Here is where we needed our high, four-wheel-drive car. This was a fascinating trip up (almost) to Landmannalaugar, with incredible scenery all along the way. We had to cross 21 fords in the car.
1 View from near the coast, across the Sandur (flat plain of sediment washed down from the glaciers) towards Mýrdalsjökull. This is about where we left the RIng Road for route 208, which soon became F208, meaning only for high-clearance 4wd cars.
2 Mýrdalsjökull, Iceland's fourth-largest glacier. Beneath it hides the volcano Katla, which has not erupted since 1918, so the inhabitants of Vík practice drills for escaping to the church on high ground, above eventual flood waters.
3 Laufskálavarða (Laufskála Cairn) is a lava mound where a farm was destroyed by the first recorded eruption of Katla in 894. Adding a stone to a cairn the first time one goes by is supposed to bring good luck. Adopting rather than fignting tradition, the Iceland Public Roads Administration now furnishes stones for passersby (probably mostly tourists). Fun custom anyway.
4 Setting of on gravelled route 208, we were amazed by the green colors.
5 It looks like a dark wall is hiding something mysterious which we can only glimpse, but it is just a trick of the light.
6 A river winds its way across the landscape.
7 The dark spots on the hillside are steep ravines.
8 Light on the land
10 Passing clouds gave fascinating lighted spots on the bright green of the land.
11 The first ford we came on was the widest. We were a little hesitant and waited until two cyclists went across.
12 Ravine eroded by small stream
13 Looking back at the road climbing up
14 We saw many separately-standing mountains like this one.
15 The Skuggafjalaksvisl wending its sinuous way
16 View towards higher mountains
17 Puddles in the road
18 Incredible landscape with Landmannalaugur mountains in the background
19 Looking towards the mountains
20 Coming up on the rhyolite mountains at Landmannalaugur, muted colors are slopes.
21 At every turn, there was a new and amazing site.
22 Mountains ahead
23 Muted colors of the mountains -- the lighter spots are probably rhyolite.
24 The colors on the mountains are becoming clearer. Too bad we did not go all the way, but it was already a long drive, we had to get back too, and the driver was getting tired.
25 A curious meander in a river is one more of the odd things one sees in this strange region.
26 Starting back, we decided to count the fords. We found 21 (each way).
27 The black soil really sets off the metallic-looking water.