May 5, 2017: Eldborg Crater, a bruised butt, and some intense fog
Day 2 PLANNED Route (Image Credit: Google)
VS Day 2 ACTUAL Route (Image Credit: Google)
We made a few picturesque stops along the way but eventually made our way from the Golden Circle to Eldborg Crater. The drive between Reykjavik and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula involves either a VERY long detour or a toll road, but the toll road is AWESOME! At least as far as toll roads go lol. We were approaching the water and we were both looking at it going, hrmm, that's going to be a crazy long bridge, we can barely see the other side, hopefully the wind doesn't pick up because we wouldn't want to be stuck out there if it got windy, and then, suddenly, we're staring down the entrance into a giant tunnel! We had no idea the tunnel was even there, we had both assumed it was going to be a bridge. The tunnel was intense too, I've never been in one like it before, it just kept going down and down and down and down for what felt like miles and miles, and eventually it plateaued and we started going up and up and up and up and up before finally emerging on the other side! I swear it took nearly ten minutes to get through! My ears were popping partway through heh.
We almost drove right by Eldborg - Google map fail number one on our road trip. She told us we had arrived while we were still on the main road, but literally in the middle of nowhere, with no parking lot and not much of a pullover spot either. While we could see the crater way off in the distance, we were looking around thinking, what, are we supposed to just hop the fence and start foraging through farmers fields to get there? I had seen a road a few minutes back that was sort of headed in the direction of Eldborg, so we turned around and followed that road to the end. There are a couple buildings across the bridge and a couple buildings right before the bridge, we parked just before the bridge - mostly because we had seen a bathroom sign at that building ;-). The actual path is on the opposite side of the bridge, and there's a small fence that you have to go through in order to access the path (and make sure you close the gate behind you!), and another one further up.
The walk to and up the crater took about an hour, including stops for photographs along the way, so plan for around a 2-3 hr return trip in order to fully experience it.
We only ran into three other people on the entire hike in and none on the way out, but this was likely because May is still the low season.
While it's a fairly easy hike to get to the bottom of the crater on a well traveled path, if you're scared of heights like I am getting to the top proved to be a bit intense heh. There's a few patches where you have to hang on to a chain rope that's been attached to the rock, and a couple places where the chain doesn't quite feel all that secure.
Due to the size of the crater it was almost impossible with my little point and shoot camera to get a picture of the entire thing, but here's the closest I got. Climbing back down the crater proved to be even more difficult than the climb up. Watch your step on the loose lava! Otherwise you'll wind up with a bruised behind like I did heh (did I mention I'm a klutz??). I slipped coming down near the base of the crater, not nearly as bad as if it had happened at the top, but it did not feel nice!
Day 2 did not quite pan out the way we expected it to however, as within an hour of leaving Eldborg we were enveloped in a thick layer of fog and were unable to do any more sightseeing by the time we hit Snaefellsnes, so we went for a lovely dinner at 'Sjávarpakkhúsið' in the town of Stykkishólmur at the recommendation of our Airbnb host. I had a seafood hotpot type dish (which had some amazing orangey/peachy colored scallops inside - I've only ever had white scallops). The food was delicious but a bit on the expensive side, although fairly average for Iceland given the exchange rate.
See Day 3: Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Lava Tubes, Rock Formations, Waterfalls, a failed attempt at visiting a Glacier, and crazy road closures!