In the fall of 2012, after hearing countless stories of friends traveling to Iceland, I decided I had to visit the island. Nine days later, I was there. The plan was simple: Bring a camera and some film, buy a map, rent a car, and get lost.

After viewing a map of Iceland, driving the ring road seemed like the right thing to do, especially in fall when all the “F Roads” that traverse the island are closed because of snow. The itinerary seemed good, but I felt there would be no way to get lost sticking to the main road. So I took a closer look at the map and found many secondary roads to adventure on. This is a selection of photographs from what became one of my best trips so far.

1

Dyrhólaey

This black sand beach seems infinite, and in the fall the grass turns yellow to contrast well with the dark Atlantic waters.

2

Glacier river

Looking over one of the many rivers that flow from the biggest ice cap in Europe -- the Vatnajökull.

3

Detour

When in Iceland, keep an eye out for little roads that seem to be dead ends. Most of the time they will reward you with unique views and the feeling of being the only person in the world.

Intermission
175

The most alien landscapes on Earth

by Hal Amen
25

Iceland’s fire and ice

by Paul Sullivan

Old Tbilisi, Georgia: Decaying beauty, or birth of a tourist trap?

by Nate Robert
4

Dettifoss

This waterfall got some screentime the movie Prometheus. The dirt road that leads to it is long and rough. Getting an entire film crew here must have been a pain, but what a location.

5

Hofstadir

The Viking settlement of Hofstadir used to lie on this plateau. On a clear day, you get a 360-degree view. Luckily, minutes after getting here the fog cleared and I caught glimpses of rugged northern Iceland.

6

Kálfshamarsvík lighthouse

Very little information about this lighthouse is available. A man I met here told me that 100 people used to live in this cove, but they all left during the depression in the 1940s.

7

Lake Masavatn

The entire area around the well-visited Lake Mývatn is full of lakes like this one. One thing that's striking in Iceland is how fast the scenery changes. In an hour you can go from dry mountain ranges to inundated plains.

8

The Westfjords

Many travelers will have to make the choice of whether to visit the Westfjords or not. If you look at a map, they appear very isolated, and the trip seems like a detour. They are definitely out of the way, but worth the visit.

9

Land of light

Another thing that struck me about Iceland was the light. In the fall, because of the island’s latitude, the sun never reaches a high point in the sky. It stays halfway up during the day and produces never-ending sunsets.

Intermission
5

Iceland at its coolest

by Joshywashington

The rainforest is not a Big Mac (and other lessons learned in Puyo, Ecuador)

by Bani Amor
3

Memories of summer in Alaska

by Hal Amen
10

Abandoned barns

Due to rural depopulation in Iceland, you can find many abandoned barns along the road.

11

Southern Iceland

The weather here is notoriously variable. In a matter of hours, I experienced snow, hail, rain, and sun, and it wasn’t even winter yet.

12

Life on the edge

I came across so many tiny communities during my time on the road. I can only imagine what life must be like in these places.

13

Mysterious shed

I spotted this shed from the road and immediately stopped. Door was locked, light was on, but no signs of life. I still wonder what’s in there.