general travel trip reports

F26 – the Sprengisandur Route

The main road around Iceland is the Ring Road, making a big, convenient circuit of the country. The F26 is an unsealed 4WD only road that cuts straight up the middle, through desolate lava desert that reputedly used to house ghosts and outlaws. These days it’s still a little on the desolate side, with weather that can change rapidly for the worse.

We managed to get fantastic weather for our drive through though, and the landscape, although desolate, seemed beautiful. Really, it was just like where I grew up, just with less grass and trees, and more lakes and glaciers. What’s not to like?

There were a few rivers to be forded, although nothing was flowing too high when we were there. This was the first, and smallest, of the rivers we crossed. I gradually got over my eyes-closed white-knuckled gripping of the car when we had to ford a river… to the point where I’d have one eye open while I hung onto the door of the car and peered out the window.

We passed through Nýidalur, where a couple of huts and a campground sit in a little oasis, and drove on to Laugafell to spend the night. There were a cluster of huts, a campground and a hot spring, all with just the hut warden, a German couple and us to use them. The huts we stayed at (or camped by), were all run by the Icelandic Touring Association, Ferðafélag Íslands, and they were just about the only place we saw the Icelandic flag flying.

We took full advantage of having the little pool to ourselves, splashing around in the warm water, before returning to our tent (keeping an eye out for the glacier lurking behind the huts, in case it was going to make a break for it and rampage towards us during the night).