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Autumn in the highlands - Sprengisandur - Laugafell - Varmahlíð - Day 2

Pictures are at the bottom...

16-18 September, 2011

Continued from Day 1...

We woke up to a blustery sunday. The afternoon before had slowly turned from clear and sunny to grey as the evening wore on, and as the morning wore on, it just got windier and windier. I had to use two hands to pull the jeep door closed. It wasn't really exciting weather for going hiking anywhere, so we had a leisurely breakfast, which was unfortuately cold seconds after hitting the plate due to the wind, and hit the hot pool for a bit before heading home.

The road home, F752, is apparently the toughest road up to Laugafell, and also one of the most diverse and pretty highland roads, according to the highland handbook. Again, given how late in the year it was, the two mean rivers were very manageable, though I can certainly imagine that Hnúkskvísl would be rather mean in high summer. It was the only river we used low range for on this trip, and is a mix of sand and rock.

At first we were a little surpised at the high praise, thinking it was much like anywhere else, mixed rock and sand, not much life, but as the road continued we got to see just how much it changed. First into the mixed swamp/hill blend at Orravatnsrústir, then into grassy high lakes full of swans, and then the rather unexpected massive drop off and switchbacks down to Hofsá. The weather stayed extremely windy all day, and it really was not encouraging weather for exploring. Back down in the lowlands, we found more farmers working on the sheep muster. The sorting for this area had been that day, and lots of sheep were on the road getting moved to home pastures. We saw a lot of very tired young men on horses. A week of little sleep, lots of alcohol and hard work was taking it's toll, especially having to fight the wind all day sunday.

Driving home though, it seemed we hadn't even see the worst of it. 60+kph solid winds as we came past Borgarnes, with the sign warning of gusts up to 110+kph. And back home in the south, it was lashing rain as well. Not very pleasant. Much better weather in the highlands :)

A great trip though, Laugafell was an unexpected gem. Just as we were leaving on Sunday, we met another group bringing up petrol for snow mobiles in winter, who mentioned that they were stopping in especially for the luxurious toilets. We also got to hear about some new places from the various people we met, and see some totally new places for all of us. Good times :)

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