Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day 5, morning out of Vik

It was a dreary morning in Vik:
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Making breakfast:
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From Vik, we continued east: It was cold, and dense fog filled the air, and the terrain was sparce. For some stretches, it was just black desert and fog as far as the eye could see.
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The Cairns of Laufskalavarda populate a stretch of the Myrdalssandur, a huge alluvial plain that covers over 270 sq mi between south Iceland's Myrdalsjokull glacier and the sea. According to tradition, a farm known as Laufskalar (Icelandic farms have names that stay with them over the years and through changes of ownership) was destroyed in that eruption, which created a lava mound that has since been named Laufskalavarda (“Laufskalar Cairn”). Somehow, it came to be a tradition that travelers passing this spot for the first time would add a stone to the cairn for good luck. Over time, leaving a single stone evolved into building an entire cairn. Some of the hundreds of cairns can be rather large and complex, while others are just a few simple stones.
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Continuing east, about 15 km east of Kirkjubæjarklausturran we ran into Dverghamrar (Dwarf Rocks)
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Columnar basalt is formed when lava flow gets cooled and contraction forces build up. Cracks then form horizontally and the extensive fracture network that develops results in the six sided formation of the columns.

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This is where I saw some elves, but someone stayed in the car and missed out:
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We continued east, stopping at the Skeiðará Bridge Monument in Skaftafell, Iceland
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Once the longest span in Iceland, the Skeiðará Bridge comprised a portion of the Icelandic ring road. The bridge carried drivers across the Skeiðarár Sandur, a wide plain of black volcanic sand marbled with creeks of run-off from the Skeiðarárjökull glacier.
In 1996, the volcano Vatnajökull, which sat beneath Skeiðarárjökull, erupted, melting portions of glacier and creating massive floods. While the girder bridge was built to withstand a hefty amount of flood waters, there was no preparing for the house-sized icebergs that the floods washed down the plain. A number of these glacial shards crashed into the bridge, wiping it out and creating a gap in the main ring road around Iceland. All that remains of the original bridge today are two twisted girders by the side of the new road.
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Back to Day 4, afternoon: continue with the rest of Day 5, 
or start from the beginning.

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