In Iceland, a remote barren wilderness suddenly turns magical

Glacier with a view. Picture taken from Dyngjujokull glacier over the area in question. PIC StevenInLeighton

Glacier with a view. Picture taken from Dyngjujokull glacier over the area in question. PIC StevenInLeighton

Driving the horrible dirt track called a road into the Askja / Kverkfjoll area of Northern Iceland is a lesson in natural diversity if there ever was one. A barren and utterly desolate but strangely fascinating landscape greets you for miles and miles and almost to the point of losing interest altogether. Then suddenly; wonderland.

Well, me might be putting a tiny bit of poetic spin here but what is very true is that the road to Kverkfjoll mountain range in Vatnajokull glacier is pretty much just a bad dirt track as well as having to cross some unabridged streams and rivers, the landscape is eerily empty and void of any green for miles. And the wonderland we mention is perhaps not very magical at first sight.

It was to this area NASA sent the first team of men to get a glimpse of what the moon might be like

This is the area known as Kverkfjoll mountain range and should you be a fan of space exploration or the first person to step on the moon you might have heard something. It was to this area NASA sent the first team of men to get a glimpse of what the moon might be like. Ken Mattingly, Neil Armstrong and a whole heap of NASA scientists came over and stayed here a while to prepare.

Regardless if you have heard about it the truth is of all those visiting Iceland only a handful ever make this journey. Up to a point that is understandable. This is mostly off limits in wintertime and the roads here are sometimes not passable long into the summer. A number of tourist make the trip half-way to Askja volcano but only the most daring go all the way to Kverkfjoll.

Sure, the campsite here is horrible and you are in deep shit if something happens out here in the wilderness but that is exactly the attraction. That and the fact that Kverkfjoll are squeezed in between Vatnajokul glacier ice, the fact that there is immense geothermal heat in the ground here and that is what is creating most of those wonderful ice caves you see in photos from Iceland. This is the meeting point of frost and fire in other words and pretty much the only such site in the whole country.

Team Total Iceland highly recommends an overnight stay here over high summer but there are drawbacks too. This place is very exposed to the elements and high up too which means nights can get quite cold. And the hot steam and water guzzling everywhere will not help you much since that is way to hot to enjoy.

Then again, your troubles will be amply rewarded with amazing sights and memories you will take to your grave.

Tour available

Over the summer months team Total Iceland offers trips here. Get in touch at totaliceland@totaliceland for more into.
 


Sjá Kverkfjoll in Iceland á stærra korti

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