Looking back over the hamlet of Njarðvík the view was stunning, with patches of light above the hills.
I reached the top of the pass, and drove past the second Störurð trailhead parking spot, past the pretty lake and down the other side.
Next stop was Hengifoss, another 20 minutes or so of hiking beyond the Litlanesfoss viewpoint, at the speed I was going anyway. As you reach the last stretch of the river below the falls there's a massive boulder field - with brown striped rocks stacked randomly on the river's shore.
There were quite a few people around, mostly pairs, who would get to the falls, take a few shots (including selfies, obviously), before heading back down the hill - Hengifoss, check! I noticed a guy on the far side of the river, which gave me hope that crossing the river might be possible after all. He jumped over some stones in the river to get back to the side I was on, via a little cluster of rocks in the middle of the river. I decided that I could easily make that section, but didn't want to risk going any further (falling into a fast-flowing river with all my camera gear would not be a good end to my holiday!). I got a few shots of him jumping over the rocks before taking his place at the cluster of rocks.
The guy was wearing cowboy boots, which apparently had a hole in them, which meant the whole process hadn't been very comfortable for him. In my wellies I had no problems! It was a good little spot and when the other few people there had gone I took a few self-portraits myself, with the camera on 10-second timer, giving me enough time to jump across a few rocks to get into position.
For once I decided to actually face the camera and get a shot of me from the front, rather than my usual looking-off-into-the-distance shots. One for my mum :)
I noticed some people walking along the top of the canyon which gave a good sense of scale of the enormous basalt cliffs below the falls.
Having managed not to fall down the cliff I continued downhill, stopping one last time to capture Litlanesfoss in its entirety. You can see the grassy patch above the falls to the right - that's where I perched on my previous visit, perilously dangling the camera over the edge.
I hurried down towards the car-park, stopping a few times to capture the wonderful canyon, in places filled with rich autumnal colours.
Upon reaching the car I decided to drive back along the north side of the lake, past the spot where I'd first really seen the northern lights two and half years earlier. It's a gorgeous drive on that side too, with good views now visible of the freshly-snowy-covered mountains to the south. I stopped when I noticed a sculpture - not sure it was there on my previous visit. I looked up who the monument was dedicated to - it was Jóhann Magnús Bjarnason, an Icelandic novelist and poet who emigrated to Canada.
I only stopped once more on that stretch of road, where I'd taken a few shots in the snow. It had been an overcast day, but there was some sun and light snow falling. A small patch of grasses had poked out of the snow and the shadows were exquisite. I found the grasses, but they didn't look special at all without the snow. The road, too, looked rather ordinary.
I passed through Fellabær and Egilsstaðir and onto the route 94 back towards Borgarfjörður-Eystri. The clouds had lifted from the mountain tops a bit, so I was hopeful that I might finally get a glimpse of the impressive jagged mountains - including the gappy bit - that lay ahead. The light still wasn't great but I did get to see the peaks that I'd been hoping for.
I snaked down the hairpin bends and switchbacks, reaching Njarðvík, along the bendy coastal bit, straight through the town to my little beach on the other side - Kolbeinsfjara. I tried to find a way down to the beach but all of the small cliffs were slightly too steep to navigate down. I wandered along to try a couple of other places, but still no luck.
I noticed a possible trail down next to the waterfall, so tramped through the damp grasses to the top and managed to get down pretty easily. It was a lovely little beach, covered in black pebbles, rocks and seaweed. At the far end was a small waterfall that I'd seen the day before, and in the distance the tops of the mountains were just visible in the fading light. There was no sunset to speak of, but some of the clouds turned a little pink and a little blue.
The light faded fast and the blue hour set in. It was great to be back on a beach again - I realised that I'd been lacking beach visits on this trip - lots of waterfalls and winding roads, but almost no beaches! I stayed until I could barely see anything, glad for my torch to help me climb back up the trail to get to the car.
Check out my Day 7 blog - a rainy drive and missed mountain passes
Check out my Day 9 blog - the incredible hike to Stórurð!