Eruption at Aldeyjarfoss

Aldeyjarfoss in the central highlands is one of my favorite waterfalls in Iceland (or anywhere for that matter). It is fairly remote, located more than an hour’s drive from the main Ring Road and requires a 4x4 to access. 

There is no lodging nearby, so photographing the falls at sunrise requires camping or a very early wakeup call. I decided to camp (sort of) and rented an SUV with a tent on the top. Yes, on the top…it opened like a clam shell and you used a ladder to access it. Cool idea, right? I thought so.

The first night I arrived here, the weather was calm. I popped the tent and slept like a baby. Unfortunately, the calm, clear weather provided some of most boring skies I have seen in Iceland. They were colorless too, both at sunset and sunrise. While Aldeyjarfoss was impressive to witness firsthand, my photographs were rather blah. As a result, I decided to drive back to the Ring Road to visit some other locations and return again that night for a second attempt. 

On the second night, I arrived a couple hours before sunset. The clouds were coming in and my hopes for a good photograph were rising. Then, as it often does in Iceland, the weather dramatically changed. Rain started coming down sideways, the wind howled and everything turned gray (if you could see anything at all). I managed to open the tent, get in and attempt to sleep.

The wind shook the SUV so much that I was rolling around on top of it, and before long the rain started making its way inside. I decided to abandon tent… Opening the zipper, I caught a face full of rain and discovered that the wind had blown the ladder away! My tent exit/rooftop dismount was basically a wet slide/flop, but I landed on my feet! I found the ladder, closed the tent and climbed in the back of the SUV. Of course, I got completely soaked in this hilarious process.

The wind/rain continued for several hours, but I did mange to get some sleep in the SUV. When I awoke to my iPhone alarm shortly before sunrise, the conditions had improved. I quickly jumped out of the car and grabbed my gear to make the short hike to the edge of the falls. Still damp and a little cold, I watched the sun rise behind the waterfall. The end results of this adventure to Aldeyjarfoss include a stiff back, wet socks and this sunrise image. All worth it. :)