Iceland Day 6: Highway 1 and The Vestrahorn

With a little bit of back tracking, I knew I had a long day of driving ahead of me. I was basically going to head down the entire eastern side of Iceland on Highway 1, on my way toward Vestrahorn mountain and the town of Hofn. Driving out of Akureyri was tough, I knew it was for sure going to be my last time in the city, after having quadruple checked that I didn't forget my sleeping bag. The city truly was a home away from home, but I had to keep moving on. I bid my farewells and hit the road. The now familiar highway of the area was still a joy to look at as I headed out, but I was ready to see new landscapes. 

The wonderful northern town of Akureyri. 

Most of the day consisted of driving. It was kind of nice being on the road and just coasting. Not really having so many stops and turn-offs was nice and relaxing. Highway 1 provided no short supply of amazing views. It's amazing how quickly time goes by when you're looking out at such a unique landscape. Your mind kind of drifts and wanders at each turn. Very peaceful. 

Highway 1. 

The majority of the day was just driving. Nothing extraordinary to the reader, but trust me, it was quite amazing. My first actual stop I had planned was to photograph the Vestrahorn, a mountain in the southeast of Iceland. The mountain was viewable from the black sand beaches next to an old radar station. The radar station was used by NATO during WWII. Pretty interesting. The drive there was a little ways off of Highway 1, down a gravel road. There's a small cafĂ© there where guests are asked to leave donations. I complied. 

At first, I headed down a dirt road on foot, toward the base of the mountain, thinking this was the right area to be. It wasn't. I came across a single house and continued toward a small manufactured village. I later found out that it was a production set for an old movie that had been kept in tact. I dead-ended pretty quick on that trail and headed back. After getting back in my car, I headed down what I thought was a private road toward the radar base. There I saw the black sand I was looking for, and the amazing view of the mountain. There was one other photographer there, who left shortly after I arrived. 

The place was spectacular. The black sand had these small hills of long grass rolling for hundreds of yards. The ocean was just to the side as well. It was a spectacularly unique landscape. I could of spent hours there trying to find the right shot, but the sun was almost set, so I tried to get off as many shots as I could. I wasn't sure of the right angle to get, and didn't have time to experiment too much, but I did my best.

Sunset at Stokksness. 

After spending about an hour or so here, it was getting late, so I decided to head to the town of Hofn for a night's sleep. It was going to be hard going back to sleeping in my car after three nights in a row at a hostel, but hell, this was a road trip after all, so I was prepared. I settled down at a campground next to the water, cooked up some spaghetti, ate a few oreos, and nestled into my sleeping bag. The day was all about visual spectacle, and it didn't dissapoint. I went to bed knowing the majority of my long drives were done, and there was a lot still left to see as I moved into the southern area of Iceland.