Day 32: Thursday 03 August 2017
Weather at start of day, and for the rest of the day, was cool, blue skies, some cloud cover, and no rain.
Stopped at Dettifoss (West Side) viewpoint.
The falls are 100 metres (330 ft) wide and have a drop of 44 metres (144 ft) down to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, causing a massive, crashing spray.
It is the largest waterfall in Iceland in terms of volume discharge, having an average water flow of 193 m3/s.
The Norwegian cascade Sarpefossen has a greater average water flow, but only with about half the height of Dettifoss.
Afterwards, we walked a little upstream to visit Selfoss waterfalls, which is also a very nice waterfall on the same river, although not as impressive as Dettifoss (only 11 metres (36 ft) fall),
After setting up camp and dinner, we drove into the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon to the end point, to view the very high canyon walls closer.
Ásbyrgi Canyon lies in the north of Iceland, about 50 minute drive to the east from Húsavík on the Diamond Circle road.
The horseshoe-shaped depression is part of the Vatnajökull National Park and measures approximately 3.5 km in length and 1.1 km across.
For more than half of its length, the canyon is divided through the middle by a distinctive rock formation 25 meters high called Eyjan (“the Island”), from which a vast landscape is seen.
The canyon’s steep sides are formed by cliffs up to 100 metres in height. Down in the canyon, there are walks through a woodland of birch and willow – similar to Highland Norway.
Between 1947 and 1977, a number of foreign tree species were introduced, including spruce, larch and pine.
The small lake Botnstjörn is home to a variety of waterfowl species.
Here we saw a number of ducks close-up.
Ásbyrgi was most likely formed by catastrophic glacial flooding of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum after the last Ice Age, first 8-10,000 years ago, and then again some 3,000 years ago.
The river has since changed its course and now runs about 2 km to the east.
Legend explains the unusual shape of the canyon differently.
Nicknamed Sleipnir’s footprint, it is said that the canyon was formed when Odin‘s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, touched one of its feet to the ground here.
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