John made this walk alone one day while Siv rested. Incredible place, walking on a volcano with steam vents all around you.
1 "Leirhnjúkur is a rhyolite formation (593 meters above sea level). The hill rises less than 50 metrers above the surrounding lava field. The rhyolite of the hill is porous due to the geothermal heat and has in several places turned into clay -- hence the name Leirhnjúkur = clay hill." Its second and latest period of volcanic activity was in the Krafla Fires of 1975-84.
2 Distances are deceiving: It is about 1 km from the parking lot to the mountain.
3 At the beginning of the path, there is a lone-standing turnstile, like in a Mel Brooks movie. Of course, I went through it.
4 Pretty orchidy-looking flowers add a minimum of color to the rocky landscape.
5 The landscape itself has plenty of color. Looking south along the flank of Leirhnjúkur
6 High geothermal activity means steam escapes from cracks all over, like this one on the slope of Leirhnjúkur.
7 A viewing platform overlooks the area.
8 Looking up along strangely anatomical-looking formatons
9 Hot lake on the north slope
10 The walkways around the thermal lake are as esthetic as they are useful. The ground is quite hot. This walkway was quite new. Apparently the ground moves enough that it must be replaced fairly often.
11 Hot mud and water
12 An opaque, milky-looking thermal lake and a view over the northeast lava field
13 The path goes upward, One of the path-marker stakes is visible on the horizon to the right.
14 Dried lava is mostly black or dark grey (basalt?), but interspersed with rhyolite and other mineral color.
15 It looked like a path on the left, but it went nowhere and the rocks on the side were very loose.
16 Ropy-looking pahoehoe lava
17 This was the path up from the thermal lake, with a red-shirted person on the viewing platform.
18 Volcanic cone against a lava landscape
19 Steam vent right beside the path
20 Bright mineral colors
21 Stakes mark the path.
22 Hlíðarfjall, one of the most recognizable peaks in the Myvatn area
23 Incredible colors
24 Distant islands floating in a black sea (really a lava field) north-west of Leirhnjúkur
25 Blue colors in a light-weight, extremely fragile piece of vesicular lava, probably basalt
26 The path finally reaches the top of Leirhnjúkur.
27 Looking back towards parking lot and geothermal plant
28 View southwest across lava field
29 View down over thermal lake
30 On the horizon, smoke from the eruption at Bárðarbunga and Holuhraun
31 The path down eventually reaches soil and grass among the piles of dried lava.
32 Complex dried lava
33 Different colors of dried lava
34 Bright red leaves of ground plant
35 Green lumps around the base of Leirhnjúkur
36 The path descends down from Leirhnjúkur.
37 Contrast of dried lava and slopes of Leirhnjúkur