Yen's Blog

Lens, Wheels, Skates, Keyboard

Skógafoss and Other Waterfalls

We had intended to visit Skógafoss on the way back from Vatnajökull National Park. But by the time we got there we couldn’t see 50m away. So they would be our destinations today. We woke up to heavy rain and hurricane-force winds. Just another day of Iceland’s notoriously unpredictable weather.

We started East through fog as heavy as soup. Following a tip from my personal favorite Iceland reference, World of Waterfalls, we turned off highway 1 one km before Hella. AEgissufoss is just a few kms from the exit. The parking area is on the left, down a dirt and gravel road which was soft and squishy from all the rain. It was difficult to keep the camera from shaking with the buffeting wind.

Skógafoss is massive and thunderous. It is one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls, probably because it is so accessible. It reminds us of Montmorency Falls in Québec.

We climbed up the interminable stairs to reach the top of the falls. There are numerous side trails, which were officially off-limits, one of which led to a nice viewpoint.

The top of the falls is rather uneventful. What intrigued us, and motivated us, to climb to the top of the 62m waterfalls was the trail along the Skóga river. As described tantalizingly by the information sign at the bottom of the stairs, the 8km stretch from Skógafoss to the first bridge has not 1, not 5, not 10, but 23 waterfalls. That means an average of 1 waterfalls every 350m. The trail goes further to even more interesting vistas, but the mere mention of 23 waterfalls was like hitting the jackpot for me. Talk about an embarrassment of riches; these Skóga river falls don’t have even names. I was lucky to have a companion who was completely undeterred but enthusiastic, so off we went.

The first falls was only a couple hundred meters from Skógafoss.

The second was only a bit further on.

Unfortunately, the fog had been steadily descending. By the time we got to the third falls, we could barely make it out in the soup. It had also started raining. We had to leave the rest of the hike for another time.

Nearby we saw some interesting structures which had been excavated or built onto the base of lava mounds by the area’s early inhabitants. These appeared to have served as storehouses or cellars.

The next stop was Seljalandsfoss. Like Skógafoss, it is extremely accessible. By this time, it had darkened considerably. And the rain and the constant spray from the falls clouded the lens. It was unfortunate because this was a very picturesque falls.

It was extra-special because you can walk behind the falls.

Just a stone’s throw down the road from Seljalandfalls is Gljufurarfoss. Either one would have been amazing on its own, but two spectacular waterfalls in the same place, well that’s Iceland. This falls is just behind a slot canyon. Unfortunately the gate was down and we couldn’t get any closer.

On the way back, we passed by the newly minted Bobby Fischer Center in Selfoss. He spent the remaining years of his life in Selfoss and is buried nearby.

Towns and villages here were heavily decorated for X-Mas. To our amazement, even the cemeteries are lit. And why not? This is the cemetery in Selfoss.

Last visit: December 1, 2013