Our adventure (for this particular leg in our trip) started in a little hostel in Hvol (which is about three hours to the east of the volcano) We were debating on what to go see for the day.....more waterfalls and rivers or the volcano. We were debating, that is until we looked west and saw that giant mushroom cloud of mayhem that has been disrupting so much of the world. There was no way we could drive away from that site.....I mean, you see an active volcano with ash spewing into the air, and the only rational thing you can do is drive toward it, right?
Although our main mission was to get to the volcano, we did have to make a few mandatory stops at two of the major waterfall attractions in the south. However, there was nothing could have distracted us from our goal, including the cloud cover that began to form after passing under the big, black, threatening ash cloud that blocked out some of the sun.
Hoping that the cloud cover would dissipate on the back side of the mountain we headed towards a hostel made up of turf homes. It was at the end of a very long half paved/half gravel dead-end road. Unfortunately the clouds were still hanging low and the road up to the actual hostel appeared to be closed. Disappointed, frustrated, and hungry we turned back to Hvolsvollur (not to be confused with Hvol because they are two totally different towns), which was the last place we had seen any sort of establishment.
We never found a payphone there, but we were able to sustain ourselves on some less-than-satisfying burgers and fries. The sun started to break through at this point and we could, once again, start seeing that ominous cloud. With food in our bellies and slightly lifted spirits we went back the way we had just come from until we found a church on a hill that had promise of a better vantage point in which we could view this spectacle. It payed out.
We sat on the hill taking pictures and just watching the ash rise until the clouds started creeping back in and we realized it was getting a little late. Toying with the ideas of going back to the end of the road and sleeping in the car or chancing it and driving to the next hostel (where who knows if they would have even been open at that hour.....which, by the way was only about 8:00pm), but unable to decide, we left it to chance and flipped a coin. The coin said to sleep at the end of the road. And that's what we did......hoping that the morning would be clear.
cory: holy shit!!
me: ..........no response...........
cory: caitlin! you have to look at this!
cory: the volcano!!At this point I came out of my slightly sleep-deprived daze and realized where we were. I swung open the car door and to my awe-struck eyes saw clear skies, the sun not quite up and over the horizon, and a massive, pink pluming cloud of ash billowing out of the mountain side. It was one of the most mesmerizing sights I have ever seen. You can see the ash come up as the cloud gets bigger and bigger, and you are just unable to look away. We stood there for I don't know how long, it might have been 20 minutes, it might have been close to an hour......and every now and then we could hear the faint sounds of earth and ice breaking and crashing.