it's probably easier to go up Sandbrekka directly behind the farm at Ásolfsstaðir and up the eastern side of Illagil rather than the way we went.

By the time we got to Sneplafoss, it was time for some lunch, and honestly, the slog across the higher plains to Hesfjallahnúkidn't really look very appealing, just a long continuous rise to a nominal peak. Allegedly you get great views in all directions, as it's just high enough, but we weren't excited. We decided to try and loop north and east and around down the forks of Seljatungnakvisl, and look for Seljatungnafoss instead. Mum is a waterfall fan, and I'm lazy :)

There's a jeeptrack and horse path along Þverá, apparently leading all the way back down to where it meets Þjórsá, but we followed it upstream, across swampy meadows with Lóa and cotton grass to reach the minor peak of Sniðhólar. We could see the path continued north east here, probably going around the roots of the western fork of Seljatungnakvisl, but possibly further as well.

We dropped down here, heading back into Seljatungur, but trying to carefully avoid falling off cliffs back into the forest. We crossed the west fork above the forest, then while continuing our path downhill we ran into some of the tallest birch forest I've run into in years in Iceland. Well over our heads, but fortunately quite easy to move through as we were heading gently down hill. Would not have been as pleasant going uphill!

We came out into the planted larch forest on Seljatungur, heading down towards the road we'd seen on the eastern bank, and came across a fairly well travelled road leading down in our direction. We followed it all the way back down and out, but never really found any hint of the alleged Seljatungnafoss! We asked some people staying in a summer house near the end of the road, but they had nothing useful to add.

Along this road out by Hvammsá, the name of the river after the forks join were long stretches of Angelica (Hvönn) absolutely covered in bugs of various kinds, really quite interesting. Sneplafoss was very attractive, and we certainly covered the paths less taken today, but not really an area I'm rushing to go back to. The forest side of Ásolfstaðirskógar was beautiful though, particularly tall trees, and very far off the beaten track. Camping here would be very peaceful.