The kilometres ticked by as we drove through what was now North-Eastern Iceland. The highway rose and fell, crossing several highland areas separated by valleys. In the valleys, small pockets of trees and vegetation, along with a few farms, dotted the landscape. The highland areas were for the most part quite barren, being at a higher elevation and more exposed to wind and rough weather. By 9:00 pm, we were approaching the region not far to the east of Lake Myvatn, and it was time to start thinking about finding a place to camp for the night.
Interesting cone peaks
Even though it was so late, the combination of our ever-more northerly position and the clear skies made it disorientingly feel more "daytime" than it was. A very interesting phenomenon, and certainly helpful when searching for a late-night campsite. It was at this point too late to reasonably look for an established campground, and several people in the van were interested in trying for an at-large camping experience, so we simply turned off on the secondary road leading to Detifoss (our first destination the following morning) and started looking for a faint mountain track that would lead us off into the wilderness, and, we hoped, a nice flat spot to camp.
After bouncing down the severely washboarded side road, we soon spotted a faint track (also marked on our map as a dotted line), and decided this would be a good place to start our wilderness camp exploration. We turned the Hiace off onto the track, which was really nothing more than two very rarely-used wheel tracks. We could hear the scrubby vegetation in the hump between the two tracks brushing against the underside of the vehicle.
At-large camping, yeah!!!
Slowly and carefully bumping our way along, we soon came to a small hollow with flat, sandy ground. In this land of no trees and endless horizons, that afforded us a degree of privacy, and we decided to use this spot as our camp. Roland was very pleased.
Camping beneath Herðubreið
We set up our tents, then had dinner. The continuation of sunshine so late into the night (by now it was 10:45pm) somehow slowed things down, as if it wasn't as important to get set up and fed and into bed as quickly. We finished our meals and were off to bed by a quarter to midnight, with the sun just barely beginning to skim the horizon. A few of us stayed up a bit longer to experience a brilliant twilight, post-midnight.
Interactive Trackmap - Day 6 Driving - Click map to Expand