Notes from the Field: 15 September 2015


I spent most of the day exploring the Lake Mývatn area. This area is all in or near the Krafla volcanic zone and has some fascinating geology including some bizarre lava formations that are found on land only in Mývatn. There are thousands of lava domes and “pseudo-craters” formed by steam from a lava-covered lake bursting through the overlying lava. The Kafla area is one of the nation’s biggest geothermal energy producers and its pretty trippy to drive through sulfur-laden steam and catch misty glimpses of steaming, bubbling ground; fields of lava; hills of red volcanic gravel and miles of steel pipe going all over the place.

Mývatn is also supposed to be a a real birding hotspot, at least in the spring and summer. I found mostly Tufted Ducks, Whooper Swans, Wigeons, Redwings, Ravens and a pair of Slavonian Grebes on or near the lakes, and noticed a lot of Greylag Geese flying in formation overhead. I was hoping I’d catch the fall migration here but I seem to have missed it.

It was, again, foggy, cloudy, windy and rainy today. It wasn’t too bad in the morning, but the rain stopped me only from my last hike of the day – along the rim of a caldera filled with steaming turquoise water – and I used the time instead to treat myself to a long, long soak at the Mývatn Nature Baths. My skin hasn’t felt this good in I don’t know how long! My day finished back at the farmhouse, where I had a dinner of roasted, grass-fed Icelandic beef, reared and butchered right here one the farm. The flavor and texture are markedly different from that of our sedentary, grain-fed,  feedlot cows in America!

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