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Iceland - Mid-October advice - Stockksnes questions
  
 
khurram1
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Iceland - Mid-October advice - Stockksnes questions


I'm making my 3rd trip to Iceland this October and taking the whole family this time!

I'm going to drive the ring road and am renting an SUV. I wanted to get some location advice, as well as on what to except weather wise between October 14-29th.

First off, one of the locations I haven't been to is Stokksnes and wanted to know how to get the location where I can photograph Mt Vestrahorn reflecting from Stokksnes. I had read that you need to get a permit from the owner and wanted to know, how and where to get the permit from?

I also wanted to know if the closest accomodations to Stokksnes is Hofn and what the drive is like. I'm hoping to leave Godafoss on the 20th and get to Stokksnes for sunset and than shoot the sunrise on the 21st before heading over to the Jokulsarlon lagoon. Any advice on how to get to the Stokksnes location, as well as information on best place to stay and obtain permits would be much appreciated!

I also wanted to know the following:

1) Is the road to Dettifoss and Selfoss is usually open and accessible on an SUV in mid-October (don't really want to get stuck out with my 7 and 9 year old!)

2) Is the road to Hvitserkur accessible mid-October? What is the best location to stay if I want to be close by for sunrise/sunset?

3) How to get to the abandoned plane in Slheimasandur and if that road will be accessible in a Toyota Rav4.

4) I also wanted to get some advice on tracking and shooting the aurora. My first trip to Iceland was in August, when it wasn't possible to see the aurora and my 2nd trip in February, we had blizzard conditions for most of the trip and only had one night where the aurora was visible. The waterfall ice cave I had booked a guide for was also buried in an avalanche that year. I tried to time this trip to be during the darkest period of the moon's cycle, so I'm hoping the weather cooperates!



Sep 16, 2017 at 07:27 PM
Bobu
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Iceland - Mid-October advice - Stockksnes questions


Vestrahorn:
easy to find, directly after the tunnel turn left (or comming from Hfn, shortly before the tunnel turn right), there are signs, you have to pay the entrance fee at the caf. If you arrive very late or very early and the caf is closed there is a box at the caf where you could drop your money. From the caf/entrance gate you can drive with your SUV a little bit closer to the radar station and the famous dunes. Park your car shortly before the radar station and start you exploration from there. Here is the same recommendation valid as above: if there is snow on the road be careful not getting stuck or walk from the caf instead. If the road is snow-free it's easy to drive with a SUV.

And take a really wide lens to Vestrahorn (something between 14mm and 18mm is recommended). But stitching with normal wide angle lens is also possible.

Hfn is the best place to stay close to Vestrahorn and it's an easy and short drive from there.

Going from Godafoss to Vestrahorn in one day (and shooting the sunset in Vestrahorn is possible) but you definetely have to start this trip in the dark before sunrise. The days are already a bit shorter in October and the drive is long with several beautiful views in between where we would for sure like to stop and shoot. If you are travelling with your family you very like need some break (for lunch etc.) halfway. I would probably start 2 hours before sunrise. But be careful because driving in complete darkness on icy roads can be dangerous.
I did the same tour (Myvatn -> Hfn in one day and starting 2 hours before sunrise) last year and had no problems.



1): Normally it should be open. But in October there is always a big risk of snowfall and getting stuck is then extremely easy, even with an SUV. I would recommend: If the road to Dettifoss is free of snow go for it otherwise don't try it with two small kids.

2): I have no experience with this place.

3): As far as I know the road to the plane is now permanentley closed, because the owners of the surrounding farmland were annoyed of the thousands of (sometimes misbehaving) tourists. You can still walk to the plane (about 2-3 hours return) but have to park your car at the ring road.

4) I have been twice to Iceland in winter and were both times not really able to shoot really good aurora due to the weather. The combination of high activitiy, a clear sky and a nice location with interesting foreground is rare, even in Iceland. The most important information for any planning is a good weather forecast with detailed information about regional cloud cover. There are several web-sites offering this. Just google. In my experience the weather is often more stable in northern Iceland (for example around Godafoss/Myavatn) compared to the south coast. Therefore I would recommend to start your aurora hunting in the north and not wait for the south.


Another recommendation: try to get a rental car with studded winter tyres. This tremensdously helps on icy roads. You could drive much faster (for example 60-80 km/h instead of 20-30 km/h on ice, with enough experience under these conditions and with this kind of tyres) and at the same time be much safer. End of October the risk of experiencing ice on the road on some places is very high.

And check the road information on http://www.vegagerdin.is/ as often as possible during the trip.

Hope this helps

Boris



Sep 17, 2017 at 06:50 AM
khurram1
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Iceland - Mid-October advice - Stockksnes questions


Thank you so much Boris for the very detailed and informative reply! Much appreciated! I'm going to see if I can confirm with the car rental company that there will be snow tires and whether it's possible to get studded tires.
Bobu wrote:
Vestrahorn:
easy to find, directly after the tunnel turn left (or comming from Hfn, shortly before the tunnel turn right), there are signs, you have to pay the entrance fee at the caf. If you arrive very late or very early and the caf is closed there is a box at the caf where you could drop your money. From the caf/entrance gate you can drive with your SUV a little bit closer to the radar station and the famous dunes. Park your car shortly before the radar station and start you exploration from there. Here is the same recommendation
...Show more




Sep 17, 2017 at 04:28 PM
khurram1
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Iceland - Mid-October advice - Stockksnes questions


Ive got one additional question for my Iceland trip. Which route to Dettifoss is better to take - wear or east parking lot

Once you get there do you have access to the same vantage points



Oct 18, 2017 at 10:22 PM
 

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Rajan Parrikar
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Iceland - Mid-October advice - Stockksnes questions


khurram1 wrote:
Ive got one additional question for my Iceland trip. Which route to Dettifoss is better to take - wear or east parking lot

Once you get there do you have access to the same vantage points


As of today, Dettifoss is not accessible from the east (path is officially closed - see photo below). The route on the west side from Mvatn is still open, but it is not the best vantage point (and if there's snow you'll have to trudge through it. Best to ask in Mvatn what the conditions are like.)









Oct 19, 2017 at 12:42 AM
khurram1
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Iceland - Mid-October advice - Stockksnes questions


Rajan Parrikar wrote:
As of today, Dettifoss is not accessible from the east (path is officially closed - see photo below). The route on the west side from Mvatn is still open, but it is not the best vantage point (and if there's snow you'll have to trudge through it. Best to ask in Mvatn what the conditions are like.)



Hi Rajan,
I appreciate the quick reply! Do you know if both Selffoss and Detifoss are accessible from the West? I've been to Detifoss in the summer of 2015, but went from the East (Huvasik) route. I didn't realize there was another route until the owner of the hotel I"m staying at told me I have two options - she didn't say the East route was closed though.

Is it still worth making the trip, or would you recommend doing something else around Myvatn

Thanks,
Khurram



Oct 19, 2017 at 01:00 AM
Rajan Parrikar
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Iceland - Mid-October advice - Stockksnes questions


khurram1 wrote:
Hi Rajan,
I appreciate the quick reply! Do you know if both Selffoss and Detifoss are accessible from the West? I've been to Detifoss in the summer of 2015, but went from the East (Huvasik) route. I didn't realize there was another route until the owner of the hotel I"m staying at told me I have two options - she didn't say the East route was closed though.

Is it still worth making the trip, or would you recommend doing something else around Myvatn

Thanks,
Khurram


Yes, Selfoss is around 10-15 mins more walking from Dettifoss. As I said, ask someone in Mvatn what the conditions are like, if there's snow and how much. From the parking lot on the west side, it is a walk of 10-15 mins to Dettifoss itself (and that's in good conditions).

Re. East route closure - You can go to the Vegagerin site and see yourself (http://www.road.is/travel-info/road-conditions-and-weather/northeast-iceland-road-conditions-map/). The red circles filled with yellow indicate official closure - that is, you would be in violation if you traveled on those routes. Elsewhere, the red lines imply "impassable" - which means conditions on that path are very difficult, but you may travel on it if you have the right vehicle (superjeep) and know what you are doing; and if things go wrong, you are on your own.

There are so many opportunities in and around Mvatn that finding things to photograph should be the least of your concerns.

If you are bent on going to Dettifoss, wait until you get to Mvatn and then find out about the conditions. It is winter now in Iceland for all purposes and things change by the day.






Oct 19, 2017 at 01:10 AM
khurram1
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Iceland - Mid-October advice - Stockksnes questions



Rajan Parrikar wrote:
Yes, Selfoss is around 10-15 mins more walking from Dettifoss. As I said, ask someone in Mvatn what the conditions are like, if there's snow and how much. From the parking lot on the west side, it is a walk of 10-15 mins to Dettifoss itself (and that's in good conditions).

Re. East route closure - You can go to the Vegagerin site and see yourself (http://www.road.is/travel-info/road-conditions-and-weather/northeast-iceland-road-conditions-map/). The red circles filled with yellow indicate official closure - that is, you would be in violation if you traveled on those routes. Elsewhere, the red lines imply "impassable" - which means conditions
...Show more
Thanks again! Im staying in Laugar and the host here said both routes were open, but recommended the west because she said was easier. Im glad I checked here! We will drive to myvatn to get info on road/weather conditions for the west route. Ive got my wife and two young kids, so will avoid Dettifoss if conditions arent good.



Oct 19, 2017 at 03:01 AM







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