Mark, Lisa, Ellen and I arrived in Iceland very early on the morning on June 18th. Jeff was not with us; he had jetted off to Germany a few days earlier to run a Tough Mudder with... you know what, it's a long story and he can write about it his own damn self if he wants. The point is, he wouldn't be joining us until Sunday evening.
After grabbing our rental SUV (there were some complications, I may write a whole post about the car), we set off for our first stop, the little waterfall-filled valley Gjáin. It's about a two hour drive from the airport, past the famous volcano Hekla and situated between Landmannalauger and Geyser. The first thing we noticed is that there were huge fields of purple flowers everywhere, something we had not seen on our previous trips to Iceland. They're called lupins or lupines and they cover huge swaths of open fields in Iceland in late June. Really incredible to see. There were even lupines growing right up to the very edge of the roads.
On Thursday, June 23rd, we took a West Tours boat trip to the Hornbjarg. It's hard to know what to refer to this place as, exactly. The Northernmost peninsula of the West Fjords is a huge nature reserve called Hornstrandir. This large peninsula has smaller ones jutting off of it. We traveled to one of these. The bay/fjord is called Hornvik. The huge cliffs are called the Hornbjarg. The sub-peninsula itself is called the Horn, maybe? Or else it doesn't really have a name. In any event, I end up using the terms Hornstrandir - Hornvik - Hornbjarg - Horn pretty much interchangeably. Below you can see a map of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, with the Hornbjarg circled, along with the route of the boat trip from Ísafjörður.
This is about as far north as you can get on the main island of Iceland. The Latitude is 66.46 degrees N, just 7 miles south of the Arctic Circle. There are no permanent residents in the Hornstrandir (although there are a few houses used as vacation homes in the summer) a...