Tom and Andy posing in Buffalo clothing on the Lava Bridge at Ófærufoss

In search of the Upper Skaftá

Been here 3 weeks now. Just when I thought we were getting into a bit of a rhythm everything is blown out of the water. We all got out of bed within 5 minutes of each other. Next thing you know we will be eating enjoyable food and having some female company. (not much chance of either I think).

Eating lunch at Ófærufoss

We made a relatively early start from camp (by our standards) and and set off to look for the upper Skaftá. We have heard tales from a pilot of a huge slide on the river and are keen to see if we can find it. Fuel gauge looks like it is playing up too. The gauge operates the wrong way round, and 1.2 full indicates you have a full tank. As I drove this morning it leapt from 3/4 to 1/2, so I do hope the tank has not filled up with some non-diesel fluid.

We drive up the river past the get-out where we got in to run the middle section of the Skaftá, and take a short detour to visit Ófærufoss, a rather famous waterfall in Iceland that has a natural lava bridge part way up the fall. Even though we know if its fame and well run track, we were not ready to see four coaches and 10 other cars in the carpark. One coach party collectively changed their look from eager enthusiasm to horror as we arrived, with me at the wheel, driving like a  man possessed.

The road to the upper Skafta, with Tom as lookout

As expected, we got out and walked up to the falls and took the usual photos. It is certainly very interesting and we all walk across the bridge, but to our taste, there are rather too many people here. Back at the carpark, we lunch next to a coach loads of French tourists who appear to have rather better food than we have.

Post-lunch we head off up the track that will take us to the river. This is a really poor track, and has very little use. There are loads of rough sections, and we had to post Tom on the roof at one point as a look-out. There are several steep sandy drops, and we are forced out with the shovel to make any progress. Soon enough we get to a bank we cannot drive up, although the road does continue. We park and walk the final 3km to the put-in.

Right at the put-in, there is a long slope, probably 50m long with a 15º slope. We spend a bit of time debating whether we are going to run it. The hole at the bottom looks pretty narly though. The river looks pretty challenging, and there is  a significant foss only a couple of km downstream.

Camping in a gravel pit, near the top of the Skafta

We pitch camp where the Landrover got stuck, in a gravel pit next to a large patch of gravel covered ice. If there is ever a world shortage of gravel, I think the Icelandics will become very rich indeed. I make a small discovery of a pen cache just at the back of the Landrover dashboard, and at 10pm we see the prospect of a great sunset, so set of up the hill with the camera.

Best sunset to date, upper Skafta