Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland.
We had reached the most northern west point of the hike. After 4 hours and 9 kilometres of uphill walking, almost horizontally against the beating wind and drizzling rain. This was the first time we had some sort of view, the weather had been that bad. Between the rocks we could see Skaftafellsjökull stretching out from the north to the lagoon in the south. Even though clouds, mist and rain kept rolling in our field of view. It was still impressive to see the creeping mastodon of a glacier find its way through the canyon. Especially from above.
Stretching our view, we could see glimpses of Vatnajökull herself. The great mother of ice, spilling out over the mountains. The greatest in all of Europe, so close and yet so elusive. Eventually the wind convinced us to move again, blowing our backs all the way back down through the orange vegetation, like an Indian summer gone wrong.
We followed the left, western side of the S3 all the way to the top. The first 1 or 2 kilometres are green and forestish, but after that, the landscape is mostly bare. With good weather, the views over Morsárdalur are phenomenal.
If you reach the northernmost part of the hike, there is the possibility to make small detour to the top. This is the S4. You can get almost to a to 1000 meters high. Because of the very strong winds on the day of our hike, we did do the climb, but I can image the view over Vatnajökull!
After reaching the eastern part of the hike, you can see the Skaftafellsjökull glacier from between the rocks. It is amazing to see this from above! Going down the landscape will stay very bare, which is good for the view on the glacier! Halfway down the path became very unclear and we ‘guessed’ our way down to the forest. But the direction is very straight forward!
The hike is around 16 kilometres long. Because of the very strong winds on our way up, it took us 6 hours to complete.
If you want the perfect hike to admire some of the glaciers around Vatnajökull national park, then this is THE perfect option! On this particular day, we were all alone on this hike, but then again, the weather was really bad and the camping site also was fairy desolated.