Following the previous epic day on Snaefellsnes Peninsula and in the Westfjords at Latrabjarg , my second day in the Westfjords only underscored my first impressions - remoteness and wild beauty which came in the form of beaches, waterfalls, and snowy pass crossings... I suppose if the weather had cooperated better, I would have had a really hard time leaving. Then again, if it had been just a little worse, I could have become a prisoner of the Westfjords for another day....
This beach is on the south side of the pennisula south of Patreksfjordur fjord. It is some 20 miles from the town of Patreksfjordur. The drop to the coast on "Dirt Road" 614 features numerous zigzag turns and great views of the coast. Saurbajarkirkja, a church built in the golden ratio as the Greeks did, makes for a nice scenic stop before heading to the water. The beach itself is some 6 miles long and its size varies with the tides. At its eastern end, eroded columns of volcanic rocks add to the scenic beauty of the place. Nearby Sjounda is a site of one of Icelands most famous murder cases from the 1800, made popular by the novel Svartfugl by Gunnar Gunnarsson. As I walked from the beach, I approached the nearby farmer cautiously...
|View from my room||Morning view of Patreksfjordur||BA 64||BA 64||BA 64||Slight curve ahead?|
|Highway 614||Beach ahead||Saurbajarkirkja||Pool on Raudasandur||Shady beach|
|Sunny beach||Shadows of Raudasandur||Rocks on Raudasandur||Turtle rock||BW Raudasandur|
|Columns||BW columns||Volcanic columns||Reflection||Tern|
|Sand dunes under water||Wavelets and eroded rocks||Heart of the beach||Farm and its machinery||Zigzags|
As I left Raudasandur behing, I pondered my options - I wanted to see Dynjandi, a famous waterfall cascade farther north into the Westfjords. From there, I could just as well continue to Isafjordur and circle the Westfjords before coming back to Reykjavik. At about 400 miles (650 km), it seemed like a lot on the map, but backtracking from Dynjandi would not be much shorter. So up and down the peninsulas between the fjords I went. Near the intersection of Hwy 60 and 63 and again just before Dynjandi, the highway rises above 1400 feet. It still seemed like winter there with snow covering most of the ground and the highway traveling through snow drifts often 10 feet high. In places, light snow showers and blowing snow covered the road in a slick mess.
Dynjandi waterfall is made up of several steps falling over 300 ft in all. The main waterfall at the top is extremely visually pleasing as the water fans out over a wide area and cascades over a series of smaller steps.
|Sheep||Grazing under the waterfall||Nissan in the fjords||Arnarfjordur||Approaching Hiwghway 60||Tunnel vision|
|Snowfields||Drifting snow||Dynjandi||Water steps|
|In motion||Blurry Dynjandi|
|Photographer by Dynjandi||Mist||Top to bottom|
After passing Dynjadi, with time getting late and the weather getting worse, I made only a few short stops along the road. I was thankful for the tunnel just south of Isafjordur because crossing the last line of mountains seemed treacherous. After a dinner in Isafjordur, I continued on Hwy 61 along the endless fjords on the north side. The highway finally leaves the fjords behind and rises gradually toward a pass. Google kept pointing to a route on Hwy 608. When I finally reached the intersection at the top of a flat pass, it was a complete whiteout. The snow was blowing from Drangajokull, an icefield north from there and the sign marking the road 608 and its closure was almost covered by snow. So much for a shortcut. I continued in twilight and intermittent showers toward Reykjavik and reached it after 1am, culminating another very long but rewarding day.
|Tunnel toward Isafjordur||Boat in Isafjordur||Alftafjordur|
|Whiteout||Intersection of 61 and 608||Drifting snow|