Steven Ginn Photography

2007 Iceland Photography Trip

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Day 12 (Monday, July 2, 2007)

Smyrlabjörg to Geirland (Explored glaciers on the south coast, 227 km)

Below is the hotel we stayed in last night.


The drive today was mostly cloudy with a few sun breaks and some blue sky showing through. We did not have far to go to tonight's hotel. A large part of it went by the glacier fingers that come down off of the Vatnajökull ice cap which is the third or fourth largest ice cap in the world.

Not far from our hotel there was a gravel road that went 16 km up into the mountains next to Skálafellsjökull glacier to where it meets the Vatnajökull ice cap. This road had two interesting aspects about it, first was that it was not shy about going up very steeply in places and second, only 4x4s could reasonably make it. On sections of the road I was down in 4-low with the center diff locked. This was not so much due to the roughness of the road but due to a few very steep parts. Below you can see part of the road, notice how it looks like it just drops off, it really does. You can also see part of the of Skálafellsjökull glacier just before it drops off towards the coastal plain. Note the ocean shoreline in the distance, that is were we started. Basically this road was just plowed out of the lateral moraine of Skálafellsjökull glacier.

Mtn Road

In the two hours we were on the drive out and back on this road we saw only one other vehicle come up. Below is a photo of it. What I'm not showing you in the image is that there is actually a little snowmobile tour/cafe shop just off to the right of this photo and there were about 15 people going for a snowmobile ride up on the Vatnajökull ice cap. However, none of them drove their cars up, they all left them at sea level and there were a couple of big 4x4 vans that had brought them up before we got there.

Car on the Edge

We did see one other 4x4 that was already up there when we reached the top who was driving out over the ice cap. After some effort he made it up over the top on to the Vatnajökull ice cap and we we never saw him again in the 45 minutes or so that we were at the top. Vatnajökull is 1 km thick in some places. Since there was no fresh snow and the wind blows a lot in Iceland the glaciers were very dirty. In some places near the edge they were in fact black with rock dust.

Car on Snow

Further southwest on the ring road we left the glaciers behind and came to a part that had steep cliffs and was very lush and green. The plains below the glaciers had been very barren and stark.

Old Jeep

Here is today's church.


Here is the inside of the above tuff church. Our understanding is that this is one of the last tuff churches still in active use in Iceland.

Inside Church

The above church was actually on an old farm and these are a few of the may other turf buildings on the farm. All were in bad repair.

Other Turff Buildings

But the greenery and flowers around the area were all very intense.


A picture of Rusty framed by one of the steep cliffs in the background.


A little farther west but still nestled up against some steep cliffs is our hotel for this evening.


Click here to return to the 2007 Iceland Trip index page.