We had a leisurely drive from Husavik to Myvatn. The name of the lake implies that there are lots of flies and we heard that this was true...but it wasn't bad at all. And the weather had changed and it was actually warm and sunny! This lake is a haven for birds and we hoped to see the Barrow´s Goldeneye here, as well as the Gyr Falcon which was reported to be found in nearby Dimmuborgir. We found a nice campground on the lake shore and set up our tent. Our first stroll along the shore brought us Slovenian Grebes, and we also saw the Goldeneye. In the far distance were divers (loons) and a variety of ducks.
This area is also a very active volcanic zone and there are lava flows, steaming vents, and...hot springs. We decided to try out the hot springs in the evening and it was delightful! The water was a beautiful blue/green color and the "pond" had warmer and cooler areas...very nice. So nice that we went back the following night! What a great way to end a day of birding and hiking!
We spent several days in Myvatn as there is a lot to see and do in the area. The first thing we did was drive around the lake. The first place we stopped was Dimmuborgir where we had been told we would find Gyr Falcons.
Dimmuborgir is an area of odd rock formations and there is a hiking trail through the rocks.
We walked to the visitor center and from there we saw a beautiful sight: a Gyr Falcon with chicks still in the nest! The mother flew away shortly after we got there and we waited a while for her to return while watching the chicks. After a while we decided to move on and Jack would come back later when the light was better to take some photos. We stopped at Skútustaðir which is on the south shore of the lake. There is a trail there that meanders through an area of 'pseudo craters'.
These craters are formed by steam explosions when burning lava meets lakes or wetlands. We walked the trail and saw a few birds as well as a nice variety of flowers. We ate lunch at a restaurant there before continuing around the lake. The west shore is primarily a protected preserve for nesting birds so there is no hiking, and we saw few birds here. We did stop at the fairly new Bird Museum where we could take a close look at hundreds of mounted bird specimens. Then back to camp on the northeast shore.
One of the main attractions here is Krafla which is about 15 Km, from Myvatn. This is a very active area of fissures, steaming vents, mud pots and lava fields.
Our first stop here was Stóra-Víti which is a crater with a beautifujl turquoise blue lake. We walked the trail around the crater and passes bubbling mud pots, melting snow fields and impossibly green grasses.
Looking towards the west we saw lava flows covered with grey-green moss as well as those more recent that are still black.There is lava here from eruptions in 1724, 1975 and 1984.
The trail to the Krafla Fissure crosses lava rock passing steaming vents and boiling hotpots. It's an amazing experience to be in this place where the Earth is so obviously alive and active and constantly changing!