One of us got up early to do a couple of morning hikes at the Herðubreiðarlindir oasis in the Central Highlands.
Then we made the long drive back into civilization and drove to Egilsstaðir, the largest town in East Iceland, to camp for the night and prepare for next few days in that region.
It was gorgeous as I crawled out of the van at sunrise and headed out to do some hiking here at Herðubreiðarlindir while Linda slept in and enjoyed a relaxing morning.
I crossed over the Linda River bridge and walked toward the trailheads.
That river originates here from the result of several underground springs coming to the surface, thus the "oasis".
The trailheads for three of the four loop hikes here are at the hiker hut, but the fourth is next to the ranger stations. I went there first to do what I called the "Confluence trail" which circles out to where the Kreppa and Jökulsá á Fjöllum rivers meet.
After this view of the mountain, ....
it was basically following yellow stakes over lava until I reached the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river.
The stakes continued along the river until the confluence where the Kreppa river joined the Jökulsá á Fjöllum.
For a long while, I stood out there by myself just enjoying the sounds of the water and the solitude before continuing.
Following the black sand along the river, I lost sight of the yellow stakes, and had to backtrack a little to pick them up again. It was quite marshy in that area, so a shortcut wasn't really an option.
Back on the trail, it passed along this rock wall next to a stream.
The trail went up on top of the rocks and back down again until it eventually ended next to the ranger station.
Walking back the road to the hiker hut, I decided to take the "Lakes trail" that I started yesterday. That loop followed red stakes.
The water was somewhat hidden at the beginning, but soon there were several interconnected ponds and lakes.
It was a much longer walk around the lakes than I expected. By the time I got to this spring coming out from under the rocks, it was time to get back and get ready to move on.
I was hoping to get all four of the loop hikes in, but the two I did satisfied my desire to walk the area.
Back at the camper van, we went through our morning routine and got ready to go. I decided to walk over the bridge to video Linda going through the Linda River ford.
Again, that was the deepest river crossing of these two days in the Central Highlands.
From there is was going to be about 100k (62 miles) to get back to pavement. Continuing north on F88 wasn't an option, so we went back to F910 saying goodbye to Herðubreið and tackling the washboard road.
Taking the F910 and F905, it was just the reverse of yesterday's route.
We stopped at the little outhouse just before the bridge over the River Kreppa.
We made much better time going back today than we did yesterday. That would be a common theme for the rest of the trip. On rough roads, Linda managed to improve the driving time on the return trip.
I keep using the term "barren" to describe this area, and after our time at Herðubreiðarlindir oasis, that word definitely fits.
Passing Möðrudalur where we camped the night before, we were back on a "normal" gravel road and encounted a goat. We'd had lots of sheep in the road, but this was our first goat.
Soon after that, we made it to the Ring Road and started our journey to the destinations I had picked out in the East region.
It was still desert-like at first, ....
but the terrain eventually turned green.
And we were back among beautiful roadside waterfalls. These waterfalls were amazing and would be major tourist attractions in the U.S., but they are just an everyday part of the landscape here.
Again, if we stopped for every scenic view, we'd never get anywhere. I shot this gorge, hills, and distant waterfall on the move.
After a 96k (60 miles) from Herðubreiðarlindir to Möðrudalur on rough roads and then another 110k (68 miles) on good roads, we made it to the camping site at Egilsstaðir.
This was pretty much a driving day for Linda, but I enjoyed the morning hikes, and we're always appreciative of the varying landscapes and beauty of Iceland.
Day 12 Driving - 206k (128 miles)