This morning, the weather was very nice, as predicted by Vedur, and it was a pretty good time because we had planned to go to the center and see the Laki and the Lakagígar and then Rauðibotn by the F210.
We knew that the F206 and F207 tracks that led there could sometimes be complicated with the passage of 3 fords that could cause some difficulties. The dry weather reassured us a bit because the rivers should be low.
The road that leads to Laki starts just after the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, and we took the F206 in the morning, around 9 am. The track was quite bumpy all the way but less difficult than we expected.
The first ford, near the Fagrifoss waterfall, was a mere formality. It was rather wide but the water was clear so we had no trouble gauging the depth and the crossing was no issue. The trail became increasingly beautiful, and there was really no one there at that hour of the morning.
It was 10AM when we arrived at the second ford, which was decidedly more impressive. We took our time, wanting to wait for another 4x4 arriving just in case. A rope indicated the path to follow in the water, but the water was dark and we couldn't really check the depth.
But the water didn't seemed that deep along the rope so we went slowly and stayed on track. The ford was quite deep, and a few big rocks shook the 4x4, but we managed to get through without too much difficulty.
It took us 1H30 to get to the sign indicating the start of the trail and an additional 20 minutes to reach the Laki car park.
On-site, we met a very friendly ranger who explained to us the history of Laki and the impact on the Icelandic population, the aftermath of the eruption and the trauma that all this generated. She also explained to us that the ascent trail was currently closed, and that we would have to make do with the smaller peak.
At 10:30 AM, we began the ascent of the small peak which was quite easy. In 30 minutes, we reached the summit for an absolutely breathtaking 360° view, especially looking east and west along the Lakagigar crater chain. The contrasts were striking despite the clouds that were starting to amass overhead. We took our time contemplating this incredible panoramic view, taking lots of photos.
Then we went back down rather quickly to enjoy a picnic near the car park before starting the next trail. The F207 was absolutely sumptuous and quickly turned into a smooth, jet black ribbon just like near Mælifell.
We made a short stop in Tjarnargígur to observe the maar. The crater was worth a visit, especially since the return trip took a maximum of 30 minutes.
The F207 track continued southwest to the famous 3rd ford. The ranger at Laki reassured us it wasn't too deep and advised us, again, to follow the rope. And indeed, there was clearly a huge depth change when we moved away from the rope. But finally we found that it wasn't any deeper than the second one we went through on the F206, it was probably the same, about 35 to 40 cm.
In sum, it took us 1H30 to finish this section of the F206 to the intersection, and an additional hour to complete the F207 loop.
It was around 3 PM when rejoined road number 1, and very quickly left it again it one last time to head inland on the F210, from Grafarkirkja to Rauðibotn despite the ominous sky.
We were quite surprised by the condition of the F210, right from the start in the east. It was, in fact, really very bad and dented, and the Duster was sometimes limited with its 21 cm of ground clearance. On the other hand, the track crossed high plateaus where the view was magnificent. We crossed two small, very easy fords before arriving near Raudið.
The surroundings were beautiful with the meanders of the Hólmsá, the fluorescent green moss patches, and the Háalda and Mælifell mountains that could be seen in the distance, with Myrdalsjökull further still in the background.
The 5 km walk to the crater was nice and easy, and we could even climb to the edges of the crater to hike part of the rim and enjoy the view of the small lake in the crater, the green patches like splashes of acid across the red flanks of Rauðibotn.
The return trip did not take us more than 1H30 and we got back to our accommodation in Vík in the late afternoon.