Dettifoss & Selfoss
While day 4 was action-packed with new adventures, day 5 was devoted to driving the ever-changing terrain to the north of Iceland to the Lake Myvatn area. We did manage to squeeze in some waterfall action with a stop at Dettifoss and Selfoss…or Dental Floss and Self Floss as Ben would call them.
Seriously, I have never seen so many different types of landscapes in my life! As you cruise the road, the scenery seems to change about every 10 minutes. Sometimes it’s lava fields to either side of you or moss-covered rocks that somehow look like petrified sheep with mossy fur and black rock faces. Weird, right? Sometimes, it was flat, grassy land that eventually butted up to pyramid-shaped mountains. Other times it was open expanses of black gravel or rocky masses. Sometimes we were so high up on a mountain road that we were surrounded by rich, brown rock and patches of bright, white snow. Sometimes we’d come across beautiful, deep blue stretches of water with snow-capped mountains as the backdrop. It was like getting a surprise every few miles!
After driving for a few hours through the kaleidoscopic countryside, we finally arrived at Dettifoss. It’s a fairly short walk to the falls and you are immediately engulfed in surroundings that seem from another planet. There’s black, volcanic rock all around you and a mixture of black sand and gravel under your feet. It’s a stark contrast against the vivid, blue sky.
Dettifoss makes its voice heard from a distance with the sheer force of water it spills over. Dettifoss is Iceland’s largest waterfall in regards to volume, and it is one of the most powerful in Europe. It spans 330 feet wide and drops 150 feet down. It’s intensity is ground shaking! I was excited to see yet another rainbow looming over the misty falls and immediately got picture happy! It’s impossible to get near the waterfall without a sprinkling so make sure to bring your waterproof gear.
A little hike upstream from Dettifoss is Selfoss. While Dettifoss’ power is mesmerizing, Selfoss holds its own with views of the Jokulsargljufur canyon and its horseshoe shape. This gorge is beautifully carved from years of flooding and really shows off mother nature’s authority. The whole experience was otherworldly!