Iceland part III: Kristinarstindar, and other bits and pieces

After our splendid days near Heinabergsjökull we travel further east towards the village of Höfn. Our initial plan was to make another 4-day trek in the Lónsöraefi area east of Vatnajökull. But when we check the weather forecast -which predicts another 20-hour rainy episode – we decide to give up this plan. We forget the miserable weather in the thermal swimming pool of the coastal town, and start our way back to Reykjavik the next day.

Our first stop on the way is – once more – the Skaftafell National Park. The weather is better this time. We start climbing towards the Kristinarstindar summit late in the morning. After a long climb (about 1100m of altitude difference), most of it easy but the last bit on steep scree, we arrive on the summit late in the afternoon.

The views from the airy summit ridge are sensational. Massive glaciers stream and tumble down from the Vatnajökull ice sheet and the slopes of the island’s highest mountains, their snouts giving birth to countless braided rivers snaking through the coastal outwash plains towards the Atlantic coast. I stay on the summit almost 6 hours for sunset, while Elien already starts the long descent to the campsite. The sun remains behind clouds for hours, appears again just half an hour before sunset – just as I hoped. The colours and alpenglow are fantastic, it is the best view of the entire trip. I run all the way back down through twighlight.

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We make another stop in the coastal town of Vik. The massive cliffs dropping vertically into the sea are almost empty during the days, but in the evening thousands of puffins return from the fishing grounds and skim along the cliffs.

Back in Reykjavik we rent a small car for two days, and make the obligatory tour towards Geysir and Gullfoss in nice weather. We drive towards the Snaefellsnes peninsula in the west for a few short hikes.

Our three weeks in Iceland have come to an end. I will certainly go back, with a packraft!

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