Bólugil

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Currently, TripAdvisor has two reviews of the waterfall at Bólugil. One of them states the waterfall can be seen from the road, the other states they couldn’t find it. What you see from the road is a little less than what you see above, and, while pretty, not exciting.

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To find this waterfall, drive west on 1 from Akureyri, towards Varmahlíð. There will be a sign to the farm Bóla to the right, with a four-leaf clover symbol on it, indicating some sort of attraction. Park at the gate or drive through to the bridge. On the way, you’ll see a fenced in area with a monument for the poet Bólu-Hjálmar. Why would be a monument here, in the middle of nowhere?

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This is all very frustrating. From the little that is available online, this Bólu-Hjálmar must have been an interesting character, living here in Bóla in the late 19th century, and writing sarcastic poems. Our library has a biography about him, in Icelandic, which I regretfully don’t speak. But is says a lot about the Icelandic people and their dedication to literature that they put monuments up like this.

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Nature seems to have put up its own humorous dedication. When you reach the canyon, you get a hint that their might be more than the little stream. Climbing up on a possibly imagined path, there appear more little falls

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and more

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and more:

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European Waterfalls claims there are a total of seven steps. The way back to the car leaves time to meditate about the intrusion of civilization into this remote landscape.

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Hafrafell (North Iceland V)

According to Google, there are several mountains named Hafrafell in Iceland, and the one this post is about isn’t even on Google Maps. It’s barely a mountain anyway.
When driving east on 85 from Húsavík to Ásbyrgi, one can see a handful of small mountains that are often hiding in the clouds. Below is a typical view of the Hafrafell, a little over 500 meters high.

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On a less cloudy day they all promise good views of the landscape. We inquired at the ranger station at Ásbyrgi about that one above, and the extremely friendly ranger told us to drive to the nearest farm, ask the owners for permission, leave the sheep alone, and find our way up.

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The farm is located on 865, which is a right turn off 85 when driving north, directly after the pool in Lundur. I doubt that many people ever go there, but the owner didn’t seem surprised. There is a path that leads to a small lake (mainly used by the sheep, very cooperative), and from then on one needs to find one’s own way.

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We followed the north-east face to its southern end and then went up. It’s pretty steep, and there was still lots of snow.

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The top is a large plateau with unlimited access to the all the clouds you can wish for. And the views were indeed worth the effort.

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To the east, a vast and empty landscape opens up. Very tempting. I need to learn riding a horse to get around there.

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Finally, one can see see the Ásbyrgi canyon from above, together with the mandatory threatening weather.

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Equally fascinating as the large scale landscape is the smaller scale vegetation. Of course you can find soft moss and dancing birches elsewhere, too, but here they are part of the deal.

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We spent about three hours on this mountain, 90 minutes to get up, 30 minutes on the top, and another hour to get down again. If you feel inspired and want to try it, check for snow and weather conditions before you go.