After viewing Seljalandsfoss, we drove another thirty seconds to the Hamragarðar campground. This is a typical european-style Icelandic campground, with large common camping areas and a central bathroom / bar / laundry / shower area. It was quite busy with lots of camp-folk playing games, drinking, and running around. This disheartened us slightly (we were hoping to get a good night's sleep), but then we realized that an open field towards the waterfall was also part of the campground, and it was completely empty. So, after paying our camping fees (800 ISK per person, I believe), we drove the Hiace down to the far end of the open grassy field, and there we set up our camp, far out of earshot of the happy, noisy campers.
Campsite with a view
What had initially looked like a crowded, noisy night had turned into one of the best campsites of our trip: here we were, nearly alone in a wide, grassy field, with soft and comfortable turf underfoot. We could see across the coastal plains to the crags of the Westmann Islands out in the ocean, and in the near distance was a fabulous waterfall.
Dinner under Seljalandsfoss
Before getting on with dinner and preparation for the next day's backpack, I needed to investigate some important logistics. Our two-day backpack was a traverse, meaning that we would be starting from one location and ending at another. Since we had only one vehicle, this meant that we needed some way to shuttle around to one of the endpoints. That "way" was going to be via bus, and I needed to arrange for us to get tickets on that bus.
Here at this campground, we were positioned at a meeting of bus routes - which is why I chose this as our spot to stay for the night. The plan was for me (alone) to get up early in the morning and take the Hiace to the end point, 20+ kilometres to the east at a place called Skógar. I would then get on a bus that would take me back to the campground; then, we would all get on a different bus that would take us into the nearby Þórsmörk valley, at the end of which was located the start point of our backpack. We would then backpack through a mountain pass between two volcanoes and down to Skógar, where we would re-unite with the van and continue our journey east.
Late-night waterfall visit
After successfully snagging seven bus tickets for the bus ride into the Þórsmörk valley (I didn't need a reserved ticket for the solo ride from Skógar), I returned to our camp spot, where we had dinner and organized our packs for the next day's backpack. Then, after everyone else had decided to turn in for the night, Chris and I decided to have another, closer look at nearby Seljalandsfoss. At twenty-five minutes before 11pm, we walked over the open fields from our campground to the base of the waterfall.
Seljalandsfoss, from behind
A set of metal steps lead around to the back of the falls. The cliffs here are very overhung, and the trail behind the falls is well back from the falling water. However, whether or not you get wet is highly dependant on the prevailing breezes; there's a lot of spray, and if the wind blows your way, you and all of your stuff get fairly thoroughly coated in mist.
Despite having to continuously clean our camera lenses, we still managed to get some beautiful evening shots of Seljalandsfoss. I stupidly forgot to bring my tripod with me, limiting my ability to take some of the long-exposure options I had envisioned. I suppose I could have run back to camp and fetched it, but meh..... it was late and I was feeling kinda lazy. Note Mr. Hatko's nice on-the-railing long exposure shot, though - no tripod.
Sunset over Hamragarðar campground
It was after 11pm by the time we walked back to our tents. The sun skimmed low on the horizon, moving almost horizontally to the north. The strangeness of summertime in the far north!
Interactive Trackmap, day 2 in Iceland - double-click to expand