Traveling on the Ring Road, the landscape really changes once you hit Egilsstaðir. You get into high country. Into tundra. Even in June the snow isn't nearly all melted. Rivers aren't at their max I'm sure, but they still flow quickly with fresh snowmelt. It's a palette of rich browns and blacks contrasted by sunlit snowpack.
The fish racks were empty. Maybe there is a season for fish? Maybe we were just between catches?
Iceland has more than its share of plane crashes. We skipped the most famous one, and instead sought out one lesser known. We happened to see the land owner, and flagged him down to gain permission to investigate the wreckage. He obliged, I think rather excited to practice his English with us for just a moment, and to tell of the times he's traveled to the States. As for the wreckage—it's a bizarre sight, but the horses seem to take it in stride.
We were up in the Mývatn region now. The most iconic part of Iceland, the Southwest, was behind us. We were in a more barren land. Far less green. Far fewer waterfalls. But still intriguing and still much to be excited about. Oh yeah, and it comes with a legion of flies.
We pulled over at a church, and as I was doing my own thing I lost sight of Nathan. When I found him, he was being mobbed by two lambs (lambies, as we were affectionately calling them on our trip). This little brother and sister had jumped through the fence, and nuzzled us for affection (or in hopes we had milk to give). We could hardly get away from them in the end, and we felt bad doing it.
One lovely thing about Iceland is that you can pitch a tent anywhere on the Island. With freedom like that, you really don't need to plan too far ahead where you're going to stay.
We headed for the Bird Cliffs—the western jut of the West Fjords. Here we hoped to see puffins! Arriving, the place was full of photographers with long lenses. And it was like a library, as everyone we passed talked in a hushed voice. But that, along with a gentle breeze, a slowly setting sun, lush, green grass, and a position hundreds of feet above the ocean along cliff edges created a lovely setting for an evening stroll.
At last, when we had almost given up, the puffins came out! They're docile creatures, accustomed to the public gawking at them. But look at him! Who wouldn't gawk?
This night also provided the longest sunset I've ever experienced. And the latest at a quarter after midnight. The color just hung there, slowly intensifying over the course of forty minutes. In my part of the world, your sunset lasts around ten minutes. Total. This was incredible.
Our trip was winding down to its end. You know that feeling you get when you cross the halfway point doing something you love? That sinking feeling? We were well beyond that now. But there was no stopping that.